The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership reflects GSPIA’s commitment to producing professionals who adhere to the highest standards of ethics and public accountability. The Johnson Institute provides students, faculty and the community at large with opportunities to engage in disciplined reflections and rigorous inquiry on issues of ethics and accountability that are of particular interest to the public and nonprofit sectors.

Our Mission

The mission of the Johnson Institute is to enhance professional and institutional ethics and accountability in public leadership. We accomplish this mission through an integrated portfolio of programs including:

Teaching: The Johnson Institute works with GSPIA and University faculty to integrate teaching of responsible leadership across the curriculum.


Research: The Johnson Institute generates new and usable knowledge on issues of leadership and accountability in public service.


Outreach: The Johnson Institute promotes discussion and debate on timely public policy issues that involve leadership in the public sector.


These three aspects of the Johnson Institute mission work in concert to enhance the quality of public leadership in government, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations in Pittsburgh, the Nation, and abroad.

Upcoming Events
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Featured Video
Leadership Portfolio Video
The Johnson Institute’s Leadership Portfolio Program (LPP) provides a select group of exceptional students with classroom and community-based opportunities to enhance their leadership skills and credentials.  Students reflect on their experience in the program.
Recent News
March 16, 2015

Sandra Taylor, president and CEO of Sustainable Business International, has been named this year’s winner of the Exemplary Leadership Award by the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership. The Exemplary Leadership Award ceremony and lecture will be held at 4:00 p.m., Friday, March 20 at the O'Hara Student Center. 

January 26, 2015

Coro Pittsburgh presented GSPIA Professor Kevin Kearns with the Distinguished Individual Leadership Award at the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Awards and Celebration, Friday, January 23 at the New Hazlett Theater. According to Coro’s announcement, “Kevin Kearns not only demonstrates values based leadership in his own work and service but successfully instills those values in those around him.”

January 05, 2015

While a student at GSPIA, Evie Gardner (MPA ’13) gained valuable hands-on experience through the Johnson Institute’s Leadership Portfolio Program. As part of the program, Gardner spent a year as a voting member of the board of directors at the United Way of Westmoreland County.  Today, Gardner is a consultant for the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management in Pittsburgh, and recently sat down with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Joyce Gannon to discuss her career path.

December 22, 2014

By Chris Gursky

Several GSPIA LPP students attended a lecture by Robert S. Mueller III, former Director of the FBI on November 19th, 2014 presented as a part of the Robert Morris University Speaker Series at Heinz Hall. Throughout his talk, Mueller toed the line between somber discussions of past and present security threats and more light-hearted jests about his personal life.

November 17, 2014

Sandra Taylor, executive director of Sustainable Business International, has been named the recipient of The Johnson Institute's Exemplary Leadership Award.

Featured Research

The Johnson Institute’s Case Study Series features the outstanding accomplishments of the Institute’s Exemplary Leadership Award Winners. The 2014 Case Study, Mark Nordenberg and the University of Pittsburgh, exemplifies the characteristics of a true leader. Read more.

Featured Publications
Johnson Institute Releases 2013-14 Annual Report

The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership annual report features the teaching, research, and ongoing public service efforts of the Institute.  This year’s annual report recognizes two local leaders that exemplify the mission and values of the Johnson Institute: Founder and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation Bill Strickland and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.


Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership
3917 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260

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