Online MPA Webinar: A Student Perspective

With special guest online MPA student Andrea Montes, this webinar was designed to give individuals an understanding of what the online MPA program is like from a current student’s perspective.

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[00:00:00]

Danny Erazo: Hello and good afternoon to all who are joining us today. My name is Daniel Erazo; this is our online MPA webinar. Before we begin today I do want to just do a quick brief overview of the platform that we are broadcasting to you from. So you have a quick understanding of the functionalities that are available to you throughout the webinar. Should you have any questions on your top left hand side you will have the Q&A box to submit your questions into. Should you have any issues on the bottom left hand side you’ll notice there is a widget to provide you any necessary technical help. On the top right hand side you’ll see a resource list that you can reference at any point during the webinar. And should you feel the desire to share this information with a fellow colleague or any other individual that could benefit from this information, do be sure to share it. Email a friend

Without further ado, again I am Daniel Erazo I am one of the enrollment advisors here working with the online MPA program. And my colleague here Ixchelle is with me here today as well.

Now today we will be taking you through an inside look of our online Masters of Public Administration program. With the help of our special guest, the first of which is, our very own Associate Director, Professor Loney, Dr. Loney why don’t you introduce yourself?

Dr. Loney: Hi everyone first of all let me say that I really appreciate that you’re taking the time to check out our program at the University of San Francisco. You know perusing a graduate degree is a major endeavor, both in time, money and sometimes sacrifices with family. So you know it behooves you to do a good job checking out your options. We certainly hope that we’re going to give you today a full picture of the potential of our program here at the University of San Francisco. Thanks everyone and I’ll be chatting with you as we go through this seminar.

Ixchelle Hicks: Thank you Dr. Loney. Hello everyone my name is Ixchelle Hicks I’m another enrollment advisor with the online MPA. And I have the pleasure of introducing our student today. Her name is Andrea Montes; she is a current student in our online MPA program. And she is here today to answer some of your many questions that we receive from our perspective applicants on the phone, regarding what it’s really like to be a student in the program. So today Danny and I will both be moderating the questions for Andrea. And we will also have Dr. Loney interject here and there with any additional insights he would like to add.

So Andrea, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

[00:03:15]

Andrea Montes: Yeah, Thank you Ixchelle. I’d first like to thank Dr. Loney and the Ixchelle for allowing me to share my experiences with all of you today; I’m really excited to do that. So a little bit about myself, I’ve been working in the health and government sector since about 2002. That’s when I changed my undergraduate degree in English from Cal Poly State University, in California. And I’ve been working a lot with public works departments, social services departments, public health departments and I’m a mother 34 years old, I have two children. And that’s a little bit about my personal background, I’m sure we will be getting into my professional background shortly.

Danny Erazo: Now, Andrea I’m sure our audience would love to hear what ultimately lead you to pursue this MPA with our institution. Could you share a little bit about that?

Andrea Montes: Sure, well as I said before, I obtained my undergraduate degree in 2002, so it’s been about 14 years difference from obtaining that degree and my Master’s in Public Administration. And for quite a while I’ve been wanting to go back to school and get a Master’s in Public Administration. But it just really wasn’t the right time, the schedules didn’t seem to work out with the class schedule versus my work schedule and family life. But what ultimately lead me to pursue my MPA, when I went up for a job position, which I didn’t get. But my colleague who had a Master’s in Public Administration did get that.

So as I said before, I spent a large amount of my time working with Public Works Departments, however I’m not an engineer. But I feel like I’ve done an excellent job making it as far as I have in my current position as a program manager. But, you know I really didn’t see myself progressing as far as I’d like to unless I went back to school and got a Master’s. And administration is where I really enjoy working I think that’s where my strengths are. So I just thought this was perfect.

Danny Erazo: Thank you for that Andrea. Now, along with that I can imagine a lot of our applicants are pleased to hear that we are 100% online. Is there anything in particular that you can share with our audience that made online a more feasible option for you opposed to an on campus experience; which most people are accustomed to?

[00:06:04]

Andrea Montes: Sure, you know I work forty plus hours a week and I have two young children who are in elementary school. And my husband works for UPS so he’s driving some very odd hours sometimes. So for me to actually get in my car and get to a campus and attend classes on campus, it just wasn’t feasible with my work schedule. Some of these classes, you know they did begin in the evenings, from about seven to ten in the evenings. But what was I going to do with my kids. So that’s one of the reasons why I chose an online program. And it’s been very convenient for me; I’ve still been able to have a family life. And we can still take vacations, and I just take my laptop along with me. So it’s been working out great.

Danny Erazo:
That’s amazing and I’m sure we’re all happy to be able to share that experience with you. And you know our students have quite a bit to consider when they’re deciding on a post graduate school. So as you’re considering and continuing their education what stood out to you about the University of San Francisco?

Andrea Montes: Well for one thing I live in California, and I absolutely love San Francisco. So any chance I can have to go to San Francisco, you know I’ll take that. But really I chose the University of San Francisco because, I mean look at their motto for one thing. “Change the world from here”. I love their outlook and their values. And I was really attracted to the fact that it was a Jesuit college. So like if I’m going to spend all of this time investing in furthering my education, and investing money in this. Why not benefit from this program as a whole. I really wanted to be able to have some opportunities to grow from it spiritually. And to self-reflect on the lessons I was being taught and where I’ve come from, and where I’m heading.

And I really like the University of San Francisco it’s a place you could practice at.

Ixchelle Hicks: Great, thank you Andrea and you mentioned earlier about the flexibility and how it works well with your family. One of the questions that we received from our perspective applicants, is how do students connect, how do you connect with the faculty, how do you connect with peers. So the question that we have here for you is can you share your experience about what the USF MPA online program has been like for you?

Andrea Montes: Yeah, it’s been an enlightened program in many ways. I’ve been able to meet lots of people from all parts of the country. Some people live in the Virgin Islands, some people are in Hawaii. And perhaps I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if a program like USF’s MPA program weren’t susceptible to anybody from anywhere in the world.

[00:09:20]

As far as technology goes that’s been really eye opening for me. As I mentioned a couple of times I graduated from college in 2002 so a lot of stuff has changed technology wise in the past fourteen years that I wasn’t aware of until I joined this program. And there are people from different ages, different types of generations with in the program. So it was great for me to be connecting with younger students who knew about these technologies, and were able to assist me and walk me through on some things that I just hadn’t been exposed to yet. And as far as being able to stay in touch and connect with people, you know we’ve kind of become the society where everyone wants to communicate by text or email or on social media anyway, so I think this type of program works for those of us who are comfortable doing that. And maybe a lot of us are more comfortable sharing things online rather than face to face. So I haven’t had any challenges connecting with people, and In fact we’ve exchanged our personal phone numbers and emails. And we’ll text each other and email each other, you know, in the evenings sometimes or on the weekends. Just to kind of pick each other’s brains or to see what somebody did for this assignment. Or if we got certain feedback or if we received our grade yet. So it’s been a great experience. I don’t know if I would have this type of experience if I were walking onto a campus and sitting in a classroom. And I think in a classroom maybe you don’t see each other afterwards.

Danny Erazo: That’s fantastic, thank you, Andrea. Now I’m sure our audience would love to hear as well, you’ve been in the public sector now for approximately fifteen years. I know our curriculum covers a multitude of different advance management skill sets. Is there some of that that you can share with us, in terms of what you’ve learned in the program, how you’re already applying it to what you’re’ doing on a day to day?

Andrea Montez: Yeah, I’ve been able to apply just about everything I’ve learned this far in the program to my work life on a daily basis. Perhaps I already, you know, had some experience I had some good skills, but to be able to apply the relevant, the current information that I’m learning in the program, has been a great experience. So for example, my organization right now is going through a lot of changes, with reorganizations.

[00:11:58]

A lot of baby boomers, like a lot of agencies are right now. So the skills that I learned in the strategic planning course have been really helpful. I feel like when I attend strategic planning meetings that I don’t’ really have to hold back now. I can go ahead and share what I’ve learned in courses because I feel like; you know there’s justification to what I’m saying. I was able to learn the information, find the backup for it and then share that with my colleagues in my department. So strategic planning has been something I’ve been able to utilize. Also I took an emerging technologies course very recently. I was just telling you about how technology has changed a lot. Because of that course I was able to implement, and internal chat room with only employees in my department. We are a very large department and sometimes we may never meet one another because we’re just so spread out. But this social media module we have, we’re able to talk to each other and say “Hi I’m working on this project, I’m applying for this grant, is there something you can do to help join efforts so maybe we’ll be more successful at getting that grant and being able to get a larger grant award”. So I would say between technology and the strategic planning which are two very important things right now in public administration. I’ve been able to apply those types of skills to my work life every day.

Ixchelle Hicks: Excellent. And I do want to remind our participants today that we have a Q&A session. So please feel free to submit any additional questions that you may have. And we’ll be sure to answer them in our Q&A session. Andrea I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the benefits of actually earning the Public Administration Master’s degree. Many of our perspective applicants will share with us that they are pursuing this degree for the credential. To have the Masters, they’re pursuing the degree for advancement. But outside of advancement why should an individual pursue the Masters in Public Administration. And Dr. Loney if there’s anything that you can add a little later on after Andrea gets a chance to share her perspective, that would be great.

Andrea Montes: Well, I always think it’s important for our employees regardless of who you’re working for, or where you’re working, to continue learning. As far as public administration goes and obtaining my MPA for reasons other than advancing. I see the importance and the value to that is actually learning, like I said before, what’s relevant, what’s current. I have work experience and I know a lot of people within my organization. But to be able to say that I’m attending this course, or that I’ve completed that course. And to say this is what I’ve learned I think that, you know that means more than just advancing within a career is actually having that knowledge and sharing it. Because if you don’t share it then nobody’s going to know that you have it. And you can’t truly benefit the organization that you’re with unless you share that information. But I think to be able to share it with people it is important. And then advancing what you want to do, that’s just secondary. That will come naturally.

[00:15:47]

Ixchelle Hicks: Dr. Loney anything to add?

Dr. Loney: Yeah, thanks Ixchelle. You know a couple of things, one: just the knowledge and skills and insights that one gets through this program can be invaluable in your career. And unfortunately not all governments and you could say the same thing about any organizations, Non-profit or private sector, have the resources, for example to train there people in various skill sets. And a lot of times the only place they get that skill set is through, either their undergraduate degree, if it’s management focuses or certainly in our case in terms of a management focus kind of program. I can think back, I am still these days, using some of the tools and insights I learned, from my master’s degree. And these were things that along the way there were no courses or workshops internally within an organization. So for many people this will be there primary source of skills. Another interesting thing as well is, Andrea talked about the advancement challenges, but there can also be a possibility of potentials of pay increases. When I started with the federal government in my career, the fact that I had a Master’s degree allowed me to come in a couple grades higher than I otherwise would. So having this degree can help in many ways I think. Thanks Ixchelle.

Danny Erazo: Thank you for that now, Tim. Now when we speak to incoming students, Andrea, we communicate that the time commitment that they should expect to a lot to their studies an average of about twenty hours a week. Can you share with us Andrea what your experience has been thus far with regards to your studies and the time commitment associated?

Andrea Montes: Yeah, you know I was actually thinking about how much time I’ve been spending on the program recently. And I think about twenty hours is probably accurate. But then again if you’re somebody who enjoys what you’re doing, like I really enjoy this program. I’m putting in maybe about twenty-five to thirty hours a week. But I have to admit it’s kind of become somewhat of an obsession to be right now. So, like I said I really love it but I think that’s about probably right. And what’s so great about it is that when you’re receiving feedback, from your professors and sometimes constructive criticism, or maybe a pat on the back, it for me, makes me want to work and learn as much as I can. It’s just a lot of motivation. So I would say twenty hours is safe but if you want to go for it maybe twenty-five or thirty hours.

[00:19:02]

Dr. Loney: Daniel this is Tim Loney, let me just add to that, and of course Andrea puts a lot of time and it shows in her performance. I’ve had her and have her as an instructor so I know what she can do. You know some of this of course will vary with the nature of the subject matter. Some people will be more fasil in certain areas, you know than others. And the other thing here is, the advantage of an online program, and I think Andrea alluded to that earlier. You know it’s essentially a 24/7 program. So this gives everyone an opportunity to figure out, you know, what schedule works for them. Based on either their work demands, or family life issues. But, you know, sometimes it’s much easier to figure out a workable schedule over seven days. And it is every week showing up in a brown class. So hope those insights are helpful.

Andrea Montes: And, Daniel I’m sorry, I had a couple more things to add to that. As Dr. Loney was saying, I think it also does depend on the subject matter. For example, I’m really not a numbers person, I’ll be honest, so if I’m taking a statistical course, that might take me a little bit longer than versus, say a human resources course. Or something that’s more administrative.

Danny Erazo: And to build on that we just got a question, I feel it’s relevant. Dr. Loney one of our prospective students had a question, with that twenty/twenty-five hour weekly commitment, what sort of course assignments should our students expect to be tackling on?

Dr. Loney: Ok, well basically there are readings every week, from text books or other sources or websites, etc. And there will be, we rely heavily on a discussion forum as sort of a substitute for an in class lecture situation. So students will be participating throughout the week on these discussions. Typically there’s one other assignment during the week, it could be a short concept paper, it might be a group project. It might be simply using a particular tool that we are introducing into that class. As Andrea spoke about strategic planning, we use a lot of tools in that situation. There may be a final paper in that course situation. So again, lots of discussions, field trip visits to various websites, probably lots of small papers. There will be a few, depending on the instructor in the course; there will be team projects to work on. Let me know if that answers the question for the audience, thank you.

[00:22:25]

Ixchelle Hicks: Great it did and I definitely appreciate the participation from our audience today. Please keep the questions coming. Andrea, you are a few courses away, I’m not sure if It’s two or three from actually completing the degree. What are your plans for your career once you’ve earned the degree, tell us a little bit more about your future plans?

Andrea Montes: Sure, well after I finish my current course, I’m only one course away from obtaining my degree. So I’m very excited about that. As far as my career goals go, I’m pretty much, you know, I think I’m where I want to be. I think I’m perfectly positioned for an executive management position. With the current organization that I work for, which is a public works departments, or with the human resources department. One of the questions earlier was, what have I applied from my classes to my work life? And actually I had a very recent assignment that was a memo to either my management or the human resources department. And I’m actually really interested in the particular position that I hope will be opening up soon, in my department. So I used that memo to sort of work out my thoughts and how I would approach management with what I felt I could do with this position. So I think that, my next career goal would be, become a department administrator, which is the pretty senior position with the department. Or perhaps the personnel analyst with our human resources department, I actually have an interview with them next week. So either way I think I’m in a great position because of the MPA program and what I’ve learned to reach either one of those goals.

Ixchelle Hicks:
Congratulations, we’re excited to hear that. And that is definitely one of the, it’s the same concept that we hear when we speak to perspective applicants that when they decide to pursue this MPA they are looking to grow within their organization. Occasionally we will have some individuals transferring over into the public sector. And we actually had a question from one of our participants today. Wondering what types of jobs do people with Masters in Public Administration typically pursue? Tim would you like to answer that for us?

Dr. Loney: Great, you know essentially any job within the public sector, Non-profit or health care administration. As Andrea just pointed out the degree, I think helps with specialized functional professional areas. If one has an interest in budgeting and finance and wants to sort of get into that position, than certainly our program will help them with that. Our graduates go on to certainly other professional positions. They advance through those professional positions they move up through various management ranks, I think as Andrea pointed out. And she works in sort of a city/county environment. You could move up from a fine supervisor to clearly all the way to a department head of that agency; to an assistant city manager to a city manager position.

[00:26:07]

We’ve had graduates who have moved up in positions certainly in the federal government. They’ve moved up in state agencies. The director of HR for CalPERS, the largest public retirement system in the state, is a graduate of the program. So, literally all of these positions and in the same sense a lot of our graduates work in the health care sector. Either in public health care, public hospitals, they’ve moved up to department positions. Occasionally they move up to be administrators. And of course both in city, county, federal and state level they’re extensive health agencies and again opportunities to move up through the management of those organizations. So that’s just sort of a quick purview of some of the places one can advance with this degree.

Daniel Erazo: We appreciate that, Dr. Loney. Now before we begin our Q&A today, Andrea what last minute advice could you provide for our audience, those of which are in the audience today, considering pursuing this online MPA with our University, the University of San Francisco?

Andrea Montes: I’ll just say for those of you that are interested in pursuing an online degree with the University of San Francisco in the Masters of Public Administration program, is to approach this program with an open mind. You know what initially got me to go after this program, I mentioned before was because I missed out on an opportunity for a promotion, it went to my colleague who had an MPA degree. And I came home to my husband and I told him, “you know what, I’m looking it up online, and I’m going to go get my Masters”. And I really just thought, ok, I’ll go get my Masters and I’ll get the next job and everything will be good. I really wasn’t’ expecting to get so much out of the program as I have. I thought maybe I’ll learn a couple of things, but as long as I have that degree, that’s what is going to matter. And it really has just been so much more than that. I’ve really been able to benefit from the assignments, from the work I’m putting into it, and my sense of pride from doing a job well done. And then by applying what I’m learning to my work place, so I would just say have an open mind. You may not realize how rewarding this experience will be. Thank you.

[00:29:02]

Danny Erazo: Dr. Loney anything that you can add to that?

Dr. Loney: Well and again I’m really very impressed and proud with what Andrea has done and she has gone to some degree above and beyond, and it brings you back to the cliché, you know you get out of things, what you put into it. And again it’s all up to you as a student, how much you want to take from the program. We’re providing you the opportunities, the resources, they are there for you. You’re paying for them, you’re taking time, so ultimately though, and it’s one’s self-motivation to move forward with this. And obviously the more motivated you are the more excited we are. And the more potential we have to help contribute to your growth and success.

Danny Erazo: Thank you Dr. Loney, now we will be beginning our Q&A, but before we do, I do want to just make a brief announcement. For those of you viewing this on a future date, as this will be recorded for future reference, Please be sure to contact me or Ixchelle to address any follow-up questions, so that we can have those questions answered, and provide you our feedback.

Thank you.

Ixchelle Hicks:
Another question did come in; actually I’m going to ask Dr. Loney to respond to the question about lectures. Can you share with our audience today how lectures are given through the online MPA program? Are they pre-recorded lectures, are they live?

Dr. Loney: Right, they are both, actually. It depends on the particular course and even within the course. Typically with all of our courses we do have some written lectures available, we do a lot of videos with faculty. Those videos are reproduced in written form and available to students. We don’t rely heavily on lecture in the same matter that you might see in a ground course, or even in ground courses, especially at the graduate level, that notion of lecture sounds like one person, probably a professor putting information out in kind of a passive way.

We try to use a pedagogy that is very active and again the information, the reading that students are required to do each week, come alive essentially through, what we call the discussion format. For example, and instructor will pose a question about the readings, and or ask students to relate that reading to an experience they’ve had and then we have a robust interaction online to those activities. We use lots of YouTube videos, again we go to a lot of professional locations that have videos available for us on various subjects, on various experts who talk about their challenges and activities and that sort of thing. I hope that helps out.

[00:32:57]

Danny Erazo: Yes, we actually just got another question and this one again for you Dr. Loney. What do you see as the primary advantage of an MPA versus an MBA; let’s say with regards to skills, knowledge gain and the approach of the delivery?

Dr. Loney: Well you know that’s a good question, let me just say, I have an extensive HR background as a personnel manager of the federal level, and at the city of Oakland. I suppose I could say that a graduate management degree of any kind can be valuable, for one in pursuing a career in the public sector. Obviously the MPA degree is specifically tailored and focused to deal with certain challenges that we face. For example, in terms of understanding the dynamics of government, policy development within a government sector, certainly even on a budgeting and finance issues.

Governments tend to have rather complicated budgetary processes. So the MPA clearly will give you more tailored information, and quite frankly people tend to be comfortable with things they’re familiar with and so applying for a public sector job chances are that someone might give the nod to someone with a MPA over an MBA degree. But as I said before I don’t want to denigrate other types of management degrees, they can all be valuable in helping one with their careers. Thanks Danny.

Ixchelle Hicks: Great, Thank you Dr. Loney. We do have a couple questions about the program and about the application process. A young lady, Marianna wanted to know if she could apply for fall of 2016, when would the deadline for the application be. And the Danny and I can both answer that.

For fall of 2016, we do not have the deadline date yet, but the enrollment for fall 2016 is available via our online application. Typically our deadline is in the timeframe of July, so July 1st, July 15th, for the fall 2016. And we will reach back out to you Marianna, with the information on the application process, and the application checklist. So we will definitely make sure to get that over to you. We also want to remind our audience today that a recording of today’s session will be sent out and if you listen to this session a week from today, or email it to a friend they can still contact us with questions.

[00:36:14]

We have a question regarding taking classes on campus. And I’m glad to hear that this question came up. Because about 50% of our online students do live in the region, for students who are interested in taking any of the concentration courses, such as health administration on Non-Profit, those courses are only available at our downtown San Francisco location. So students pursuing the online Masters in Public Administration degree will need to take all thirteen courses online, and then if you do decide that you want to add additional courses in the area of Non-profit administration or health administration you will need to come to campus to take those.

Dr. Loney, do you have anything to add in regards to that question?

Dr. Loney:
Not at this point Ixchelle, that is certainly one of the ways to get to our concentration, or specialty’s, certainly to health care. Eventually we will have that online but at the moment it’s only available through the, you know, ground campus.

Ixchelle Hicks: On that note, I definitely want to let all of our participants know that as a student in the online program, you do get a University of San Francisco ID, and you can access the campus and the library, the fitness centers at any point. So if you’re in the area, you can utilize your student ID to come to campus. If you’re visiting from out of town, you can still stop by the campus. So thank you for that question.

Any more questions from our participants?

Danny Erazo: Yes, I have one more question, Dr. Loney. One of our students had a particular question geared towards teaching methodology. How would you describe your fellow faculty to a potential student in regards to teaching methodology and engagement?

Dr. Loney: That’s a good question. I’d say we are very eclectic. I think our faculty uses a variety of pedagogies or methodologies, and you know in teaching. And in that sense in terms whether they emphasize practical exercises, field trips, projects with a practical implication. For example, I like to encourage students, if there is a term paper, rather than in term papers to do an actual White Paper or Position paper within their actual organization, on a particular challenge. And the idea for this came, when I was a manager in various public sector agencies, because we also don’t always have a lot of resources, and it’s wonderful to have a student to rely on, and have them actually look into a subject. Because they are studying it right now and they can make a contribution to the organization. And it provides a way to go about networking with the organization.

[00:39:55]

Also in terms of teaching methods, again faculty will vary. Some may emphasize group methods, more than others. Some will require or encourage, we don’t’ require it but to have actually live sessions, much like we’re doing right now. Bringing students together, on a particular topic for that session week, to explore together, learning and knowledges. So again faculty and I think our faculty is fairly sophisticated, and the idea that we all learn in different ways, and so it’s important to approach and appeal in various ways. Some people like to do a lot of reading, some would prefer hands on physical activity, lots of graphics, pictures, blah blah blah, so we try to vary our curriculum, to accommodate the various, again, learning personalities of our students. Thank you.

Ixchelle Hicks: Great thank you, we do have one more question and we also have a question on someone who is asking about our next enrollment period, but our actual next slide does speak to the program structure, and that will answer the question on our upcoming enrollment periods. But the question we have, has to do with the fact that some MPAs require internship if you’re not already in the public sector. They are wanting to know if we require an internship for our program; and if so how does that work for the online students who are not in the area?

I can address this question and Dr. Loney you can add anything to this as well.

For the program we do not require an internship, you don’t have to come to the campus at all, it is 100% online. The majority of our students have professional experience, and have experience in the public sector. As a student in the program you are a University of San Francisco student. So just like you get your student ID you have access to our professional development office. And you can utilize that as a tool to find internships and any type of positon. They help with resume; they will do a phone call to the consultations. So you do have access to that.

Dr. Loney do you have anything to add in regards to internships and if you’re not already in the public sector how do you get experience?

[00:42:43]

Dr. Loney: Good question, and as you mentioned Ixchelle. We are looking for people who actually have a had some experience. At least minimum of two years of, what we call professional and work experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the public sector. Clearly it could be in the Non-profit sector. There’s a great overlap and association with non-profits and public administration for sure. And clearly someone who has experience in the private sector, in terms of meaningful work in an organization, ideally as a professional and many of you for manager, they can be eligible for the program as well. But he caveat there, is our staff like you Ixchelle you are available to some of these students, is that what we are looking for is where is that interest to want to go in the public sector or the non-profit sector, if one has not been there. And sometimes that is very easy because people have an aspiration to do some public good, and they’ve done it through their churches and social organizations or other places. So we would be looking at that but it’s certainly not a handicap not having public sector or non-profit experience, coming initially into the program. Thank you.

Izchelle Hicks: Great, we love all this participation. And please remember that both Danny and I are available to take questions via email, you can schedule a telephone call with us. But we are going to segue into the section about the program structure, and how the online MPA program is offered. So a few of you had questions about when you can start in the program, how long it takes to complete the program. So I will quickly go through that, and then I’ll let Dr. Loney wrap up the conversation about the program to discuss faculty and curriculum.

So, our program is 100% online. And the curriculum is a management curriculum. We do have three opportunities to start in the program. We are currently enrolling for January which is our spring semester, our deadline in December 1st and classes will begin on January 25th. We also have an opportunity in summer, summer is May. And that starts May 25th and our deadline will probably be somewhere around that April 1st timeframe. And then After Summer is fall of 2016 and we are looking at a July 1st timeframe, and then classes beginning around August 25th. Danny and I will definitely send out application checklists and the updated applications deadlines once we get that information confirmed. So you do have three times that you can start the program.

[00:45:59]

The program consists of thirteen courses that can be completed in twenty-four months if students take classes year-round. Fall, spring and summer. There is one semester, because of that odd number, that thirteen where students will actually need to take three classes in one particular semester to complete the program in two years. But it’s definitely possible.

Dr. Loney can you share more with us about the MPA faculty and the MPA curriculum before we wrap up our conversation today?

Dr. Loney: Yes, I can do that, as the slide indicates. We have twelve fulltime faculty members. They all have their doctorates, we have at least seventeen, we may have even more, part-time faculty. Many of whom have doctorate degrees. A number of them even have more degrees, whether specialize and we all have some sort of graduate specialized degree. Almost all of our faculty has practitioner experience. One of our faculty members is a retired chief of police for the city of San Francisco. A number of faculties have been, and it ranges from a town manager all the way up to a city manager of a city of over 100,000 people. We have Dr. Ron Harris, our health care specialist, has been a program manager in public health for a number of state and county programs. Next to this program is a separate non-profit program, we have several faculty focused on that. They have been mangers themselves in non-profit organizations. So we have an extensive background with both research and with practice activity out there.

If you look at the next slide which is the one with the courses that Ixchelle talked about. It’s a thirteen courses spread over a two year period, as Ixchelle mentioned we have at least one semester where we have three courses. The program is geared, if you wanted you can get through this program in two years, we are flexible however. Occasionally situations will come up, and even the fact that three courses in one semester may be too much to carry. So you can defer courses to other semesters if you need to meet your own personal needs.

In terms of the program, a sort of depiction of the thirteen courses, on the left hand side, you’ll see core courses are what I might call generic or macro courses on various public administrations non-profit in general in terms of theory and design. And then in the middle box twenty-four of the units are more focuses, and highly specialized more functional areas that are important courses in the public sector. And by the way we’re what we call NAPSA, National Public Administration certified and our courses are all consistent with best practices in terms of Public Administration programs. And we finally wrap up the final course of the program is something called the integrated seminar, which is an opportunity for you to pull together everything you’ve learned throughout the program. Get yourself ready to use this information as you move forward in your career. My goal, and of course as Andrea pointed out, many of our student’s start using the learning from the program almost immediately as they take courses. Thank you Ixchelle.

[00:50:22]

Ixchelle Hicks: And I really appreciate you mentioning the NAPSA, it’s really important for our audience to know that we do hold the NAPSA accreditation and have held it for a number of years. And then the other key factor is that our faculty does come from various fields because sometimes we will have individuals who want to do the concentration online. And when we tell them they can only do it on campus they wonder how it’s integrated into the curriculum. So I really appreciate you highlighting that our faculty do come from Non-profit, health administration, that it can be incorporated into our current curriculum. Thank you Tim very much for that.

We’re going to move on to Danny so he can wrap up our presentation for today.

Danny Erazo: Thank you Ixchelle, now for those students currently considering submitting an application for our upcoming semester we are currently enrolling for our spring 2016 semester. The deadline which will be coming up in about five weeks. So be cognizant of that, and our classes will begin, first thing on January 25th. Before we do conclude this webinar for today, I do want to give a special thank you of course to our special guest, Andrea Montes for your participation and perseverance through the program. I can’t imagine it was an easy venture, but none the less from what I can take it was an extremely rewarding. And of course to you Dr. Loney, for your continued participation in this program, to our students and to our internal services as we continue to make this potential venture to our students reality.

Ixchelle Hicks: Thank you Danny

Danny Erazo: Ok and this concludes are online MPA. Thank you everyone for attending and have a lovely day, be safe, enjoy your weekend.

[00:53:07]

Andrea Montes: Thank you very much everyone, Good Luck.

[00:53:14]

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