ECSU awaits approval of public administration degrees

Kesha Williams
August 22, 2011

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Administrators at Elizabeth City State University anticipate fall 2012 will as the launched date for the new bachelor's and master's degree programs in public administration.

Currently, they await approval from the UNC Board of Governors on the proposed bachelor's and master's degree programs. Public Administration refers to the art, science, teaching and practice of managing government agencies, or cooperative group efforts within the public setting, to get a job done. The public administration degree has become common in the last decade. Currently, 10 universities within the UNC system offer a similar degree program. ECSU administrators want to bring a 42 credit-hour Master of Public Administration degree program and a 124 credit-hour bachelor's degree to the northeastern corner of the state. Graduates from the program could work in government agencies or with nonprofit agencies. The ECSU School of Arts and Humanities would award the undergraduate and the master's degrees.

Dr. Paula Viltz, director of graduate education at ECSU, says the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook (2011-2012) is one of many sources she consulted when considering the need for public administration degrees. Those sources assured her these degrees will fit an increasing demand from future employers. She was assured government agencies, private industry, healthcare agencies, real estate companies, and other institutions need personnel with good organizational management and human resource skill training.

"We are committed to selecting graduate degree programs that prepare our students which enable them to contribute to the economic base of northeastern North Carolina and the state," Viltz, said.  "An online survey conducted with ECSU faculty, administrators and staff also indicated a large number of employees are interested in the MPA degree to further their career goals."

Local, state and federal governments rely upon graduates from public administration programs to deliver a host of public services. Employers rely upon public administrators to complete a host of tasks related to:

Design:           develop new ideas and policies 
Implement:   carry out or execute a strategic plan
Manage:        using money, materials, manpower, and programs to move ideas from the development stage to the end stage where it is a reality
Evaluate:       determine if a program or task is achieving its objective

Dr. Murel Jones, dean of the ECSU School of Arts and Humanities, said the MPA degree should increase the scope of jobs applicants can apply for.

"When our students graduate with a Masters of Public Administration, they will be prepared for assorted jobs in the public sector. We are confident our faculty and staff will make this degree program a rewarding one for the students and we look forward to adding it to the list of degrees offered at ECSU."

If approved, the total of undergraduate degrees offered at ECSU would rise to 37 and the number of graduate degrees would rise to five.