Wayland adding Master of Public Administration degree

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University’s Division of Social Sciences added a graduate degree to its lineup last summer and enrollment grew by 50. This summer, it hopes to do the same with the addition of another graduate degree, the Master of Public Administration.

The degree is being directed by Dr. Dick DeLung, professor of sociology and justice administration at Wayland. In his eyes, the degree can be valuable for workers in a variety of fields.

“Anyone who works for a city, county, state or federal entity can use an MPA. It’s generally considered a stepping stone for promotions or hiring in those areas,” DeLung said, adding that law enforcement and government employees seeking advancement benefit from having the degree.

The 37-hour program will begin in the fall, with two of the required courses leading the way. According to DeLung, the degree will blend both online classes and face-to-face classes on the Plainview campus. Those classes held at the Wayland campus will be primarily Saturday and evening offerings, designed to make it easier for working adults to pursue the MPA.

“The classes will follow the same 11-week, quarterly format as our Virtual Campus,” DeLung noted, adding that his “live” classes will actually be six weeks long since they will meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Other “live” classes will be offered at nights.

The degree blends some business courses that will be taught in that division, providing students with varied exposure and some management and human resource background.

Admission to the MPA degree program requires students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, completion of the admission application and completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). There are no leveling courses and students may come into the program with any bachelor’s degree, regardless of the undergraduate major.

Participants may choose from two tracks for the MPA: justice administration, for those wanting to focus on the law enforcement field; and government administration, for those interested in city or state government fields or higher. Either track culminates in an internship in the chosen area and a research paper, then a one-hour practicum and seminar to prepare for the comprehensive exit exam.

The degree requires 19 semester hours of core courses, including research methods, survey of public administration, public policy analysis, public financial management and budgeting, legal environment, ethics and the final seminar. The remaining 18 hours is logged in required courses in the justice administration or government administration emphases.

The justice administration track covers international legal systems, a comparison of criminal and civil law, alternative dispute resolution, organizational theory or organizational development and behavior, law enforcement administration, and a choice of either special topics or a practicum in justice administration. The government administration track covers human resource management, cultural diversity, contract negotiation or administrative law, current issues in the public sector, organizational theory or organizational development and behavior, and either special topics or a practicum in government administration.

The course rotation is designed to allow a student to complete the degree in two years, with the final classes taken in Summer 2008.

DeLung has high hopes for the program, given the requests he often hears and the interest already shown before the opening term. He said the program is a common one at many master’s level universities and is needed throughout the region.

For more information on the MPA degree, contact DeLung at 291-1173.