On Campus with Washington State University Vancouver Master of Public Affairs

On Campus returns with a trip across the Columbia River to the Washington State Vancouver (WSUV) Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program. The University is relatively new (established in 1989) but that hasn’t prevented it from becoming part of pop culture through the Fifty Shades of Grey series. More importantly, the WSUV MPA program is providing another opportunity for those interested in pursuing a graduate degree in public affairs. Andrew Hallberg, Dana Baker Jayme L. Shoun, Morgan Parker are a few WSUV MPA faculty and students who have joined ELGL.

Background Check

WSU Vancouver offers a master’s degree in Public Affairs (MPA). This degree program is offered exclusively on the WSU Vancouver campus, and is designed for the education of individuals like yourself who are interested in administrative and leadership positions in the public sector.

The MPA seeks to develop the skills of present and future public administrators and policy analysts in the region to provide them with the tools to meet the challenges of government. In an age when governmental philosophies are continually being redefined, the MPA program is designed to promote professionalism, leadership, inventiveness, and a commitment to public service for government employees in the area of public administrationapplied policy studies and health policy administration.

The program is designed to accommodate the needs of working students. Class size is usually small, ranging from 5-20 students. Classes include lectures, small group discussions and individual and group presentations.

Ten Questions with Dr. Dana L. Baker

Dana Lee Baker

Associate Professor and Director of Program of Public Affairs

Email: bakerdl@vancouver.wsu.edu

Get Connected with WSUV MPA: Website, Facebook

10 Questions with Dr. Baker

Three facts we need to know about the program:

Our program offers an intersection between rigorous academic research and practical application.

Small class sizes (5-20 students) offered during the evenings

Faculty with a broad spectrum of research expertise

Examples of alumni working in local government (name and position).

Editor’s Note: Program is working on this information and ELGL will post it as soon as we receive it. 

Biggest challenge for those entering the program.

Time management: Our students are passionate about the program and topics. They often times have difficulty with time management when trying to take on too much. We are also a commuter campus and many of our students hold full or part time employment and classes start at 5:45 PM.

Give our readers three tips on finding the right graduate school.

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Communicate with the faculty, staff and students/alumni at the programs of interest. Ask questions; meet faculty, other students and alumni.

Take your time. Give rational thought to how program expectations will benefit you and you benefit from program.

Focus on the quality of the education you will receive, not just how quickly you can graduate.

What would alumni describe as the most difficult part of the program?

The thesis!

Related link: Graduate degree requirements

Do you recommend prospective students gain a couple of years of work experience before going to graduate school?

Both paths are fine! WSU-Vancouver has a variety of in-service and pre-service students. Our program is designed to accommodate all our students offering both online classes and night classes in the program. We understand that each student experience is different. We do require students are pre-service to complete an internship during their time in our program. We believe it is important to attain experience both in the classroom and through practical application. Our in-service students and pre-service students work together in the program offering rich knowledge and support that is unique to our program.

ELGL hosts monthly forums, previous speakers include Gov. Gregoire, Oregon Treasure Ted Wheeler, and Bob Moore, and Bob’s Red Mill. Provide us a few recommendations, regardless of location, on who we should invite to speak at future forums.

Jim Hanna would be great. He is the Director of Environmental Affairs for Starbucks Coffee. He has worked in the public and private sector. His work in the private sector with Starbucks deals very much with the public, public affairs, governmental agencies and helping create policy that is the best for the environment while promoting growth and development within Starbucks. We hosted Jim on the Washington State University Vancouver campus just this Fall and he is a phenomenal speaker.

Related link: Starbucks sustainability lead urges others to make the business case

Name two skills that entering students are most often lacking.

  • Knowledge of basic statistics.
  • Experience with framing  and designing research projects.

In your opinion, what level of government is the most difficult to find employment in?

Most would assume at the federal level, but actually the local level can be quite challenging.  Municipal governments can be quite small but can often have the most impact on a community.

Favorite Vancouver restaurant:

Lapellah : Fantastic food, great atmosphere and nice prices.

2520 Columbia House Blvd., Suite 108, Vancouver, WA, 98661

General Information

Full-time or part-time program:  Full-time and part-time options for students.

Number of students enrolled each year: Approximately 20 (8 or so new each year)

Online classes offered: Three

Contact person for prospective students: Annette Bradstreet, 360 546-9640 or Annette.bradstreet@vancouver.wsu.edu.

Supplemental Reading

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