Peach State MPA program combines theory and practice (with related video)
Students in Augusta (Ga.) University’s master’s in public administration (MPA) degree program are equipped with the critical thinking, problem-solving, and people skills essential to professional success. The school has three campuses in Augusta and various satellite locations across Georgia. It is a public research university and medical center dedicated to training the next generation of innovators, leaders and health care providers.
GPN reached out to William Hatcher, associate professor and director of the school’s MPA program, to learn more about his school’s offering. Prof. Hatcher’s views are below.
GPN: Can your school’s MPA degree offer new opportunities to our audience?
William Hatcher: The MPA is a very versatile degree. MPA graduates work in many areas of public service. Given this, it is important that graduate programs in public affairs train our students to be successful in many types of organizations.
The MPA program at Augusta University embraces the versatile nature of the field. In today’s rapidly changing world, collaboration is the key to improving our world. To address today’s complex problems, government leaders must work proactively with nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses.
By offering a solid collection of core courses in public management principles and electives in fields including public health, criminal justices, and emergency management, the MPA at Augusta University helps prepare the managers of tomorrow for this dynamic, collaborative public sector.
GPN: Is 2016 a great time to earn an MPA for government administrators?
WH: Today is an excellent time to advance you career by obtaining an MPA. The public sector is rebounding from the negative effects of the 2008 recession and needs qualified public managers. At all levels of government, many public managers are nearing retirement age, and the public service needs excellent public managers to replace them. The MPA is the degree to help us retain and improve the governing capacity in this nation.
The MPA gives individuals the ability to work in numerous fields from managing nonprofits to working for public agencies to helping private companies. In fact, around 20 percent of MPA graduates from accredited programs work for the private sector. So, if you’re looking for a degree to help you make a difference, strengthen public service, and give you career options, then the MPA is the degree for you.
GPN: Do your school’s MPA program administrators have any advice for our readers on choosing an MPA program?
WH: When choosing an MPA program, individuals should consider three important factors.
First, has the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) accredited the MPA program? To be accredited, programs have to satisfy comprehensive requirements that ensure that they are preparing students for careers in public service and also that the programs are helping their communities. This is an important stamp of excellence that you should look for when selecting an MPA program.
Second, does the program help you advance your career goals? Be sure to examine the course offerings of the program to determine if they are in line with your career aspirations.
Lastly, can I complete the program in a given amount of time? Many of our MPA students work full time and need a clear plan of when they will start and finish their degrees. When looking for a program, make sure it is one that can help you navigate the logistics of balancing your life and the degree.
GPN: What sets the Augusta MPA program apart from other MPA programs?
WH: We have excellent students and faculty. We have an advisory board that is very active in our program. We have an internship program with 100 percent placement that helps students gain experience working in the public sector. We are serving our students and community by offering a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership, an accelerated BA to MPA program where undergraduates can complete both degrees in five years, and partnerships with the large health sector in our community.
Our program offers a unique combination of theory and practice that ensures our students leave equipped with the critical thinking, problem-solving, and people skills essential to professional success. We attract a diverse student body from all undergraduate majors and walks of life. We provide high-quality internship opportunities to give our students the practical experience necessary to compete for today’s jobs. Our graduates work at all levels in an amazing variety of organizations and fields—law enforcement, national parks, local government, economic development organizations, the military, and nonprofits.
The video highlights the many academic programs at Augusta University, including History, Health, Business, Cyber, Humanities and Athletics.