Thursday, August 11 2022
Faculty and staff of the University of Montana’s MPA program include (left to right): Paul Kirgis, Dean of Alexander Blewett III Law School; Erin Keenan, Director of Development; Sara Rinfret, Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Administration and Public Policy and Director of AMP; and Anthony Johnstone, Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of Public Administration. (Dave Stalling / Current Missoula)

After a long and rigorous process, the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Montana recently received accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration, making it the only accredited program in the state. and one of the 183 currently listed as accredited. by NASPAA.

Sara Rinfret, chair of the Department of Administration and Public Policy at UM and director of AMP, said accreditation allows UM to “elevate its commitment to excellence in law, policy and public service ”.

The nonprofit NASPAA is the “global standard for public service education,” Rinfret said. “Accreditation will help us attract more students, place more students on internships and help our graduates find jobs.

The MPA program prepares pre-career and mid-career professionals to work in the public and non-profit sectors in areas such as public administration, public policy, and public affairs.

Part of Alexander Blewett III Law School, the program’s courses include human resource management, administrative law, strategic planning and leadership, legislation, nonprofit administration, and policy analysis.

“We prepare students for careers in government and nonprofit organizations,” Rinfret said. “Our graduates could, for example, end up working as an environmental regulator, chief of staff or budget analyzer.”

Established in 1976, UM’s MPA program offers students the opportunity to graduate online or in person, providing public and nonprofit professionals with the opportunity to advance their careers.

The program allows students to customize their degree by specializing in nonprofit administration or seek a joint degree in law or public health. Many students choose to add a certificate in public policy, nonprofit administration, or natural resource conflict resolution.

In addition to being Montana’s only accredited MPA program, UM’s MPA degree is the country’s only accredited within a law school.

The MPA program is hosted at the Max S. Baucus Institute of the Faculty of Law, named after Montana’s longest-serving US senator. Baucus, now retired, represented Montana in the Senate for 36 years, from 1978 to 2014, and also served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1978, and as United States Ambassador in China from 2014 to 2017.

According to its website, the Baucus Institute aims to bring together various decision-makers, lawyers, politicians, leading academics and students as “an extension of the important bipartite and consensual civil service exemplified by Max S. Baucus”.

“We are thrilled to be the only law school in America with a nationally accredited MPA program,” said Paul Kirgis, dean of the law school. “The MPA complements the emphasis on public service in our law school, while creating new opportunities for faculty collaboration and joint programming for students. “

Criteria for accreditation included a thorough assessment and evaluation of the school’s courses, cultural awareness and diversity, integrity, ethical conduct, fairness, accountability, transparency and service of the public interest.

To maintain accreditation, the school must submit an annual accreditation maintenance report.

In addition, the MPA program at UM School of Law has partnered with the Department of Political Science at Carroll College, Helena, to offer the very first ‘4 + 1’ program in Montana – allowing participating students to complete their degree. baccalaureate and their MPA in five years, instead of the traditional six years or more, and with a lower financial burden.

“This is a model program for our state,” said Carroll College President John Cech, “because it aims to provide a faster path to workforce success.

The University of Montana’s MPA program has seen enrollment growth since 2017, with more than 100 students.

“We have a great team of faculty serving our students,” said Rinfret. “The increase in our enrollment is due to our department’s dedication to student success, flexibility in course delivery and the cutting-edge program for public service professionals. “

To learn more about UM’s MPA program, click here:

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