MPA Mission Statement
The mission of the MPA Program is to integrate research, teaching, and service in a manner that enhances leadership skills, administrative capabilities, and management practices in local, state, and national public-serving organizations at multiple sites in WMU's service area.
- Students will demonstrate leadership, managerial, and administrative competencies.
Goal 1 objectives and assessments
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, political, economic, ethical, legal and sociological environment of the field.
Goal 2 objectives and assessments
- Faculty, staff, and students will value diversity.
Goal 3 objectives and assessments
- Students will demonstrate research skills.
Goal 4 objectives and assessments
- Faculty will integrate their research experiences within the context of instruction.
Goal 5 objectives and assessments
- Students will be encouraged to engage in public and community service.
Goal 6 objectives and assessments
- Students will demonstrate proficiency in oral presentations.
Goal 7 objectives and assessments
- Students will demonstrate proficiency in written expression.
Goal 8 objectives and assessments
- Students will demonstrate proficiency in selected information technologies.
Goal 9 objectives and assessments
- The MPA curriculum will be available at multiple locations throughout the WMU service area.
Goal 10 objectives and assessments
Students will demonstrate leadership, managerial, and administrative competencies
- Objective 1: Faculty will devise and deliver MPA courses to reflect the traditional and contemporary theories, principles, methods, and research findings, topically germane to preparing students for the present and future as professional public administrators.
Assessment 1a: Review the structure, content and assignments of course syllabi for timeliness and relevance to contemporary and future public administrative practice.
Assessment 1b: Faculty Program Review (FPR), Assessment Tasks AM-1 through AM-5. (See Appendix)
- Objective 2: The curriculum includes courses in the foundations and political environment of public administration, organization theory, budgeting, human resources, supervision, law, concentration electives, and a capstone project.
Assessment 2a: FPR Assessment Tasks AM-1 through AM-5.
Assessment 2b: Student competencies will be measured via the CM Assessment Assignment for each course. (See Appendix.) Also, FPR Assessment Task AM-6 (See Appendix).
Students will demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, political, economic, ethical, legal and sociological environment of the field
- Objective 1: Students in the core courses of the MPA Program, and the courses core to each concentration, will address the impact of culture, politics, economics, ethical values, and legal dimensions. Students in these courses will demonstrate proficiency in analyzing the constraints imposed by cultural, economic, and political variables, and ethical values, on their agencies policy options.
Assessment 1: FPR Assessment Task AM-1 and 2. CM Assessment Assignment for each course.
- Objective 2: Students in the Political Economy and Political Environment will demonstrate proficiency in analyzing the impact of globalization on sub-national economies and political and administrative systems.
Assessment 2: CM Assessment Assignment for each course. FPR Assessment Task AM-6.
Faculty, staff, and students will value diversity
- Objective 1: The course content for foundations of public administration, political environment of public administration, organization theory, human resources, supervision, budgeting, and law will include material that addresses the implications of an increasingly diverse population.
Assessment 1: Review of course content as evidenced in the course syllabi or information provided by the faculty. FPR Assessment Task AM-1, AM-2.
- Objective 2: The course content will include materials representing or authored by diverse populations, perceptions, and political philosophies.
Assessment 2: Review of course content as evidence in the course syllabi or information provided by the faculty. FPR Assessment Tasks AM-1, AM-2, AM-5.
- Objective 3: Efforts will be made to recruit and retain an MPA student population that reflects the diversity of the population of the WMU MPA service area.
Assessment 3a: Annual accounting of the demographic diversity of the student body.
Assessment 3b: Annual accounting of retention rates for traditionally underrepresented groups to determine whether special retention efforts are needed.
- Objective 4: Efforts will be made to recruit and retain a faculty that reflects the diversity of the population of the WMU MPA service area.
Assessment 4a: Review of full-time and part-time instructor recruitment practices and results.
Assessment 4b: Annual accounting of recruiting and retention efforts.
Students will demonstrate research skills
- Objective 1: All MPA students will have completed a research methods course and a data analysis course.
Assessment 1: Student program audits are conducted prior to graduation. Also, Student Permanent Program Audit prior to graduation.
- Objective 2: In addition to the research methods and data analysis courses, students will also engage in research activities and demonstrate research skills in a variety of other courses.
Assessment 2a: FPR, Assessment Tasks AM-1, AM-2
Assessment 2b Students will demonstrate research skill proficiencies in developing a research question, conducting a literature review, selecting appropriate methodologies and analytical techniques, correctly interpreting the data, and drawing appropriate conclusions. Proficiencies are measured by the CM Assessment Assignment in the relevant courses, and FPR Assessment Task AM-6.
- Objective 3: Students will be encouraged and mentored by the MPA faculty to (a) participate in faculty research projects, or (b) develop some of their own research assignments to a level suitable for presentation or publication in academic or professional venues.
Assessment 3a: The School's faculty will mentor the development of at least two publications and presentations per year.
Assessment 3b: When a publication results from faculty-student collaboration, the participating faculty and student(s) will share co-author or contributing-author status, or the faculty will otherwise provide visible identification for the student assisting the faculty member in published work appropriate to the nature and level of the student's participation.
Faculty will integrate their research experiences within the context of instruction
- Objective 1: Faculty research expertise will be integrated into instruction in appropriate research methods courses.
Assessment 1: FPR, Assessment Tasks AM-1, AM-2, AM-5.
- Objective 2: Faculty research findings, conclusions, and implications will be integrated into the content of course instruction.
Assessment 2: FPR, Assessment Tasks AM-1, AM-2, AM-5.
Students will be encouraged to engage in professional, public and community service
- Objective 1: All MPA students will be encouraged to engage in professional, public and/or community service during and after completion of the MPA program.
Assessment 1a: Pre-career students will be required to take a 3 credit hour internship.
Assessment 1b: All students in at least one MPA course will apply problem-solving methods to a current community issue.
Assessment 1c: Through faculty announcements in class and articles in the School newsletter, Public Spaace, students will be encouraged to join and participate in professional societies such as ASPA, ACHE, PM, and other community organizations, to extend their formal education into lifelong professional development and community service in their chosen fields.
Students will demonstrate proficiency in communicating well-organized oral presentations
- Objective 1: Students will demonstrate proficiency in communicating well-organized oral presentations.
Proficiency Specifications: Students will use eye contact, voice modulation, and gestures to communicate effectively and to include the audience where appropriate. Students will also demonstrate an ability to use notes without losing contact with the audience or to effectively deliver a presentation note free.
Feedback Specifications: Faculty will provide feedback on student oral presentations as to oral presentation skills. Faculty will use feedback from students on oral presentations to enhance class instruction on oral presentation skills.
Assessment 1: Assessment Assignment in each relevant course.
- Objective 2: Since the technology available for oral presentations varies by organization and circumstances, students will demonstrate proficiency in the use of several technologies to support their oral presentations.
Proficiency Specifications: Where technologies are available, students will use at least two of the following modalities for oral presentations in their MPA classes: electronic presentation technology, slides, overheads, and handouts. At least 20 percent of all courses will require students to use a variety of technologies in their oral presentations.
Feedback Specifications: Faculty will use feedback from students on oral presentations to enhance class instruction on the use of technology in oral presentation.
Assessment 2a: FPR, AM Tasks AM-1, AM-2, AM-5.
Assessment 2b: CM Assessment Assignment for each course.
- Objective 3: Students will demonstrate proficiency in adapting oral presentations to a variety of audiences.
Proficiency Specifications Students in at least one course will be required to tailor their presentations to one of several audiences, e.g., a citizens' group, board/legislative body, or an oversight agency.
Feedback Specifications Faculty will use feedback from students on oral presentations to enhance class instruction on adapting presentations to the audience.
Assessment 3a: FPR, AM Tasks AM-1, AM-2, AM-5
Assessment 3b: CM Assessment Assignment for each course.
Students will demonstrate proficiency in written expression
- Objective 1: Faculty will use established criteria to evaluate written assignments.
Proficiency Specification: At least 20 percent of the grade for a majority of the written assignments in the MPA curriculum will be determined by the following criteria:
Assessment 1: FPR, Assessment Task AM-1, AM-2, AM-5.
- Articulation of a research question, theme, or problem.
- Development of a theme or problem statement.
- Organization of the paper.
- Utilization of correct grammar, syntax, and spelling.
- Avoidance of jargon and use of technical language inappropriate for the intended audience.
- Use of supporting evidence.
- Properly citing quotes and materials from other peoples' works.
- 8Adherence to standards of academic integrity as defined by the University.
- Responsiveness of the written product to the faculty member's original instructions.
- Objective 2: Students will write clearly and concisely.
Proficiency Specification: Students in at least two courses will write concisely using executive summaries, abstracts or similar formats that convey the focus, methods, and findings of their papers.
Assessment 2: CM Assessment Assignment for each course.
Students will demonstrate proficiency in selected information technologies
- Objective 1: Students will demonstrate familiarity with electronic file transfer, spreadsheets, databases, software for analysis, and accessing online resource materials.
Assessment 1: When appropriate to the course content, all MPA courses require students to use one or more information technologies.
The MPA curriculum will be available at multiple locations throughout the WMU service area
- Objective 1: The course schedule enables MPA students to complete core requirements and designated concentrations within three years at each site where the MPA is offered in the WMU service area.
Assessment 1: Courses on the multiyear curriculum plan are scheduled for each semester/session and location.
- Objective 2: Enrollments are monitored in order to determine the frequency with which courses should be offered at each campus.
Assessment 2a: Whenever enrollments exceed cost effective capacities on two successive occasions, additional sections of the MPA core course will be added to the multiyear course plan. Whenever enrollments for a distance education course exceed ten students at a given location on two successive occasions, the course may be offered face-to-face rather than by distance education.
Assessment 2b: Enrollments and course delivery modalities are monitored and changes are made to the multi-year curriculum plan.
MPA Program: Curriculum Content, Delivery, and Student Competency Assessment
The School of Public Affairs and Administration uses two forms of assessment to determine the extent to which the goals and objectives of the MPA program are met.
Program Input Assessment: The School assesses the delivery of the terminal professional MPA program to determine if its inputs into the program reflect curriculum content and delivery approaches that are relevant and current to the competencies needed by students to function effectively as public administrators.
Student Outcomes Assessment: The School assesses the extent to which students have developed the necessary professional competencies in their course work.
Mechanisms for Implementing the Program Input Assessment
In conducting the program input assessment, The School conducts a Faculty Program Review (FPR) in which each regular, full-time faculty member in the School is assigned to review a content cluster of courses in the MPA program relevant to her/his teaching and research expertise. Each assigned faculty member prepares a written survey report by September 30 of every third year to the MPA Committee that comments on the degree to which the objectives of the two assessments have been met in the design and delivery of courses by all faculty teaching in the assigned content cluster during the previous three years. The three year time frame is selected because it may take up to three years for each course in the MPA curriculum core and its concentrations to be delivered more than once at each program location. (Note: At least two classes must be delivered per each course at each location to reduce idiosyncratic effects on student outcomes as well as program inputs.)
The following Assessment Criteria used in the Program Review reflect the extent to which the content, structure, and academic assignments of each course assigned to the faculty member for review reflect the following:
Criterion-1: The traditional and contemporary theories, principles, practices, methods, and research findings topically germane to preparing students to be effective and professional public administrators.
Criterion-2: The cultural, sociological, political, economic, ethical, legal, and global environments of the field.
Criterion-3: The relevant implications of the foregoing elements for an increasingly diverse population, and the representation of diverse populations, perceptions, and political philosophies in the course content and materials.
Criterion-4: Student mastery of professional management competencies and the appropriate research skills per the aggregated date reflecting the Competency Mastery (CM) Assignments used to address the outcomes assessment objective. (See the Mechanisms for Implementing Student Outcomes Assessment, below).
Criterion-5: Student mastery of appropriate writing and oral communication skills per the Competency Mastery Assignments made in each course taught (see below).
Each review report also contains recommendations from the faculty author as to the appropriate course content and topics for each course assessed.
The Assessment Mechanisms for conducting the triennial review, and which serve as the source of data for completing the survey, are as follows:
Assessment Mechanism AM-1: Review of current course syllabi and the need for revisions.
Assessment Mechanism AM-2: Interviews (conducted by the assigned faculty) of all full and part-time faculty currently teaching the courses in the reviewing faculty's assigned content area.
Assessment Mechanism AM-3: Current reports by the relevant professional associations as to the current knowledge, skills and competencies needed by students completing master's programs in public administration and management.
Assessment Mechanism AM-4: Analyses of focus group sessions conducted periodically with relevant local and statewide professional groups and major employers of the program's graduates.
Assessment Mechanism AM-5: Student comments included in annual MPA program assessment surveys completed by students enrolled in the capstone course, PADM 680, or other student input mechanisms (such as focus groups) established by the School.
Assessment Mechanism AM-6: Competency Mastery indicators derived from CM Reports filed by each faculty for each course taught during the review period, analyzed in the aggregate to determine deficiencies in individual courses or areas of the MPA program.
MPA Committee Review and Action
Once the FPR reports are completed, the MPA Committee meets to take the following actions:
Review the completed FPR reports, and note areas of deficiency in the program curriculum, course content, and delivery approaches.
- Prepare a summary report of the individual reports, attach the individual FPR reports, and distribute the document to all full-time faculty members for review and action.
- Recommend to the faculty for any necessary curriculum, course content, or delivery changes, including the specification of topics to be addressed in courses deemed deficient.
Mechanism for implementing the Outcomes Assessment
CM Assessment: A Competency Mastery assignment is included in each course in the MPA program, and specifically identified as such in the course syllabus. The assignment, to be developed by the course instructor, allows the instructor to assess the student's overall mastery of the content and skills required for the course. Although students are evaluated independently of the course grade as to whether they have achieved a minimally acceptable level of mastery for the assignment, the level of mastery achieved may also be used to also assist in determining the student's final course grade. The assignment is framed as a comprehensive test question, term paper, or other evaluation mechanism.
Students who, in the instructor's view, do not achieve minimal mastery of the assignment are not be granted a letter grade higher than a C in the course regardless of their cumulative performance on the course's other assignments. The level of mastery achieved in each course is recorded by the instructor and retained in the student's file until the student graduates, withdraws from the program, or is removed from the program for poor academic performance.
At the time each instructor files grades for each course, the instructor reports the total enrollment of the course and the number of students in the course failing to achieve the minimum acceptable competency mastery. The report is filed with the School on a standardized form; the aggregated data from the form provide a database for Assessment Mechanism AM-6. Faculty will retain file copies of the students' completed assignments for each course delivered for a period of three years.