Online and traditional MPA degree offerings at Barry University
As part of Govpro.com’s series on Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree programs and their value to government administrators, here are the views of John Carroll, academic coordinator and professor in the School of Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) at Miami Shores, Fla.-based Barry University. The school’s MPA program is offered through ACE. ACE provides adults with access to undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and non-credit professional development programs that encourage an interactive approach to learning. The school has an extensive offering of online degree programs.
Barry University is a private, Catholic institution with a long Dominican tradition. The school was founded in 1940 in Miami. It has 2,747 full-time undergraduate students and 3,748 graduate students.
The Barry University MPA Program, which includes an online offering, provides students with:
- Knowledge of the theory, principles and practice of service to the public;
- Instilling in students a commitment to ethical public service for the protection of the public interest and public trust; and
- Graduating students who promote service and social justice plus solutions to human, social, economic, and environment problems.
Upon completion of the Barry MPA degree program, students will be able to:
- Apply graduate research methods and techniques and to evaluate the effectiveness of public programs and the outcomes of policy alternatives.
- Synthesize the concepts associated with ethical behavior and social responsibility that will engage students in a meaningful effort to affect social change and promote social justice.
- Evaluate leadership qualities and analyze the rule of law in administrative procedures, as well as diverse roles in effective administrative decision-making.
Govpro: Does it make sense to earn an online Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in 2012? Can it help advance careers in government, or provide job security, or help develop new skills?
John Carroll: First, the year generally does not matter — it makes sense to get a graduate degree any year that works best for the student. Economies rise and fall in cycles beyond the control of potential students, so get your degree when you can.
Govpro: Are there benefits to earning an online MPA versus earning an MPA in a traditional bricks-and-mortar MPA program?
JC: There should be no difference in the academic quality of the online or “face to face” in the classic “brick and mortar” setting, as either are simply delivery methods. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which each student weighs based on their own individual success plan. I would be unashamedly biased in my belief that an advanced degree is a fundamental building block to one’s personal success. The online format opens additional lines of access to the pursuit of a degree.
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is the internationally recognized terminal degree program for the public sector. According to the U.S. News and World Report College Rankings website, there are about 266 colleges and universities in the United States that offer a graduate degree in public affairs. The American Society for Public Administration notes over 9,000 members, which include practitioners and academics from around the world and across many disciplines. The MPA is intended for those in the public and non-profit sectors whose career progression includes managing organizations. The MPA provides the wider view of public agencies and how the various components interact to provide services, i.e., leadership, budget and finance, human resources, productivity, administrative/regulatory impacts, and others. The MPA is the “big picture” that combines theory and practice for leading agencies now and into the future.
An area that is gaining attention worldwide is the American model of governance, especially in developing democracies. As the world becomes “smaller,” more nations are adopting our style. This could make 2012 and beyond significant for future leaders to look over international horizons rather than just local government. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I have read that the numbers of international students at American universities is the highest ever and only increasing. As one colleague remarked to me recently, our university system — which includes the uniquely American MPA — may be one of our great exports.