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SPP Serves as Host Site for Global Simulation Competition

550 students around the world will compete to stop the next pandemic


Malibu, CA - On February 24, 2018, the Pepperdine School of Public Policy will act as the Southern California host site welcoming graduate students from 10 universities to participate in the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition.

This year’s competition—a partnership between the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)—will connect more than 550 students at 16 global host sites through competitive, computer-based simulated gameplay. Developed by the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG), who utilized extensive real-world data, scientific modeling, and educational learning objectives, the simulation places students in leadership roles within a time-sensitive, fast-paced environment where they must work together to minimize the impact of a deadly infectious disease threatening humanity.

“We are thrilled to launch this data-driven tool to provide the next generation of policymakers with realistic, experiential and fun learning environments,” said CLSG Director Noah Myung. “State-of-the-art simulations like this one accelerate students’ ability to make an instant impact—both in leadership positions and team settings—when they enter the workforce.”

Throughout the day, students will work in teams representing (fictional) countries and assume a variety of high-ranking roles, including Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, as they navigate difficult policy decisions and their potential outcomes. Their decisions will not only impact national mortality rates, economies, and legitimacy of governance, but also global stability. Will students close international borders, mandate quarantines, or cancel the national festival? Will their actions stay in budget, maintain rule of law and most importantly, save lives?

Regional site judges will evaluate teams on simulation scores, negotiation and team work skills, and written and oral presentations to a panel of prominent “super judges,” who will determine the global winner.

“Here in Malibu, we educate the next generation of policy leaders,” said Pepperdine School of Public Policy Assistant Dean Carson Bruno. “I’m excited that Pepperdine can showcase this commitment to leadership as this challenging policy simulation will demand it from all competitors.”

The CLSG is contributing $10,000 USD in prize money where each member of the winning team will receive $1,500 USD and students in second place will receive $500 USD each.

“Simulation-based learning is an incredibly valuable tool, offering some of the most exciting, intense, and impactful learning on the planet for public affairs education,” said NASPAA Executive Director Laurel McFarland. “In the classroom, our graduate students have been trained to be problem solvers, team players, and analysts— these simulations enhance students’ abilities to tackle complex policy problems they may face in the real world. They'll be ready for the next global pandemic-- or for whatever crisis they might face in their public service career.”


About the Pepperdine School of Public Policy: The Pepperdine School of Public Policy is built on the liberal arts tradition of melding quantitative and qualitative aspects of policy analysis, research, and implementation. The Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program educates policy leaders, who have the empirical foundation to analyze policy problems, but also a deep understanding in political philosophy, applied history, political strategy, and ethics of public service. By emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving, and also the moral and human impacts of policy decisions, Pepperdine MPP graduates succeed in government service, the nonprofit arena, and the private sector.

About NASPAA: The 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.

About the CLSG: The University of Virginia’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy prepares students for public life by allowing them to test real-world solutions in a virtual environment. The CLSG designs, develops and implements cutting edge simulations and experiments to advance education in leadership and public policy; conducts rigorous leadership and public policy research using simulations and experiments; and creates a community of scholarship where faculty, researchers and students are supported in their scholarly efforts related to the methodology of simulations and experiments.