MPA Program Receives Full Accreditation From National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration
The Master of Public Administration degree at California State University, Dominguez Hills recently received a full seven years of accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Iris Baxter, associate professor of public administration and public policy, says that both the on-campus and online programs “prepare students for management positions in a multicultural environment.”
“Our students directly benefit from our diverse student population by working in groups to complete course assignments, which prepares them for a diverse workplace,” says Baxter, who is an alumna of the program (Class of ’90, B.S., healthcare management; ’92, M.P.A.). “Our program addresses the demographics of our students and local communities, and examines how the demographics influence the thinking and actions of public administrators in the region.”
The site visit in March of this year by the NASPAA team assessed the M.P.A. program at CSU Dominguez Hills on eight standards: eligibility for peer review and accreditation; program mission; program jurisdiction; curriculum; faculty; admission of students; student services; and support services and facilities.
Baxter and James Strong, dean of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy (CBAPP), commend CBAPP Advisory Board members Robert Pittman (Class of ’06, M.P.A.), Joe Dulla, Gerardo Pinedo (Class of ’01, B.A., interdisciplinary studies/public administration), Ernie Klinger, and Marvin Brown (Class of ’99, B.A., public administration) for presenting the M.P.A. department to the NASPAA team.
“Accreditation teams don’t normally see board members at that level of involvement, where they help interview faculty candidates,” says Strong. “In our report from the visitation team, they were very impressed with the advisory board members. They’re very knowledgeable about what’s going on.”
Dulla, Pinedo, Pittman, and Klinger, who serves as Advisory Board executive committee chair, are all CBAPP faculty members who have brought their real world experience to the classroom. Dulla is a sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Professional Development Bureau; Pinedo is interim director of Government Relations and Policy for Los Angeles County Department of Health; Pittman is chief information security officer for the County of Los Angeles. Strong emphasizes the caliber of their instruction based on their expertise in their fields and their value as role models.
Baxter thanked university staff who participated in the site visit, saying, “Our accomplishment brings positive attention to our campus.”
She credits Doug Borcoman, acting director, Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL); Shirley Lal, associate for Student Learning Outcomes Assessment, CTL; Sandra Parham, dean, University Library; Naomi Moy, director of reference services, University Library; and staff members in the Welch Hall computer lab for assisting public administration faculty as they hosted the visit.
The program’s three areas of concentration – public management, criminal justice administration, and nonprofit
management – are enhanced by the department’s access to professionals who can mentor students in preparation
for their chosen careers. Baxter says that opportunities to network through honor societies, career panels,
alumni mixers, presentations by guest speakers, and contact with the CBAPP Advisory Board prepare graduates of
the MP.A. programs to eventually serve as “role models for the next generation of public administrators.”
“The objective of the M.P.A. program is public service,” she says. “This access [to professionals] allows alumni to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to their interactions with individuals and organizations in their own communities.”
Strong says that university’s location in urban Los Angeles helps to position it as a learning laboratory for students – many of whom are already working in public policy positions.
“The advantage of going through a business program or public administration program in the middle of a metropolitan area is that we’re surrounded by practitioners and organizations that are in the fields they are interested in,” he says. “There’s a big difference between the classroom and the workplace. The classroom is more structured than the workplace is. You’re looking at things in a much slower pace, through a narrower lens. But that’s not how decisions are made. They’re made under uncertainty with a tremendous amount of distraction and often a political dimension that you just don’t get in the classroom. [Students are] able to hear from professionals and utilize that knowledge.”
For more information on the College of Business Administration and Public Affairs, click here.
- Joanie Harmon
Photos above: Lakesha Harris, a senior in business administration, is congratulated by James Strong, dean of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy (at left) and Ernie Klinger, lecturer in entrepreneurship and chair, CBAPP Advisory Board Executive Committee for taking first place in the first-ever Business Plan Competition, earlier this year. For full story, click here.
Photo by Joanie Harmon
Iris Baxter, associate professor of public administration and public policy.
Photo by GK