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Master of Public Administration
Welcome to the world’s only bilingual Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program, provided in American Sign Language (ASL) and English here at Gallaudet University. We prepare deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing professionals for public service and careers in government as well as nonprofit organizations.
What is MPA? A Master of Public Administration (MPA) is an interdisciplinary and professional degree that prepares students for leadership and public service through employment in government and nonprofit organizations. Our graduates are trained with the values and knowledge to lead their diverse communities.
The MPA program prepares future leaders inside and outside of the deaf community with a wide range of courses. These courses include budgeting, leadership, public policy, nonprofit management, and social equity among others! Course offerings are updated and refined often to ensure up-to-date teaching and learning.
What to expect – The MPA Program is a synchronous program with two tracks to provide maximum flexibility for students wanting to enter public service and professionals who are already in their careers. Students may enroll full-time or part-time. A full-time student can expect to graduate in two years.
Online Track: We have an online track (all courses meet online via Zoom) Students need to attend synchronous classes biweekly from 5 – 8 PM eastern.
Hybrid Track: We also provide a significant face-to-face component, where most of your core courses are on campus at Gallaudet University, the closest university to the U.S. Capitol. Our face-to-face courses are provided in the evenings, so you can work, get internship experience, or even join prestigious fellowship programs at the same time you take courses! Most of the electives are provided online to allow students to interact and mix with students in the online track as well.
Sample Two and three-year plans
Who’s eligible for our program? The public sector needs people from all backgrounds to ensure the successful governance and leadership of communities and nations. We welcome students from all backgrounds, including communication, government, business, psychology, and more! Students should have a desire to serve the public and respect for the values of public service. Here is a link to the American Society for Public Administration’s Code of Ethics.
We serve students at all levels of their careers, from emerging to experienced professionals. Some of our students are right out of college and are training to jumpstart their career in public service; other students are already in their careers looking to advance their future prospects with a graduate degree in public administration.
About The MPA Program
We use an exciting and challenging curriculum to prepare students for careers in government and nonprofit organizations. Public service is about working together to address difficult problems and make our communities stronger. Our faculty are also researchers bringing the most recent trends in public administration to the classroom. We value high-quality teaching and learning through American Sign Language (ASL) and English in all classes. We also strongly believe in social equity, where we train graduates to serve their communities, including the deaf community.
MPA Mission Statement – The Master of Public Administration Program provides students with the professional, analytical, and affective skills to be leaders in government and nonprofit organizations. Our curriculum prepares students to serve and advocate with integrity, excellence, and professionalism for more equity and inclusion in the workplace and in society.
Teaching Philosophy – Our program embraces innovative bilingual teaching strategies to prepare students for the real world. Our curriculum emphasizes the theory and practices that public sector employees use in their daily lives. The work you do in and for class directly prepares you for your professional careers. Our class activities and assignments are places for you to practice what you will be tasked with in public service, preparing memos, presentations, workshops, budgets, and so forth. As a professional program, we practice what you will do every day in your professional and leadership roles.
Commitment to Students – The Public Administration program is a professional program training you for service and employment during the program and after graduation. We are proud of our diverse program. We celebrate our racial, ethnic, Deaf, Deafblind, Hard of Hearing, gender, sexual orientation, gender, disability, language, and political diversity. We are committed to ensuring that every student has a safe environment. We are also committed to providing a high-quality education that will prepare you to succeed in public service. [from the GU MPA handbook]
Looking for Professional Resources related to Public Administration?
What kind of public sector job can I get? Almost any job you want! An MPA degree prepares you to succeed in leading any type of public organization. Our graduates are prepared to succeed in the nonprofit sector, where our graduates have gone on to become leaders in Deaf and mainstream non-profit organizations, and some have even gone on to found their own non-profit organizations.
Many of our students work for the federal government in a wide variety of fields! And, of course, we have students engaged in successful careers at the state and local levels, in various roles from vocational rehabilitation to resource management.
Our graduates work in a variety of jobs as specialists, auditors, analysts, and managers at various state and federal agencies.
Some federal agencies our graduates have worked at:
Below is a list of courses we teach in the program. Our selections are updated on a regular basis!
Who are the faculty in the MPA program?
Dr. Geoffrey Whitebread
Program Director, Assistant Professor
Bilingual (ASL/English) teaching; statistics and qualitative analysis; intersectional identities in the public sphere; experiences and services for Deaf people/ people with disabilities
Dr. Hao Sun
Research methodology; data analysis/visualization; public service; public policy; public economics
Leadership; public policy; qualitative methods; advocacy, local governance; innovation and entrepreneurship in the public sector; outcome disparities of deaf people
Summary of Requirements
In addition to the requirements below, students must complete 4 elective courses.
Students should consult the MPA Program Handbook for information on specific course sequences. Courses are offered in your modality (online or on campus) every two years, so the specific sequence of courses will vary year by year.
This course is a basic introduction to public administration for professionals working in public sector and non-profit agencies. Topics include the role of bureaucracy in the political process, theories of public organizations, bureaucratic discretion and accountability, policy implementation, and the changing nature of public administration. This course is designed to use lectures, student presentations, group discussion, and field assignments. The ultimate goal of the course is to help students develop a solid understanding of public administration theory and practice.
This course examines the philosophical, political, and practical issues that surround the allocation of funds to publicly supported and not-for-profit agencies, institutions, and other entities. The course of study involves exploration of the structure of government in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels, along with various theories and strategies for raising and distributing public funds, especially within the educational sector. Case studies of public and private educational institutions provide capstones for student achievement.
This course will provide students with an introduction to strategic leadership, strategic analysis, strategic planning, organizational structure and culture, performance based management, and organizational development and change. The focus is on developing innovative and ethical change aspects capable of utilizing internal and external environmental data to lead organizational transformation in complex organizations.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introductory overview of the knowledge base in microeconomics and macroeconomics, with an emphasis on the concepts administrators will utilize in practice. At the completion of this course, the student will have first-hand practice critically analyzing common economic concepts such as supply and demand, prices, the price system, markets and market structure, utility, production and costs, marginal analysis, economic indicators, monetary and fiscal policy, international trade and data, opportunity costs and other pedagogies. Critical thinking skills will be gained through understanding of the underlying theoretical basis for these concepts, how they are interrelated with each other and with the overall economy, and how they are applied in policy decisions is also introduced in this course. In addition, students will, through examples based on business and government policies, obtain an introductory understanding of how these concepts are applied in everyday situations, providing additional critical thinking, communication and analytical skills.
This course focuses on core principles of quality management in public and non-profit agencies; for example, customer focus, continuous improvement, employee involvement, and process improvement. Students analyze case studies and design a field project to gain first-hand knowledge of how to implement quality management principles. Students will also learn about the Baldrige National Quality Award program.
Students are introduced to principles of organization theory and design. They examine topics such as organization design; the external environment of organizations; the impact of organizational goals on organizational effectiveness; organizational technology; organizational bureaucracy; classic organizational structures; the impact of structure on innovation, change, information, and control, decision-making in organizations; power and politics; integrating all parts of an organization; and organizational learning and renewal.
MPA 838 or Permission of the Instructor.
Ethics is one of the four foundational pillars of public administration. Given the important role of ethics in public management, this required class is critical for your development as future public servants. Using a seminar format, this course focuses on practical and applied learning about ethical decision-making tools that you can use in the real world. Relying on texts, cases, and simulations, this challenging class will cultivate personal and professional growth to help you face complex public sector situations.
This course is taken in the final semester of the MPA program. Students reflect on their experiences in the program and build a portfolio that demonstrates their best work. Students will complete various assignments to strengthen their portfolios for the types of jobs to which students are currently applying. At the end of the course, students will have a portfolio of their best work that to show to prospective employers.
This course will help students review the skills needed to effectively and empathically navigate communication in the public sector. Using applied learning activities and real-world case studies, this course will highlight the importance for informed communication strategies in the public sector. Topics explored will include the fundamentals of writing as a professional, accountability for intent and impact of communication, and cultivating strong intrapersonal communication as a professional.
Women have an enduring, though often unacknowledged, legacy in public administration. This course will explore the intellectual history and persistent challenges of women in the field and practice of public administration. This class is a seminar class that focuses on student-driven learning and application about the role of women in public administration. Relying on texts, cases, and simulations, this class will enhance personal and professional knowledge of future public servants about the important role of women in public administration.
Domain 1 - Leadership and Management: Students will demonstrate the ability to lead and manage in public governance;
Domain 2 - Public Policy Process: Students will demonstrate the ability to participate in and contribute to the policy process;
Domain 3 - Critical Thinking and Decision-Making: Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
Domain 4 - Public Service Advocacy: Students will demonstrate the ability to articulate and apply a public service perspective; and,
Completed application form. See Application Instructions to learn how. A non-refundable application fee of $75. A minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a four-point scale) in all previous undergraduate and graduate study. (Occasionally, applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be admitted conditionally upon...
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