March 2023

UNT public administration conference to focus on managing in polarizing times

What: University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service 2023 Master of Public Administration Annual Alumni-Student Conference: Managing in Polarizing Times

When: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. April 28 (Friday)

Where: UNT Gateway Center, 801 North Texas Blvd. in Denton

Media: Journalists interested in attending and/or discussing the event should contact Devynn Case at or 214-708-4558.

More Info: Individual tickets before April 21 are $40. Individual tickets beginning April 21 are $60. UNT student tickets are $10 with student ID. Register now at Businesses, organizations or individuals can sponsor the event at a variety of levels listed at All event proceeds benefit the MPA Excellence Fund and sponsorships may be considered tax-deductible. For more information on the event, contact Bob Bland at

The one-day conference with the theme Managing in Polarizing Times will explore the challenges public managers in government and nonprofit organizations confront when partisan agendas drive public policy debates. It will delve into questions such as – Does the nonpartisan, professional public administrator have a voice in these times? If so, how can that voice be most effectively communicated? How can public leaders engage residents in meaningful discussions on public policy choices? How can those leaders restore and strengthen public trust in public-serving institutions?

The individual sessions will feature experts as well as round table discussions on public finances, fostering civility and building community trust.

Jason Grant, Director of Advocacy for the International City/County Management Association will deliver the annual Chester A. Newland Colloquium Address, named in honor of one of the founders of the MPA program and international leader in public service education.

“UNT’s Gateway Center is the place to be on April 28,” said Dr. Bob Bland, Endowed Professor of Local Government and event organizer. “The MPA Alumni Board has designed a stellar program of panel sessions and roundtable discussions, and our keynote speaker will speak directly to the challenges and opportunities of our currently polarized public arena.”

Full Schedule

  • 8 – 9 a.m. Mock Interviews/Networking and Sponsor Tables
  • 9 – 10:15 a.m. Panel: Securing Your Public Organization’s Finances for the Unknown
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
    • Roundtable: Fostering Civility in Extreme Polarization
    • Panel: Practical Ways to Build Community Trust
  • 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Luncheon and Chester A. Newland Colloquium Address: Jason Grant, Director of Advocacy, ICMA
  • 1:15 – 3 p.m. PADM Dessert Reception
  • 3 p.m. PASA Reception and Networking at East Side Denton, 117 East Oak Street in Denton

About Jason Grant

Jason Grant has twenty years of progressive communication, marketing and public relations experience. He is a lauded public speaker and executive trainer, and speaks regularly to local and regional government organizations. Jason is a creative, team-oriented, data-driven strategist with a passionate entrepreneurial spirit. With a keen ability to create operational strategies to achieve organizational goals and strategic vision, Jason provides a breadth of strategic planning experience in both public and private sector industry. He has launched a number of communication initiatives and has a particular interest in key strategies for effective communication in an online, digital world.

Preliminary results from a UNT study suggest "exercising" your ears with hearing aids may improve your brain and listening behaviors

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Faculty in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology reported preliminary findings of their ongoing grant, funded by the Hearing Industry Research Consortium, at the recent American Auditory Society conference. Their preliminary data suggest that exercising your ears by using hearing aids may improve brain responses to sound, cognition, perceived listening abilities, and behavioral listening performance in older adults. Prior to receiving hearing aids, most participants reported listening difficulties in noisy situations. After only two months of hearing aid use, participants reported significantly improved communication abilities in everyday listening environments including noisy situations. Brain (cortical EEG) and behavioral testing also revealed that hearing aid use significantly improved their ability to tune out some noise and irrelevant sounds. On tests of cognitive function, participants also showed improved performance on tests of cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, and attention.

Are you interested in participating?
The study will continue through summer 2024 and will include 40 participants between the ages of 40 to 85 who purchase hearing aids from the UNT Speech and Hearing Center located at 907 W. Sycamore St. in Denton. For more information, please see the study website or contact the principal investigator, Erin Schafer at or 940-369-7433, for more information about the study.