Students in the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Public and Nonprofit Management Program can choose from several specialization tracks including:

•    Local Government Management
•    Nonprofit Management
•    Policy Analysis
•    Customized track with MPA director’s approval

The Master of Public Affairs (MPA) at UTD is an NASPAA-accredited degree offering in the Public and Nonprofit Management Program. Through the program, students can also earn graduate certificates in nonprofit and local government management. GPN reached out to Paul Battaglio, MPA director and associate professor of public affairs (photo at right). Professor Battaglio’s views follow.

GPN: Can your school's MPA degree offer new opportunities to the GPN audience?

Paul Battaglio: While the MPA is seen as the degree of choice for public sector employment, our mission emphasis on public service prepares our students for careers in the private and nonprofit sectors as well. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to education and equips students with management skills, policy analysis competencies, and an understanding of the core values that are readily applicable to positions in all three sectors. Indeed, many of our graduates have left the MPA for careers not only in the public sector, but also positions as social entrepreneurs in for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

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

PB: It is never a bad time to earn an MPA. Even when economic downturns occur, many of our students are able to pursue internships until funding sources become available for full-time employment. Program graduates typically find employment in city, county, state and federal governments, nonprofit organizations, think tanks and academia. As a member of NASPAA, the program regularly reviews and updates its curricula to provide students with the most relevant skills and knowledge of professional standards for public administrators. This keeps our students competitive.

GPN: Do you have any advice for our readers on choosing an MPA program?

PB: For many of our students who are in-service professionals, choosing a program is about fitting one’s busy schedule. This is why most UTD MPA courses are offered in the evening to accommodate our students. We also offer a number of online courses to complement the degree program. The goal is to provide our students with the flexibility to achieve their public service goals.

GPN: What is distinctive about your school’s MPA offering?

PB: The program mission of advancing public service is accomplished through three sets of activities aimed at preparing students to serve as capable and ethical stewards of the common good. It imparts essential knowledge, competencies and perspectives to a diverse array of future and current professionals in government and nonprofit organizations. It supports the wider community though in-service professional and leadership training, and through policy and management analysis services. And it produces new knowledge through practice-centered research.

In the video, see the many changes underway at the UTD campus.

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