As part of GPN's series on Master's of Public Administration (MPA) programs and their value to government administrators, we reached out to Michelle Pautz, director of the Master of Public Administration offering at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, the Dayton MPA program consists of 39 semester hours with 27 hours of core courses. Students without current employment in the public or nonprofit sectors are encouraged to participate in an internship program, while those students currently working in relevant jobs often engage in a public service project to expand their career options. Below are the views of Michelle Pautz.

GPN: What is the value of an MPA degree?

Michelle Pautz: A Masters in Public Administration from the University of Dayton enables graduates to achieve the mission of the university to learn, lead, and serve. This terminal, professional degree gives our students the tools they need for success in the public sector, whether that is in a government agency or nonprofit organization. Many of our alumni demonstrate that leadership serving their communities through their work and commitment to the public and nonprofit sectors.

GPN: Can your school's MPA degree offer new opportunities to prospective students?

MP: The University of Dayton’s MPA program provides students meaningful opportunities to learn about public administration both in the community and in the classroom. Our faculty are active scholars in public administration and policy, affording students an invaluable combination of academic theory with real-world connections. Our internship coordinator helps students secure internships and experiential opportunities in government and nonprofit organizations from Dayton to Washington, D.C. The department also offers a study-abroad program and the Ohio Statehouse Civic Scholars internship program to enrich the academic experience. The university's environment offers students the benefits of a research university, and at the same time, maintains a strong, student-centered commitment to teaching.

GPN: Is 2015-16 a great time to earn an MPA for government administrators?

MP: Government agencies and nonprofit organizations at all levels are bouncing back from the economic downturn and lifting hiring freezes. It's a great time to complete an MPA to demonstrate to potential employers that you are on the cutting edge of public administration theory and practice.

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

MP: Prospective students should research MPA programs carefully and find a program that meets their needs. For instance, if someone is interested in working in local government, that person should find a program that has students and faculty who are heavily engaged in the local community in order to develop the student's professional network. Additionally, students should be sure to talk with faculty members directly as they consider programs — that's the best way to make sure the program is a good fit for you.

GPN: Thank you, Michelle Pautz, for your views.

In the video, the University of Dayton celebrates the arts. The video features student performances in music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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