GPN reached out to Arizona State University’s (ASU) Stuart Bretschneider to find out about his school’s master’s in public administration (MPA) degree program. Bretschneider serves as director of both ASU’s MPA and Master of Public Policy (MPP) program.

The MPA program at Arizona State University has successfully met the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Standards for Professional Master’s Degree Programs in Public Affairs, Policy and Administration.

Stuart Bretschneider’s views are below.

GPN: Can your school’s MPA program offer new opportunities to government administrators and managers?

Stuart Bretschneider: Our MPA program provides a strong core of courses that can enhance practice in a wide array of areas.  By refreshing practicing professionals’ existing knowledge and skills while also upgrading them, a number of new opportunities become available.  First our MPA graduates can develop deeper insights into program operations, build better interventions for improving the performance of existing systems and open the door to more innovative ideas.  This can also lead to career advancement.

Within the MPA program, course work on budgeting, strategic planning, leadership and management are just a few of the areas our program focuses on.  We also provide course work that can help practitioners be high quality consumers of analytic reports that cover policy analysis and program evaluations.  We also offer a Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree for students interested in more sophisticated program assessment.  This degree builds upon many of the courses in our MPA program but provided more specialization in analysis to prepare individuals to actually design high quality policy analysis and program evaluations.

We are also launching an exciting new Executive MPA degree designed for the more seasoned practitioner.  This degree program blends three weekend intensive sessions – one in Washington, DC and two in Phoenix – with online courses.  The Executive MPA will take advantage of collaboration with the McCain Institute in Washington, DC, the Thunderbird School of Management and the WP Carey School of Business as well as leading faculty from our top-ranked School of Public Affairs.  Regardless of whether your readers come to public services and novices or experienced managers or whether there are more interested in management and leadership on the one hand or program evaluation and analysis on the other, we have programs that can open doors for them.

GPN: Is 2017 a great time for government administrators to earn an MPA?

SB: The world needs effective managers and analysts in government today more than ever before.  We face many ‘wicked’ problems of the sort that can only be dealt with through public and collective action - problems like poverty, pollution and climate change, and economic stagnation of the middle class.  Being prepared with strong skills in management but also awareness of how public policy is made will only become more important over time as the set of problems we and the world face become more complex and interconnected.