Online degree program is developing public service leaders (with related video)
Public servants: Do you want to join the next generation of leaders for local, state and federal government? The Master of Public Service Leadership (MPSL) degree program at Thomas Edison State University (TESU) could be the answer. The John S. Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies at TESU offers the degree.
With the MPSL offering, graduates can also assume leadership posts in nonprofit, philanthropic, faith- and community-based organizations.
The 36-credit program is offered completely online and designed around needs of working adults to meet the expanding demand for advanced degrees in the field of public service. The degree program has been developed in alignment with the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) standards for accreditation.
The program has a competency-based curriculum focusing on advancing the knowledge, research and practice of public affairs that emphasizes theory, research and application. The program gives students an applied experience that provides an opportunity to apply what they learn to their actual work environments.
Through the MPSL program, students have the option of selecting one of the following areas of study:
• Community and Economic Development
• Environmental Policy / Environmental Justice
• Information Technology Management for Public Service
• Nonprofit Management
• Public and Municipal Finance
• Public Health / Public Policy
Christopher Schultz, assistant dean and director in the Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies, offers his views on his school’s MPSL offering. He describes the ways his school’s MPSL program is responding to the current public service environment.
GPN: Is 2016 a good time to earn a master’s in the area of public administration for government administrators?
Christopher Schultz: This is a particularly good time to earn a master’s degree in the area of study, because those in the field are facing new and unique challenges. Employment growth will be driven by multifaceted improvements necessary in public programs and services and in urban, regional and environmental planning.
As a result, employers in these fields will increasingly prefer candidates with advanced degrees. The experience of graduate-level education is crucial in itself, in that it enables students to interact and network with others in their field who can share relevant, real-world experiences.
GPN: What are some of the characteristics of the marketplace for MPSL degree holders in 2016?
CS: As governments right-size, opportunities in the overall job market are becoming more competitive. Public administrators who operate in an ethical, research-oriented and applied framework that emphasizes collaborative thinking – the very framework espoused by our school – will distinguish themselves in this environment.
GPN: Can your school’s MPSL degree offer new or unique opportunities to our readers?
CS: Our MPSL program provides students the opportunity to apply what they learn immediately to their working environments. In addition, the Watson School partners with TESU’s School of Business and Management in offering the Master of Science in Management – Public Service Careers under that school’s Master of Science in Management (MSM) program.
The MSM program focuses on issues of management and public service. Both the MPSL and the MSM degree programs help students develop the skills necessary to learn and immediately lead in public service professions and both degrees can be completed entirely online.
GPN: Do you have any advice for our audience on choosing the right master’s program in public service leadership?
CS: Today’s students need an educational experience that fits with their life and learning style and positions them to make an impact. While there are many academic public administration programs available, your audience should consider a program that helps them make that impact sooner rather than later. The applied focus of our MPSL program enables our adult learners to make an immediate contribution to their workplace and the communities they serve.
We urge those considering a master’s degree program to select one that gives them the flexibility to complete their coursework on their own schedule, at a time and place that is convenient for them. Our MPSL program was also developed in alignment with the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) standards for accreditation. In their search for a learning experience that provides the best fit, your readers should also look for similar standards.
In the video, Joseph Youngblood, dean of the John S. Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies at Thomas Edison State University, discusses graduate programs focusing on the public service sector.