Graduate Academic Learning Compacts

Year: 2007-2008
College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Polit Science & Public Admin
Major: Public Administration

Mission Statement:

The mission of the UNF MPA program is to provide students a broad understanding of the theory and practice of public administration, and to contribute to the betterment of the public and not-for-profit service community in the state, particularly in the northeast Florida region. These general goals are obtained commensurate with the University of North Florida's commitment to excellence, focus, relevance, and accountability in all of its academic programs. The MPA program serves to open a path to graduate education to a wide variety of students, particularly nontraditional students, who seek an opportunity to enhance their professional qualifications and career prospects in the public and nonprofit sectors. The ultimate purpose of the MPA program is to enhance the capabilities of potential and current administrative, managerial and political leaders of the region to better serve their organizations and the public in the competitive environment of the 21st century. The program curriculum produces graduates who have significantly enhanced professional capabilities suitable for working effectively within increasingly diverse public and not for profit organizations. The program provides students with the ability to integrate topical knowledge with management skills that enhance their lifetime contributions to their workplaces and the community. The program's objective is to provide students with management skills that, when combined with topical knowledge of policy issues, supports sound and innovative decision making. In short, our intent is to "add value" to our students--making them more effective as employees and citizens and/or enlarging their capabilities for leadership within their respective organizations and communities. These objectives are congruent with the criteria of the University Mission as follows: Excellence-the MPA program will adhere to national norms in the provision of common curriculum components, and will strive to concentrate faculty and programmatic resources in a small number of high-quality specializations within the program; Focus-the MPA program will emphasize course development and content that reflects the professional strengths of program faculty, and that reflects an orientation toward local issues, problems, and policies; Relevance-the MPA program emphasizes recruitment of local and regional students, including many who are already involved in public or not-for-profit work in our surrounding communities; Accountability-the MPA program is accountable to a national accrediting body, as well as university internal review processes.
Student Learning Outcomes:


Under Section 1 of the MPA Program's Graduate Learning Outcomes, student achievement is assessed as follows: Students should show evidence of the acquisition of managerial and analytical skills covered in the core courses: a. Quantitative and qualitative analysis.


Under Section 3 of the MPA Program's Graduate Learning Outcomes, student achievement is assessed as follows: 3a) Students show evidence of effective written and oral expression of the nature and results of the work they have done


Under Section 3 of the MPA Program's Graduate Learning Outcomes, student achievement is assessed as follows: 3b) Students show evidence that they can successfully manage priorities and resources in the organization of their work.

Curriculum Map:

Assessment Approaches:

Assessment of graduate learning for AY 2007-2008 was based on a variety of student requirements in PAD 6066, Capstone Seminar. The capstone course must be successfully completed by all MPA students in order to earn their degrees. The content of PAD 6066 was changed substantially from last academic year partially in response to the outcomes reported in last year's assessment of our graduate learning outcomes (GLOs). Students in the capstone course were required to take three comprehensive exams in designated subject areas, complete a paper demonstrating the ability to format and analyze quantitative data (provided by the instructor), and participate in an oral examination conducted by a committee of faculty members. These requirements were evaluated by several faculty members, who assessed the quality of essays, graded the data-based papers, and conducted the oral exams. These activities were grouped under rubrics for evaluation by faculty members of the evidence of effectiveness of students in achieving acceptable levels of performance in meeting the graduate learning objectives. These rubrics assessed a judgment of student work in the evaluated areas as Significantly Exceeds, Achieves, or Does Not Achieve expected performance in areas covered by the GLOs. In order to actually conduct the assessment, a sample was taken of each set of assignments. Quantitative data are, therefore, based on samples of student work, not on the number of students submitting work. In AY 2007-2008, students were also be asked to fill out a self-evaluation, rating their own assessment of learning in the program, and their experience with the program in a number of mission-related activities. These responses serve as indirect measurements of student learning outcomes. Students who asked to fill out the indirect assessment immediately after they had completed their oral examination.