Inspiration Award

Created in 2003, the Inspiration Award recognizes the outstanding contributions of public servants to the personal and/or professional lives of their colleagues. It is awarded to public servants who have demonstrated a superior dedication and commitment to mentoring, coaching and inspiring students and public servants over the course of their careers.

The award is presented annually to up to three recipients. Nominating students will be invited to present the award to recipients at the conference.

Selection Criteria

Recipients are selected by the Inspiration Awards Committee using the following selection criteria:

  • Nominee demonstrates the value of working for the public service.
  • Nominee epitomizes the ideals of the public service.
  • Nominee supports professional development and careers of colleagues and/or students by mentoring, coaching and inspiring them.
  • Nominee is respected and maintains collegial relations with colleagues.

Nomination Guidelines

  • Nominations must come from MPA or MPA(M) students at Dalhousie University.
  • Nominees may be public servants who are serving or have served in municipal, provincial or federal government. Elected officials are not eligible while in office.

Alumni Awards

Awards sponsored by School of Public Administration alumni are presented to the first, second and third place papers in the Atlantic Conference on Public Administration Paper Competition:

  • First Place: $500
  • Second Place: $250
  • Third Place: $100

These awards are open to all paper submissions in the competition. 

In addition, the David MacDonald Memorial Award in Public Administration is presented to the highest ranked paper from a Dalhousie University student in the Master of PublicAdministration program.

David MacDonald Memorial Award in Public Administration

An annual prize is presented to recognize and honour David MacDonald’s deep commitment to excellence in public policy, intellectual rigour, active questioning, and dialogue between academics and public servants.  The $500 cash prize is awarded to the Dalhousie University student from the Master of Public Administration program who submits the best paper in the Atlantic Conference on Public Administration Paper Competition.

David Alexander Joseph MacDonald was born and raised in Creignish, Nova Scotia. He earned a BA and a Masters in Public Administration at Dalhousie, a Masters in Political Studies at Queen’s University and worked on a doctorate for three years at Dalhousie.

David started working with the federal government in Ottawa in January 1992 as a policy analyst in the Federal-Provincial Relations Office, where he worked on the Charlottetown Accord, federal-provincial issues and constitutional reform. At the time of his death in the summer of 2010, he had risen high in the ranks of the public service as Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy and Research Branch of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). In between, he worked in various policy secretariats at the Privy Council Office, including in Government Renewal; at the Canadian Centre for Management Development (now Canada School of Public Service) doing leading research in governance issues; and various positions at HRSDC including federal-provincial labour market issues, skills and learning.

David was highly respected by his superiors, colleagues and staff as a consummate public servant. He was passionate about the role and importance of the public service in a well-functioning democracy, and a deep pride of Canada. He had an incisive policy mind, a love of learning and a sharp wit. All of these qualities served him well in the many important files he contributed to over the course of his career. His love of learning and debate; the searching out ideas and other perspectives; and his love of Canada make him an ideal example to public servants and to those who study the complex issues of public administration and public policy.

Student Paper Competition Previous Winners

2018- Cofi Jones


Indigenous Evaluation Frameworks: A Critical Appraisal

Scarlett Kelly


Stereotypes in the Age of Diversity

Chris Smith


Contentious Contraband Cigarette Sales: Building Strong Foundations for the Future 

2017- Anne Richard


Come From Away's To Locals: The Potential For Immigrant Retention In Nova Scotia

2017-Kaitlin Stansfield


A Revised COMFIT Program: New solutions for an old problem 

2017- Jenny Urich



Harmonizing Rules, Values, and Self-Interest 


Come From Away's To Locals: The Potential For Immigrant Retention In Nova Scotia (pdf)


A Revised COMFIT Program- New solutions for an old problem (pdf)


Harmonizing Rules, Values, and Self-Interest (pdf)