Wy Spano is the director of the MAPL program here at the University of Minnesota Duluth. MAPL stands for Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership. The program, which is housed in the College of Liberal Arts, welcomed its first 13 students in September, 2004. It now has 40 Masters Degree students from throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin who gather on 11 weekends each semester, 22 times a year, to learn, in the words of the program’s promotional brochure, “how to change the world, in whatever direction you want to change it.” The Center focuses its course work on giving students the intellectual capability to decide which policies they wish society to pursue together with the skills to ethically and civilly advocate for those policies.
Prior to his new position, Wy Spano participated in, studied and wrote extensively about Minnesota’s public life since he first started lobbying at the Minnesota capitol in 1979. He founded and for 24 years published and co-edited the newsletter Politics in Minnesota, ending his involvement in February, 2005. Spano has been the most frequent guest on Minnesota's state-wide public affairs TV show Almanac, shown on public television stations, where he serves as a regular member of the show’s political panel. He also provides frequent comment and analysis for TV and print journalists, locally and nationally, who are looking for opinions about Minnesota’s political life.
Prior to his current UMD assignment, Spano’s main job was as a lobbyist where his special emphasis was representing government and nonprofit organizations. Spano is co-author of the textbook Minnesota Politics and Government, published in December,1999 by the University of Nebraska press. He was also a contributor to the book Minnesota Real and Imagined: Essays on the State and Its Culture, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2000.
Spano holds a Masters Degree from the Eagleton Institute of Practical Politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has completed his coursework and preliminary exams for a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. All that’s left is a thesis, which is slated to be a political biography of Paul Wellstone.
Spano is married to Marcia Avner, the Public Policy Director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, who also directs the Nonprofit Advocacy concentration in the MAPL program. They have five children and seven grandchildren.
Contact Wy Spano