Okay. Good evening. I want to welcome
you all in coming to the open house for the MPA program at Cal State Northridge.
My name is Ravi Roy and I’m the Academic Director of the program and
I’m also the Associate Director of Graduate and Professional Education
which the MPA is housed. Thank you for coming out this evening. I
know you all have busy schedules, but we really would like an oppurtunity, we
really thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain the many benefits
of our particular master’s program. The Master of Public Administration is a
degree that was originally designed for the public sector professional.
To provide kind of basic skill sets and advance skill sets as well, for those kinds
of tasks and challenges that were required in the professional public sector
environment regarding management and leadership.
It’s evolved into something even beyond that now — to create, value added public
sector professional that provide a diverse skill set for problem solving and higher
order thinking. So includes the basic kind of nuts and
bolts of how to be a public sector manager, but the whole idea beyond this
is higher order thinking to create advance problem solvers in an increasingly
complex global economy. I’ve hear it said many times, and as I’ve
traveled the world I see that it’s true, in the global economy context a
baccalaureate degree is a valued thing to have and people should be proud to have
it. But increasingly, in order to be
competitive in this ever changing global economy, higher graduate degrees are
definitely becoming more and more the order of the day.
So you have many choices available to you — you as the savvy consumer of a
graduate degree. A number of choices out there and so what I’d like to do is
to speak to you about the advantages of our particular Master of Public
Administration degree. First of all, I would like to give you a few
interesting facts about the program that you may not be aware of.
First of all, we’re not new to this game. We’ve had a Master of Public
Administration running from Cal State University Northridge for over 25 years
going back to the 1980s. In fact, the early 1980s.
And so we have many, many graduates — I think over 2,000 since that time that are
placed within high positions within the county, within local agencies and indeed
I can say that the growth of our program is largely due to the alumni who go back
into their agencies and when they manage and unit or an office they then
talk of our program and then send their employees to us ’cause they know that
the skills we teach in the classroom are directly applicable to what they are
required to do in the field. And so, this is really the strongest piece
of our uh… sort of… the greatest testimony I would say to our program
and in what it imparts. Beyond that, I would also mention that
we are the — by student numbers at the current time — we are the third largest
MPA in the nation. There are only two other universities that offer MPAs that
are larger than ours — Harvard University and also Columbia University. We are the
largest MPA program west of the Mississippi.
But those are just nice figures to boast about. What we are really proud of is the
academic rigor and the synthesis that exists between our program that
emphasizes jointly the importance of theory and abstract critical thinking
mixed with practical approach — practical case studies.
And so, it tends to be the case that master level programs tend to specialize
in one or the other. It has always been at the backbone in the long tradition of this
MPA program to sort of emphasize the joint skills of both abstract kind of
critical thinking, theoretical thinking and its direct applicability in the real world.
And so that’s backed up by our diverse faculty. We have faculty that are well
recognized, well published — heavy hitters in the academic sphere of public
administration/public policy. We also have instructor that are directly in some
of the highest levels in government as well. Particularly, in local government
and sometimes even beyond that. For example, we had former Deputy
Mayor of the City of Los Angeles offer a course for us last year. We have people
who were former CEOs and county agencies offer courses with us routinely.
So we really draw on the rich experience of our core academic faculty, but we also
are not shy at all about grabbing some of the best and the brightest within the
professional field an we bring them into the classroom.
And that’s just part of it because we really emphasize the problem solving
method and the seminar approach in our teaching and learning experience.
The real value of our program and the reason why the level of discourse and
training is so high is because of students like yourselves.
We really go and seek out diversity of experience; commitment of our students
who tend to be self-starters when they enter a program like ours because our
expectations are high — our support is equally high though.
We look for students who have a professional rich, professional
background of experience at least two years, most of our students have more
than that. It doesn’t matter in what area. We know that our students come from all
walks of life — have had a variety of experiences and we design our projects
and our assignments and our assessments in ways that actually
encourage the discourse to bring those things out.
And so our discussions get very interesting in seminar formats. I’m not
only Associate Director of the GPE but I’m also a teacher in that program. We
also have another instructor here as well that will talk about that – his experience
as well. But the whole idea here that I want to
emphasize is unique is first of all, the time that we’ve been around; the faculty
that we are able to draw on; the flexibility of being able to draw on that faculty; the
depth of experience; and also the fact that we emphasize really a
student-centric approach to our teaching and learning experience in the
classroom. Beyond that we really are conscious
about who you are as the students. We have designed not only a curriculum
that will make you and effective public manager or indeed and private manager.
Indeed I was reading a statistic the other day it said, “of those people with
master’s degrees in private business almost 20 percent of them had MPAs.
Okay. So don’t think because you have an MPA that you are locked in to a
particular sector, you can move with fluidity based on the skill sets we teach
easily between private sector and public sector if you choose to do so.
And indeed you’ll find the level of discussion in our classrooms will be
equally applicable to both. So when we design and experience for
you, that really ask you to rely on your experiences as a strength in your
academic preparation. We really want to uh… emphasize that,
that is the case. Also, our courses and when they are
offered are designed with you in mind. The schedule of the classes themselves
take into account that many of our learners are interested in really kind of
going through a fast-paced program without sacrificing academic rigor. They
want the traditional experience face-to-face to come on to campus here
and that’s what that is designed for. Yet, they are also not the traditional
student that can just come here at 8 o’clock in the morning and take classes
like some of the more traditional students. So it’s this nice balance
between a traditional university experience of coming on campus
face-to-face. Okay, coming and being a student; have
access to the library; face-to-face, but at times that are offered in a nontraditional
way so basically from 6 to 9:45 p.m. and or on weekends.
And also we offer the course offerings in such a way that is accommodating for
both the student who really wants to take the program in a fast-paced mode, or
indeed maybe they are juggling the various aspects of life — family, the
challenges of family and work and also school so they might want to take a little
bit longer and so they take the courses a little bit more spread out as long as they
complete the program within seven years because that what the courses are good
for — that is possible for them. So we have a program that is tailored to
you the working adult. And as I said before, it’s the idea of
providing convenience without sacrificing rigor, that one of the key
things about our program.