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History, Mission, & Learning Outcomes

MPA Program History

Since 1973, Georgia Southern University’s MPA program has been a leader in the advancement of public and nonprofit management education.  Today, the MPA program is recognized as one of the top graduate programs at Georgia Southern, boasting a dedicated core faculty and an alumni base of more than 700 strong.

In 2011, the MPA Program gained membership in the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), which is comprised of academic programs and institutions committed to furthering research and education in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.  The MPA program is also accredited by the NASPAA Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation and listed on the Annual Roster of Accredited Programs in conformity with NASPAA Standards.

On July 1, 2012, in recognition of the MPA program’€s continued development, the program was made part of the newly established Institute for Public and Nonprofit Studies (IPNS). In 2018, the IPNS became the Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies.  Today, the department serves as the focal point for scholarship, teaching, and professional service in the field of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Nonprofit Management at Georgia Southern.  It is one of six academic departments in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

The MPA program’s curriculum is structured to meet the needs of both pre-service students and mid-career practitioners. In Fall 2021, the program transitioned to a hybrid format blending online and in-person instruction on the Statesboro Campus.

Also, beginning Fall 2021, undergraduate students majoring in Recreation Management or Human Development and Family Science-Family Services may apply to the Advanced Bachelors to Masters (ABM) program. The ABM program provides students with the opportunity to apply up to 12-credit hours of MPA coursework towards both their undergraduate and graduate (MPA) degree requirements.

The department also offers three undergraduate minors (Public Administration, Public Policy, and Nonprofit Management).  The department’s undergraduate courses are taught fully-online and are open to all students seeking training in public and nonprofit management.  Students in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program may also pursue program concentrations in these areas.

MPA Program Mission

The Master of Public Administration program prepares students for careers in public service and nonprofit organizations by providing outstanding academic and practical instruction in public administration. Preparing a corps of technically proficient, ethical and service-oriented public administrators will improve the quality of life and governance for all the region’s citizens and this is our primary mission.

MPA Student Learning Outcomes

  • Using the major theories underlying the field of public administration students can synthesize relevant information to address public problems.
  • Students can articulate and apply a public service perspective in their demonstrated knowledge of the structure, components, goals and objectives of the public and nonprofit sectors.
  • Students are able to participate in the public policy process through analysis and application of quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence to determine the effectiveness of a public policy or program.
  • Students are able to describe the public policy process and the administrator’s role in that process.
  • Students are able to identify ethical problems in public administration, assess the nuances and ambiguities of those ethical problems, and create appropriate solutions using moral reasoning skills.
  • Students will participate in and contribute to the policy process through preparation and analysis of a public budget in order to lead and manage in public governance.
  • Students can manage the major components of a personnel system within an organizational setting, understand the nuances of effectively motivating and managing personnel, and communicate and interact productively and in culturally responsive ways with a diverse and changing workforce and society at large.

The MPA program’s learning outcomes align with the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) universal required competencies.  The required competencies include five domains:

  • to lead and manage in the public interest;
  • to participate in, and contribute to, the policy process;
  • to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make evidence-informed decisions in a complex and dynamic environment;
  • to articulate, apply, and advance a public service perspective;
  • to communicate and interact productively and in culturally responsive ways with a diverse and changing workforce and society at large.

Last updated: 6/1/2022