Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program 

Director: Dr. George Candler

About the program

 

The UNF MPA is northeast Florida's only NASPAA* accredited degree program in public policy, public administration, and related fields.  The UNF MPA prepares students for successful careers as managers in the public and nonprofit sectors. The curriculum enables the student to understand the scope and activity of governance in modern society, and to administer public and nonprofit programs effectively. For the student who already has significant governmental experience, the program provides opportunities to gain new skills and obtain a broader perspective on the responsibilities and obligations of public sector management. While public administration is generally associated with a political science background, students from any discipline who are interested in public or nonprofit careers, or who are currently employed in the public or nonprofit sectors, are encouraged to apply to the program.

The program caters to mid-career professionals, offering almost all courses in the evening, generally from 6:00-8:45 pm. In addition to an internship option, and Directed Studies, we offer some online courses as well, though the prospective student should expect to take the majority of courses on campus, and in the evening.  We have made a commitment to work with serving Navy personnel to try to craft a program that works around deployment obligations.

 

The mission of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration is to serve the State of Florida through excellent educational opportunities involving teaching, quality research, and effective civic engagement. The department focuses its resources to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities for understanding, participating in, and managing institutions, process, and behaviors characteristic of national and international politics and public affairs. With excellent instruction as the highest priority, the department also supports extensive interaction with external constituencies through local, regional, state, and national professional service, and applied and theoretical research. The department is dedicated to maintaining program effectiveness for both students and community partners through continuous self-assessment and improvement.

* As is generally appreciated: the gold standard for accreditation of American universities and colleges is provided by six regional accreditation bodies. In the southeastern United States, that body is SACS. As its webpage indicates (see link), SACS accredits the whole institution, not each individual specialized program. Especially graduate professional programs are accredited separately, in addition to the university's institutional accreditation.  NASPAA is the accrediting body for Masters degrees in public policy, public administration, and related fields. 

 

UNF-MPA mission

 

The Masters of Public Administration program at the University of North Florida is committed to providing graduate professional education in northeast Florida, in the administration and management of public and nonprofit agencies.

 

In the fulfillment of this mission, the program focuses on six key competencies: the ability

  • to lead and manage in public governance;
  • to participate in and contribute to the policy process;
  • to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
  • to articulate and apply a public service perspective;
  • to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry; and
  • to understand local governance in a global context.

Program Outcomes

 

The attached document presents performance measures for the UNF-MPA program.  Data includes results of an alumni survey, student skills self assessment, writing exercises, a civic knowledge quiz, and student numbers and admissions information.

Program governance

 

Faculty governance takes place through the Graduate Steering Committee, which includes all faculty who teach in the program.  Community involvement in program governance occurs through the UNF-MPA Stakeholder Advisory Committee.  The duties of both the Program Director and the Graduate Steering Committee can be found in the appropriate section of the Graduate Program Director Handbook.  The Stakeholder Advisory Committee includes a combination of students, alumni, and a cross section of members of public and nonprofit agencies.


"The beauty of local government is that you can see the outcomes of your labors.   You can see buildings coming out of the ground and people using them – and that’s very gratifying." -- Lex Hester

"The young adults of tomorrow will be citizens of the world. We must prepare them." -- Adam Herbert.

 

 

 

 NASPAA 

 

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