Graduation regalia

Our Aspirations

Our Aspirations

To shape the future of public service requires first envisioning it. The Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions – after robust discussions with students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders – created our Aspirations as a way to communicate what Watts College desires to be: a vehicle through which we make the world a better place.

The mandala is a visual expression of that, a graphic representation to inspire our students, faculty and staff of what the world can be.

At the core of the mandala, we aspire to create equity, community, justice, participation and potential.

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We achieve this by influencing society in positive ways through:

  • respect and empathy
  • trust in public institutions
  • stewardship of public goods
  • responsible innovation
  • criminal justice reimagined
  • safety and violence prevention
  • systemic and procedural fairness
  • voter education and engagement
  • shared governance
  • institutional evolution
  • leadership and management
  • recovery and healing
  • child and youth well-being
  • accessibility and inclusion


The color gradients of the mandala reflect that each of these issues is interconnected rather than separate from the whole. At the center, hands clasped together indicate that not only does this future affect all of us, but to create it, we must collaborate.

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Finally, at the outer ring we show how we will bring these aspirations to life: through knowledge creation, social embeddedness, service leadership and applied teaching.

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  • We aspire to create compassionate, inclusive and connected communities characterized by mutual respect, by the co-existence of diverse views, and by a commonality of purpose.
  • We aspire to heal divisiveness, alienation and isolation – from one another, and from our natural environment.
  • We aspire to create communities that are sustainable, and accountable for their stewardship of the natural environment.



  • We aspire to create a society that values fairness, safety, and justice.
  • We are seeking solutions to prevent violence – including gun violence, gender and domestic violence, racial violence, and violence against LGBTQ people.
  • We are working to create systemic and procedural fairness, and remove structural oppression that marginalizes people according to race, gender, and sexual orientation.



  • We aspire to create a society shaped by community and civic participation; characterized by trust in public institutions, value for public goods, and thriving democracy.
  • We are working to create the conditions where everyone’s voice is heard, and where institutions evolve as society changes.



  • We aspire to create a society where individuals not only have the foundations they need for daily living (healthcare, housing, education), but also have access to the opportunities they need to thrive.
  • We are working to support and heal people to recover from trauma.
  • We are preparing the public service leaders of the future, to be stewardsof public goods, and responsible innovators.
    • On responsible innovation [some people struggled to understand this one, but it came from the focus groups’ emphasis on balance] We are activating the economic and social potential of our communities responsibly, with the understanding that everything exists in a balance – that gains in one area can lead to unintended harm to another, as with the balance of economic gains and environmental destruction.
  • We are supporting people of all ages – from children and youth to seniors – to realize their potential.



  • We aspire to create a society where outcomes are not determined by birth, neighborhood, economic status, race, gender, age or sexual orientation.
  • We are working to ensure that everyone benefits from access to appropriate services – especially services that are culturally sensitive.