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In today’s rapidly evolving and interconnected world, much is required of our public administrators. They must be able to respond strategically and nimbly to the needs of their communities, work effectively with other individuals and groups, navigate complex ethical and legal issues, and operate within increasingly limited budgets.
Norwich University’s Master of Public Administration program helps working professionals from a wide range of public service organizations - from law enforcement agencies to city departments to non profits - gain the knowledge and skills needed to not only help advance their careers, but also make a greater difference in the communities they serve. Our online Master of Public Administration curriculum provides students with a broad foundation in areas such as organizational leadership and change, strategic planning, ethics, and financial management as well as the opportunity to focus their studies on one of the following six concentrations: public works administration, criminal justice, continuity of governmental operations, leadership, organizational leadership, and public organization fiscal management.
During their final seminar, students develop a capstone project that outlines a practical or theoretical solution to an existing program, policy, or operation. Students can use their capstone project to design and implement a solution to an administrative issue within their current workplace or to explore in-depth an area relevant to their desired career path. As an accompaniment to their capstone projects, students also write a paper suitable for submission to a professional journal.
A degree from Norwich’s online Master of Public Administration program can help you advance within your current organization or serve as the foundation for a variety of public service careers in areas such as city and federal management, law enforcement, and non profit management. Examples of positions held by our alumni include supervisory accountant for US Citizenship Immigration Services, white-collar crime supervisor for the FBI, city public works manager, executive officer in the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion, and manager of global sponsorship services at Save the Children U.S. Learn more »
With so much to learn and do, it’s easy to lose track of how to get started. Don’t worry: Norwich works hard to make it easy for you. We can guide you through the application process, give you tips on how to get the most out of your Norwich experience, and assist you in getting the required materials for the Master of Public Administration program.
Students in Norwich’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program first complete three core courses to gain a foundational understanding of public administration. Following completion of the core courses, they may enroll in either two six-credit elective courses or a concentration of two specialized courses of study for a total of 12 credits. Following completion of the specialized courses, students must enroll in a final course of capstone studies, in which they produce a project related to their professional interests and an article suitable for publication in a professional journal. The program culminates in a one-week residency and a graduation ceremony at Norwich University in June.
More information about program requirements is available in our course catalog.
This course introduces students to public administration in the United States. The course focuses on governance, inter-governmental relationships, organizational theory, policies, and strategic planning as affected by fiscal constraints, public needs, social change, and politics. Students are introduced to the role of leadership, the necessity for professional ethics and accountability, and personal competence. Students also begin the program-long requirement of developing their skills of critical analysis, research, integration of information, and effective writing.
This course reviews major research method designs and their application to policy development and evaluation. Students are also exposed to statistical techniques commonly found in public administration and social science research from the perspective of managerial control and application of research design/program evaluation. Particular focus is placed on quality assurance and best-evidence management.
This course explores three areas of public administration: the legal environment of the public organization, human resources, and organizational leadership. The first section of the course focuses on creating agency authority, public participation, civil liability, employment law, and due process. The second section focuses on selecting and retaining quality employees and managers, evaluations, coaching, and training. The third section focuses on strategic leadership, organizational analysis and culture, managing conflict, and organizational vision and change.
Strategic communication is a vital skill in today’s demanding, fast-paced, virtual, or global workplace. In this course, students will identify a personal leadership style, tendencies and preferences as a professional, and how one assimilates and applies information. Experiential learning is a large component of the course, and students will practice their skills on the job and report their experiences in a Leadership Development Portfolio (LDP).
This course recognizes the fundamental importance of a leader believing in and utilizing an ethical strategy. Students will examine how principled decision making promotes triple-bottom-line thinking and promotes awareness of the importance of ethical practices to promoting a lasting, honored, and socially responsible brand. Case studies will be reviewed to contrast the paths and results of several organizations whose leaders practiced a strategy that was not grounded in ethical principles.
Human Capital Management (HCM) and Succession Planning in a Face-to-Face and Virtual World
This seminar examines the forward-thinking concepts of coaching, mentoring, and succession planning in promoting a learning organization that is prepared for the retiring baby-boomers, emerging Gen-Xers, Nexters, and others who co-exist in the workplace. Using the new human resources model, Human Capital Management (HCM), you will explore ways in which learning becomes a strategic function formalized via a corporate, university, or learning management system. You will learn the importance of the organization’s embracing of the Internet or intranet facilitation of learning in order to foster knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing among employees – particularly as more functions move overseas in the expanding global marketplace. This seminar also addresses ways leaders can recognize the key components of the knowledge-based economy within their organization.
This course focuses on political, technological, and operational issues in the areas of public utilities, water resources, waste management, transportation, facilities and structures, and parks and grounds. Topics include historical development, technological advances, best practices for leadership and management, public works policy, communication challenges, public affairs, environmental enforcement, and emergency management.
This course focuses on local, state, regional, and national master public works planning, contract administration, and project management. It addresses multiyear financing of public works projects, environmental impact, and other cost-benefit analyses, decision making-modeling, multijurisdictional services, and public-private joint ventures.
This course introduces the elements necessary to develop a continuity of operations plan for a governmental agency. Topics include organizational analysis, risk and threat analysis, mitigation and control strategy development, and implementing the organizational structure needed to sustain a quality program over time.
This course instructs students in responding to incidents and emergencies that affect governmental agencies. Topics include developing a response plan, emergency operations centers, emergency communications, and working with the first responder community. Students will also learn best practices for developing off-site backups and work areas and the placement of personnel and equipment for continuing operations during an emergency.
This course examines law enforcement best practices, police leadership, workforce development, accountability, internal affairs, productivity, and the management of special units. Students will also study the role of community policy, community policing, restorative justice programs, crime prevention, and the role of technology, integrated justice systems, and information system security.
This course examines administration in the corrections environment. Topics include personnel management, budgeting and public finance, workforce development, staffing, special units, correctional policy development, and planning. The roles of technology and integrated justice systems are examined, as well as information system security.
This course explores public administration within the scope of critical incidents and crisis management. Topics include domestic terrorism and counterterrorism, the roles of the National Incident Management System and the National Response Framework, best practices for first responders, and constitutional issues related to the execution of first responder duties. Students will also study the use of specially trained and equipped units such as SWAT teams, and the roles of community policing and community partnerships in responding to crises, whether manmade or natural.
This course explores the legal and regulatory foundation of financial reporting and accountability for public organizations. Topics include development of transactions, enactment of appropriations, and incurrence of obligations or encumbrances. Other topics include financial reporting, analysis of governmental financial performance, costing of government services, and auditing governmental organizations. Students will be provided with the current study guides published by the Association of Government Accountants' Certified Government Financial Manager, designed specifically to prepare professionals and students for the CGFM certification examination.
This course introduces students to four major areas of financial concern: preparation of budgets, creating management strategies for the organization based on the principles of strategic financial management, obtaining financial resources by issuing bonds and levying taxes, and managing cash and employee retirement funds. Students will also examine contemporary perspectives on professional ethics and ethical behavior of leaders in the public sector, particularly in regard to their fiduciary responsibility in investing and managing public funds.
This course focuses on differentiating the conceptual and theoretical aspects and models of leadership and leadership studies to enable students to apply leadership skills and principles in their workplace. The fundamentals of leadership are taught within the context of present and past leaders, with an emphasis on practicing these fundamentals in an ethical manner.
This course provides information about evaluating emotional intelligence, or EQ. Students are given the tools and opportunity to evaluate their capacity to think about work through the lens of reflection and introspection as a guide to understanding the behavioral aspects of working with others and providing customer service. By examining thought patterns, students gain new skills in developing intuitive reasoning that will enhance professional relationships with peers and customers.
Students in this course will learn to proactively manage business or personal change, explore various change management models, and engage in problem solving to discover the best ways to leverage change agents. They will gain the vital skills of understanding and collaboratively following the change management process.
Strategic communication is a vital skill in today’s demanding, fast-paced, virtual, or global workplace. In this course, students will identify a personal leadership style, tendencies and preferences as a professional, and how one assimilates and applies information. Experiential learning is a large component of the course. Students will practice their skills on the job and report their experiences in a Leadership Development Portfolio (LDP).
This final core course offers students the opportunity to apply their learning in two tangible ways: the preparation of a capstone paper/project that offers a practical or theoretical solution to a program, operation, or policy; and the writing of a paper suitable for publication in a professional journal.
The final academic requirement for the public administration program is a week-long residency at the beautiful and historic Norwich University campus in Vermont. Students have the opportunity to meet with fellow students, faculty, and program staff in both formal classroom and informal settings. Norwich covers the cost of all meals and accommodation on campus. Academic recognition ceremonies and commencement cap off the week, and family and friends are encouraged to attend.
Donal Hartman, program director for the Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Leadership programs, has a Juris Doctor from Gonzaga Law School and a Master of Environmental Law from George Washington University. He has worked in the federal and public sector for over 35 years, most recently as the deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections. His legal career includes assignments as lead counsel for the Vermont Department of Corrections and assistant judge advocate for the Air Force. Don has taught adult learners for over two decades.
Chris Ormsby has worked at Norwich University since 2002 and is currently the Associate Program Director for the Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Leadership programs. Prior to his experience in educational administration, he served in the United States Navy as a naval flight officer, legal officer, and ROTC instructor. He received his MA in Justice Administration from Norwich University in 2004 and BA from Guilford College in history and justice policy studies. His academic research has focused on the implementation of restorative justice models and he has spent several years volunteering as a community reparative justice board member.
Jennifer Gagnon has worked at Norwich University since August 2006 and is currently the Student Services Advisor for the Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Leadership programs. She began her career at Norwich supporting the Master of Arts in Diplomacy program. In 2009, she completed the Master of Justice Administration program. She credits that experience with providing her with a greater understanding of the daily challenges our adult students encounter. In addition to her master’s degree, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
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Mon - Thurs: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST
Friday: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST
Extended hours available by appointment
Google the word “sustainability” and more than 126,000,000 results appear. However, if you parse through the results to try and understand the implications of sustainability for your work in the public sector, the search could feel a bit overwhelming. The Master of Public Administration program at Norwich University understands this, and is pleased to announce a new course available in March of 2013 to help leaders in public service make sound and sustainable decisions for their communities: Principles and Strategies for Sustainability.
Although there is a clear acknowledgment by many local, state, and national leaders that our future as a nation is increasingly dependent on diminishing national resources and our infrastructure is aging, that’s where the conversation tends to stall. Unfortunately recognition about what we must do about these issues and how quickly we must act is less clearly articulated.
Many understand conceptually the importance of sustainability in fostering economic prosperity, energy security, and a sustainable environment. But, fundamental to identifying and creating best practices over time is changing how we as leaders think and act. Current industry practices, such as methods of construction, planning, and design, are all based on the assumption that our resources are infinite. In many ways we face a gap between current thinking and acting, and future reality. It is clear that we must move faster to adopt new strategies and practices.
Principles and Strategies for Sustainability, the public administration course currently being developed by Adjunct Professor George Crombie, provides students with the foundation and knowledge they need to address sustainability as it applies to public works in their community. Crombie, a noted speaker and author on a wide range of topics related to public works management, leadership, and the environment, is the former president of the American Public Works Association.
• The connections between the environment and mankind.
• How air and water pollution affect public health.
• The economic impact of water and transportation policies that are not well planned.
• The importance of using long-term economic models in public policy decision making.
• How to think in a holistic manner.
• The attributes of a sustainable work culture.
• How to build community support for a sustainable program.
Principles and Strategies for Sustainability emphasizes the need for students to understand how economics plays a role in the formation of sustainable practices and policies. One example is the way most federal procurement operates, which overemphasizes time and cost of materials in completing a project, and does not take into account its longer-term environmental costs. Indeed, most contemporary procurement practices address a narrow view of cost, not a holistic concept based on the cost to society of constantly replacing the items (e.g., compact fluorescent lightbulbs that cost more but last longer) or other environmental impacts. The same concept of short-term versus long-term thinking applies to usage, maintenance, time to replace and repair, etc.
The course challenges students to consider sustainability in other areas of public leadership such as planning urban development (e.g., more trees = less cooling costs), maintaining cemeteries (e.g., chemicals for preservation, steel and concrete versus an organic approach), developing unique community partnerships (e.g., in Scandinavia many communities tap into a common heat source versus purchasing individual heating units), etc.
As with other public administration courses, students will be exposed to realistic case studies which they first must discuss in a group aided by their own research into the issues identified by the group. All students then address the challenges raised in the case studies through individual short written assignments. The link between the written assignment and the group discussion replicates the process used by a leader to resolve complex operational, policy-oriented, and political issues. Using a case study adds an element of reality, but the key to enhancing the decision-making process is collaboration: the exchange of ideas and suggestions prior to making a final decision.
Donal Hartman is the program director for the Master of Public Administration program.