The NASPAA-BATTEN Student Simulation Competition

The 21st century has seen a shift in learning from traditional models of teacher-student engagement to more experiential learning using case studies, capstone experiences, internships, and simulations. The NASPAA Simulation Competition was first designed in 2015 to support and encourage more experiential learning in the classroom, especially in the realm of public policy and administration education.

The use of simulation-based learning in the curriculum not only prepares students in each of the core competency domains of NASPAA accreditation, it also provides them with the experiences to tackle similarly complex problems in their professional positions. The gap between the science and art of policy making cannot always be realized within the four walls of a classroom. Simulations change the way students approach professional education and it challenges their understanding as they are confronted with reality. In their jobs, students will be asked to work with new team members, negotiate for a stated position, accomplish goals under a tight deadline, and create thoughtful presentations and reports. NASPAA is keen on advancing the use of simulations in public service education pedagogy.


The Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming


The Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) is a nationally-recognized developer of innovative educational simulations and simulation-based research. CLSG simulations are experiential learning tools that provide a link between classroom learning and real-world application, presenting students with unstructured, dynamic problems that must be approached with knowledge and know-how from multiple disciplines. As team-based exercises, CLSG simulations emphasize three different skill areas: Critical Analysis (mathematical/statistical methodologies, system dynamics), Leadership (decision-making, crisis management), and Strategy (game theory, bargaining, political economy).

In 2017, the CLSG entered into a multi-year agreement to create original, policy-focused simulations for the NASPAA Student Simulation Contest.

The Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming is part of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.


The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

The relentless optimists at the Batten School are concerned with one question: How do we lead the world to positive, lasting change? In the face of growing challenges, political gridlock stems from a lack of solutions and the ability to implement them. There is a growing sense that our country must confront its leadership gap and the need to put new ideas in play has never been more urgent. That’s where we come in. Our degree programs are dedicated to transforming students into change agents providing innovative solutions to pressing societal problems.

Learn more about Batten here:



Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration or NASPAA is the global standard in public service education. It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its over 300 members – located across the U.S. and in 24 countries around the globe – award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees.

NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields.

NASPAA’s twofold mission is to ensure excellence in education and training for public service and to promote the ideal of public service.