Students in the online Maxwell School’s Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program at Syracuse University learn concepts from a broad swath of the social sciences, says Tina Nabatchi. She is Associate Professor, Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

The program offers the flexibility of online learning combined with the personal interactions of a traditional on-campus experience. The program enables students to build real connections as they work together to address public service challenges, Nabatchi (photo below on the right) adds. The 30-credit EMPA can be completed in 15 months. Professor Nabatchi offers her views on the Syracuse EMPA degree program below.

GPN: Is 2017 a good time to start the ExecutiveMPA@Syracuse program?

Tina Nabatchi: Now is an excellent time for busy professionals who share Maxwell’s passion for making the world a better place to pursue an advanced degree. It’s also the right time for the Maxwell School to advance its online offerings and widen availability of its professional degrees to a broader and more diverse student body.

As the demand for flexible professional programs continues to grow, so does the technical capability to deliver a quality online educational experience. Mid-career professionals no longer have to choose between continuing their job and pursuing a graduate education at a top-ranked institution. Nor do they have to relocate to become a part of the Maxwell community of public service-minded professionals.

We took our time developing the online Executive Master of Public Administration program, because it had to be the right program. It had to live up to Maxwell’s reputation for excellence. It had to deliver a top-notch education and be created and led by the same faculty who teach on campus. It not only had to deliver Maxwell quality curriculum online, but also had to create an engaging classroom experience using interactive tools. The school has partnered Maxwell faculty with 2U’s education technology on the EMPA offering. The school works with 2U’s online production and delivery professionals to ensure a positive learning experience for students.

Demand for alumni of Maxwell’s public administration graduate degree programs remains high, with employment rates for MPA graduates at 94 percent (EMPA graduates are typically already employed.).

What sets the program apart from other EMPA offerings?

TN: At least four important characteristics distinguish Maxwell’s public administration and professional degree programs.

First is the school’s faculty, who are dedicated to both research and teaching. In addition to earning international and national acclaim—seven Guggenheim Fellows, five American Council of Learned Societies Fellows, 15 Fulbright Research Fellows, 11 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows, one MacArthur Fellow, and one World Food Prize Laureate—our faculty regularly earn Syracuse University’s top honors for teaching and scholarship.

Second is the alumni network, which has more than 30,000 individuals dedicated to service, leadership and citizenship. Whether they work in the public, private, or non-profit sector, and whether they work in the United States or abroad, Maxwell alumni are loyal to each other, to the school, and to the pursuit of the common good.

Third is Maxwell’s breadth and depth in the core competencies of the field. Rather than having a stronghold in a single area of public administration, our combined faculty have strengths in leadership and management, budgeting and finance and policy implementation and analysis. The expansive expertise of our faculty means that students in the ExecutiveMPA@Maxwell program will cultivate hard and soft skills necessary for three areas of mastery: leading and managing organizations with diverse stakeholders; formulating, implementing, and evaluating policy; and applying rigorous and evidence-based analysis to inform decision-making. These areas and their associated skills are not only applicable to, but also necessary for working in all kind of organizations across the sectors that are oriented toward serving the public good.

Fourth is Maxwell’s interdisciplinary approach, which centers on applying concepts from across the social sciences to address today’s most challenging issues. From economics, political science, and history to geography, anthropology, and sociology, the spectrum of knowledge of who we are, how we got here, and the forces that shape our world are brought to bear in our EMPA degree program. It’s gratifying that through the ExecutiveMPA@Maxwell program, we are now able to bring Maxwell’s distinctive graduate education in public affairs to public service professionals around the world.

In the video, students at the Maxwell School discuss academic life in several graduate programs.


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