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News SPPA Announces the Biden Challenge

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The Biden Challenge at the University of Delaware: How to Revitalize the Middle Class

In October, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke in Washington, D.C., at the NASPAA Annual Conference. As the founding chair of the Biden Institute, housed within the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) at the University of Delaware, Biden addressed the conference attendees and reflected on the many challenges that he has witnessed during his long, distinguished, and active career as a public servant. He encouraged the audience of over 300 educators and administrators to help our students get, and remain, engaged in public policy and public service because, as his and our life's work, it is a meaningful and impactful professional field.

"The aspirational character of America is at stake," Biden said. "What has always set us apart from every other nation is, no matter where we begin in life, we believe that there is a basic bargain: if you contribute to the welfare of the enterprise you're involved in, then you get to participate in the outcome. That is not the case anymore…. The social stability of our nation is at stake."

The Challenge
The sign outside of the Biden Institute in the School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.

“We need to change the culture today, not tomorrow,” Biden said. “The middle class is at risk…. Revitalizing the middle class is the challenge: otherwise the social order will not hold.” Biden issued a clear challenge to NASPAA for the coming year asking, “What policy solutions do you propose to ensure America a growing and thriving middle class, that they continue to be relevant?” Revitalization of the middle class encompasses a wide range of policy areas, including:

  • the future of work
  • education and training
  • the role of innovation
  • budget priorities
  • modernizing our infrastructure

Biden Challenge Ideas Exchange

On September 28, 2018, we will invite scholars to the University of Delaware campus for an ideas exchange that will allow us to present our responses to Biden's challenge. There will be opportunities to discuss our ideas and discuss policy papers that address the issue of middle class revitalization.

Details and Registration

Conference Dates

Thursday September 27, 2018—5:30-7:30 pm—Pre-conference reception hosted at the Biden Institute, University of Delaware

Friday September 28, 2018—8:00 am-5:30 pm—Biden Challenge Conference and Idea Exchange, Clayton Hall, University of Delaware


Register here.

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Proposals for the Biden Challenge Conference Idea Exchange are being accepted through May 15 - learn more about the conference and the proposal process.

Register today for the Biden Challenge Conference.

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SPPA Announces the Biden Challenge Conference to be held September 28 2018.
  • Biden School of Public Policy & Administration
  • 184 Graham Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-1687
Student Resources Faculty & Staff Resources
  • National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
  • Nonprofit Academic Centers Council Logo
  • National Council for Preservation Education
  • American Society for Public Administration
  • Urban Affairs Association
  • International Leadership Association