New Developments and Growth in SUU’s MPA Program

Published: October 17, 2018 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 3 minutes

Students in Public Administration Master's Program ClassroomExciting things are happening in Southern Utah University’s master of public administration (MPA) program. SUU’s MPA program was recently ranked #33 in Best Online Master’s in Public Administration by the Affordable Colleges Online organization. SUU ranked above The University of Texas at Arlington (#41) and Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide (#50). Growth of this eleven-year-old department is unmistakable as overall applications were up 12.5 percent compared to last fall. Quality also remains high in the department, as the average undergraduate GPA for incoming MPA students is 3.4.

“The MPA Program develops professional public service leaders through engaged learning, reflective practice and dedication to civic responsibility, in concert with SUU’s commitment to personalized experiential learning,” said MPA Director Angela Pool-Funai.

MPA students learn to act as facilitators in defining and pursuing the public interest. These students can go on to become city planners, administrators, directors, government officials, etc. This summer, SUU’s MPA students were involved in over 30 professional projects ranging from expanding Spanish-language resources for a nonprofit organization, to launching a transitional program for students aging out of the foster care system in Nevada.

“SUU MPA students are making a difference, not only in Cedar City, but also the region,” said Angela Pool-Funai, director of MPA program.

The MPA program has introduced a concentration track in Criminal Justice. While there are other programs in Utah that offer criminal justice courses, SUU is one of the only schools in Utah offering a graduate emphasis in Criminal Justice. According to Bryan Burton, assistant professor of criminal justice, the biggest benefit to having an emphasis in criminal justice is the hybrid mix between criminal justice and public administration courses. “The degree is more versatile” he said.

The MPA program has also introduced a mentorship initiative which involves current and future MPA students teaming up with practitioners in the field. This year, there are five MPA students with mentors who are all in different fields of higher education including student affairs, state government, local government, and the nonprofit arena. This cooperation is anticipated to provide students with advice in their courses and professional journeys from someone who has been through it all successfully.

“I began working in the MPA Department in December of 2016, and the program growth has doubled,” said MPA Administrative Assistant, Deena Marchal. “I anticipate that the growth and enrollment rates will continue to climb exceedingly high. Nothing but great things are in store for this program.”

This year, MPA professors Ravi Roy and Bryan Burton are offering the ultimate graduate study abroad to Sweden and Denmark. Students will get the opportunity to meet with government officials, make connections, and understand how other countries run their government.  Previously, the MPA program has offered a study abroad to the United Kingdom where students studied culture and contemporary issues regarding higher education.

“It would be beneficial for grad students to meet with experts in other countries to get their perspectives on how they administer criminal justice,” Bryan Burton said about the new study abroad.

For more information, visit the SUU MPA program website or contact the SUU Political Science & Criminal Justice Department.

MPA Director Angela Pool-Funai is available for interviews

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Public Administration

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