USF MPA Faculty & Course Overview Webinar

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Heidi: Thank you for joining us today for the University of San Francisco’s live online public administration faculty spotlight. You are currently in a listen only mode; you’re welcome to utilize the chat box to ask questions throughout the session. We will be addressing questions throughout the webinar and there will be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. Also copies of the recording will be available for viewing at a later date.

Today’s agenda: you will meet your support team, also your faculty panelists. We’ll talk a little bit about why you would likely choose University of San Francisco. A little bit more about the MPA program itself as well as the careers our students enjoy. We are going to have a question session with our faculty and then as I stated earlier, a live Q&A session.

Let me first introduce your support team. Nishma Oramus Rodon is your program enrollment advisor. She provides with program information and guides you through the enrollment process. I also want to take a moment and introduce you to your program coordinator Adrian Nesbit. Just as Nishma will assist you through your enrollment Adrian will act as your liaison to campus and assist you with questions and logistics, such as registering for classes and ordering books.

Next I would like to introduce you to your faculty panelists. First we have Associate Director of Online MPA Dr. Timothy Loney. Welcome Dr. Loney. Can you please share a little bit about yourself with us and your role in the program?

Dr. Timothy Loney: Yes, thank you Heidi, and thanks everyone for being on with us today. I know this is a very important decision in your career, selecting the right school and the right education program. I essentially wear two hats at the University. I direct the online MPA program and I’m also a member of the faculty and more than likely will teach in one of your courses. Thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Thank you Dr. Loney. And next I would like to welcome director of program services. Dr. Gleb Nikitenko. Dr. Nikitenko will you share a little bit about yourself with us.

Dr. Gelb Nikitenko: Sure, thank you Heidi. This is Gelb, and welcome everyone to this webinar we hope that we can provide you with all the information and the important data that will allow you to make your decision. My background is pretty eclectic I have both Public Administration and National Relations background. I work in several countries for national organizations as well as educational organization. And I do have a research background in an online education, specifically self-directed learning readiness of online learners and examination of different formations of correlations analysis. So I am working with Dr. Loney in this program and I look forward to meeting many of you in the virtual reality. Thank you.


Thank you Dr. Nikitenko. And next we have our special guest, associate professor Dr. Richard Johnson and Associate professor Dr. Kimberly Connor with us. Thank you both for joining us. Dr. Johnson, we’ll start with you, will you please tell us more aobut yourself and your role within the online MPA program?

Dr. Richard Johnson: Thank you Heidi, and good day to everyone, although my colleagues and future students. I research in the area of social equity and specifically that means I look at areas of marginalization within certain communities within the US, and beyond. And I also teach in the online MPA program org-theory and so forth, and I’ve been doing that now for the last year or so. And it has been really fabulous to me and for me. But I’ve been a faculty member for the last fifteen years between the University of San Francisco and the University of Vermont. Thank you.

Heidi: Thank you Dr. Johnson. And Dr. Connor would also please then share a little bit about yourself, and your role in the online MPA program?

Dr. Kimberly Connor: Absolutely. Good Morning, my role in the MPA program is primarily limited to PA-620, Leadership Ethics. In part because my background is not specifically and directly in Public Administration but I’m trained in the liberal arts. My background is in religion and literature I think it says a lot about our program that I was invited to be an instructor in this online MPA degree, because they recognize a breath in depth of learning is important for Public Administrators. So in my class you’re likely to encounter some things you might not get in more traditional Social Science classes. We read literature, we read of course ethical theory, a lot of our applications come from interesting places, Ted Talks, New York Times, all over. We’re trying to get a broad representation of what it means to be a responsible person in the public realm. And to use all kinds of resources available to us, I might add that’s also a variegation perspective. Because our Jesuit founders have a concept that they call discernment which recognizes that learning and decision making is best achieved when it allows for a variety of perspectives and viewpoints and that we can make any decision good by our intent. And so that’s what we try to do in this class.


Heidi: Great, thank you Dr. Connor we certainly appreciate your perspective and presence within the program. Now I’d like to share a little bit about our program and our school. The course work is 100% online with no campus requirements and no required live components. Our faculty works with our course development team to create an online classroom that is as dynamic and goal oriented as the campus classrooms in which they teach. Students can enroll in fall, spring and summer semesters.

The University of San Francisco is also ranked in the top 10% of national universities by US News and World Report. has ranked the University of San Francisco online MPA program in the top 10 of accredited online MPA programs in the country. The University of San Francisco has been named the most diverse non-historically black university by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Princeton Review has named the University of San Francisco as a best Western school; Washington Monthly has ranked the University of San Francisco seventeenth among all 284 National Universities for the number of full-time faculty receiving significant awards. Nineteenth for number of students performing community service, twenty-first for number of staff supporting community service, a number of learning services courses, a number of scholarships for community service, so we are most certainly well ranked, well respected. Primary goal of the University of San Francisco faculty is to provide a safe, compassionate and challenging learning environment.

They’re widely published and vastly experienced. So you are making a good decision to consider the University of San Francisco and we certainly appreciate you taking the time to do so.

A little bit about the program. The University of San Francisco’s Jesuit core values of social justice, service, effective governments and ethical responsibility are not in your talking points, as you heard Dr. Connor reference. You’ll find those themes throughout the curriculum. You’ll also use a variety of hands on techniques to apply what you learn to affect change where you are now. You also learn innovative methods of program planning and analysis. USF recognizes the impact of technologies such as social media; you have to understand that they have an impact on the management of public organization. Our faculty will prepare you to thrive in an ever changing environment.

So let’s learn a little bit more about our faculty. And I think at this point Dr. Nikitenko would you be able to share a little bit more about our MPA administration and faculty?


Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: Sure Heidi. Well you’re looking at the slide which shows our department. Picture of our faculty and you’ve already got to know four of us. So there’s one person that’s missing from the slide that’s just recently joined, former Dean of the School of Management Mike Duffy. Who is a lawyer by training and has a great deal of non-profit experience as well as in course management educational institutions. But you can see that we are very rich and diverse group. You know we have our department chairs, sit in the first row and the second from the left, Rich Callahan, who is extremely well known in a Public Administration circle. He is one of the key lifetime members of the American Society of Public Administration he is very extensively published and has a lot of professional experience which I think is what makes our department and our faculty so unique. We talk about three former deans, one chief of police Dr. Ribera; he’s on the right, second from the right in the first row. We have former city managers, and town managers, such as Rich Callahan that I just mentioned and Monica Hudson, who is not in the picture; she was a city manager in several cities in addition to directing several non-profit organizations. Tim Loney who worked in Federal Government and many others who just basically represent probably one of the best combinations of professional and academic experience. So the background is very rich and they are all committed to the student’s success. We are very much a student centered university in general. Student’s success is really the keystone of our success as a school and of the program. Thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Thank you Dr. Nikitenko. Next we’re going to take a look at the curriculum overview. And I’m not quite done with you yet, Dr. Nikitenko, if you wouldn’t mind taking us through the curriculum just a little bit.

Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: Absolutely, Heidi. Well you see the whole curriculum is broken into three sections so to speak. We have the foundational courses where you take the introduction to public administration course, you now it’s an overview course that’s basically a very good snap shot of what the program is about, what the field is about. And then you continue with leadership ethics course, that Dr. Connor just talked about. Quantitative methods, Management Organization Theory, those are the courses that provide the foundational level of knowledge of quantitative and qualitative management skills and understanding of theory.


And then we launch into the carousel, as we call it, or basically courses that represent a particular management aspect and this is a management degree, and we need to understand that we train public non-profit managers who go out and basically become leaders, who finish this program become leaders. They need to have a solid ground in pretty much every aspect of management signs and practice. And these courses as you can tell are giving you the grounding by providing you with an understanding of public policy process and implementation and the public policy analysis course will go through the entire process of public policy making and evaluation. They learn about human resource management the civil service system, the married system that is very unique in the public administration sector. And then they learn about economics and finance, public budgeting, so understanding of the fiscal structure of the American Government at various levels and understanding of the political interplay. That impacts these processes. They learn about technology, they learn about the application of various technological packages and software in the government sector and understanding the constraints that the government has. Because obviously we cannot apply every single technology that appears, and we have to be very selective. And developing the set of skills of being selective, very focused and strategic and yet very much aware of the political environment in which public administrator operates every day, I think it’s really a key component of the program curriculum. And at the end you take the integrated seminar course where you complete an analytical paper on a select topic, under the faculty’s supervision and basically this completes your program.

It’s a thirteen course program, thirty-nine units. Very typical for public administration program nationwide. It’s a robust learning focused, outcome oriented program that I believe you will thoroughly enjoy and get a lot out of. Thank you.

Heidi: Great, thank you so much Dr. Nikitenko. And you made reference to some specific sectors and we definitely want to take a moment to go over the different careers that we find our students entering and working in. Dr. Loney and Dr. Nikitenko, I think this is probably very relevant for the both of you to speak to. If you’d like to continue on Dr. Nikitenko I’ll give you that moment and that we’ll ask Dr. Loney also to chime in.


Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: Well it is always a question, why do I need this degree, why do I need any degree, why this degree will really launch me into the next stage of my career and will allow me to progress and succeed and increase my earning potential, increase my impact on the community, these are all very valid questions and I think this degree of probably all the degrees will allow you to become, this very broad based, very versatile and very kind of, pretty much jack of all hands if you will.

Because you know you will understand management process and at varied levels both at sort of the larger organization, the large organization perspective to a small organization perspective. You can work in a complex organization sort of a department, city government and be as successful as working in a small non-profit and being very much acutely aware of our mental restraint in San Francisco and budgetary constraints. Understand of the political process, lobbying against that, so all of these aspects will be very important to become a successful manager and leader and beyond. So you will remain competitive. You can cross over from one sector to another; you can work in the non-profit sector, public sector, a third of our students work in the for-profit sector, even corporate sector. So it’s a uniquely, versatile and kind of a comprehensive degree program. Most of our students report how quickly they start advancing career wise and how many of them change their careers or basically, either get promoted or get another job soon after they finish this program. So I think it’s a tremendous opportunity. But Dr. Loney might have another perspective or additional.

Dr. Timothy Loney: Sure, let me shed a little bit of light on what you just said and take it in a couple of different directions. One a very practical career one in terms of your growth within organizations. The MPA is certainly and has been for a while, an important minimum requirement for advancement. For example, I have a student who is a manager in a county public works department, his director is retiring at the end of the year and one of his concerns was that while he’s a viable candidate for that director position, he’s concerned that he’ll be competing with people who will have an MPA degree. So again I think this is important for you in terms of your advancement.


On a unique and practical way in many places in the federal government, having an advanced degree allows you to come in at higher levels I started with the Federal Government and because I had a master’s degree I could start at several grade levels higher than what would otherwise be the case. Some organizations, and clearly in public safety work, like law enforcement they’re actually premiums or salary incentives that are paid to people who have the additional degrees. And again I think this just goes back to Dr. Nikitenko’s comment that part of this is given because there is recognition of the comprehensive and holistic experience that you pick up and skill levels and insights through an MPA program. So that you’re capable of handling larger responsibilities within organizations. Thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Thank you very much Dr. Loney and Dr. Nikitenko. Next want to move on just touch quickly upon the different careers you’ll see that our USF MPA alumni hold different titles. And since we have you on the line here first Dr. Loney, is there anyone you’d like to speak to. I know you’ve had a lot of experience in the human resource field, so I thought perhaps you would like to speak a little bit on some of these job titles.

Dr. Timothy Loney: Sure, and in one case we have the personal director for the whole CalPERS retirement system for the state of California is one of our graduates. So that’s one example from the HR point of view. But again we’ve had graduates, alumni who have gone on to be city managers, they clearly work extensively in local government they’ve worked in state level governments. We have a number of people who have gone to Washington and are working in the Federal Government as well as leading various non-profit organizations. We’ve actually had a number of directors of non-profits organizations as students. In other words they’ve already reached a certain level, of significant level of responsibility in their organizations. But feel that the MPA degree will give them an additional skill set, and handle certain challenges that they have not had experience with for that. So hopefully that’s helpful, as I say that’s a list on the screen and I think it covers the ball park of all the types of jobs that are available in both the public sector and the non-profit sectors.

Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: I just want to add, Heidi I’m sorry just like what Dr. Loney said our alumni hold a very nice array of jobs and titles in various sectors. We are particularly, I must say, well represented in the health care sector. We have a number of alumni working in the Kaiser system, in the University of California, San Francisco, system management. The various providers and health care maintenance organizations and so we’ve almost formed a sort of a non-profit mafia, as we like to call it. Basically graduates of our program in the non-profit independent sector, here in San Francisco and in the Bay Area and beyond. Very many of them work in New York and Washington. So I would say those two areas are particularly well represented, or those two sectors non-profit and health care. Thank you.


Heidi: Thank you very much Dr. Nikitenko, and moving on to our next topic we move to the questions section that we have for our faculty panelists and special guests. So this questions, what your favorite part about teaching is in the online program. I’d like to start with Dr. Connor, would you be able to speak to your experience in teaching in the online program?

Dr. Kimberly Connor: Oh, absolutely. There’s multiple. For one think being online we give access to some people who might not have opportunities otherwise to pursue the MPA. But beyond that just more generally teaching in the MPA program, I think for me, especially again being trained in the humanities and coming into a more applied social science setting. We see the immediate translation, or as Jesuits might say, transformation of knowledge into practice and action. And so I see in much more direct ways the influence of my teaching and the role that it can play in actually changing society and improving conditions for the least of these. I also recognize that it’s an opportunity for career professionals when they undertake an MPA to recommit themselves to public service. And I find in the progress of my course that as they’re being asked to reflect on their practice in their experience which we do every week by the way through applied examples and ethics. They rededicate themselves to the careers that they’ve chosen and they have a renewed sense of its value and importance. Both for them as individuals and for society at large. And that’s a very gratifying experience for an educator.

Heidi: Thank you very much, Dr. Connor, that’s very invaluable information. Next I think I’d like to ask Dr. Johnson. Can you speak a little bit towards your experience with the online MPA of teaching?

Dr. Richard Johnson: Sure Heidi, for me it has been very exciting to teach an the online MPA programs. Specifically just touching on what Dr. Connor has already mentioned it’s so gratifying to me how students find linkages between the assignment and the actual work place. That is so exciting for me to read about and even to, some students will call me as well. And to share their story of how one assignment was so applicable to a particular situation in their work place. And there’s certainly at the end of the classes there is a reflection period and that’s also very exciting to read the students reflection. Because they come into the courses generally not knowing much about the topic and not knowing how the topic is going to be readily applied to their current work situation, or future work situation. And the amount of growth in many of the students is just overwhelming. So that for me I think perhaps is just the most invaluable piece of the online MPA program. Just to see the growth in the students and how they came easily and quickly take what they’re learning and apply it to what they’re actually doing.


Heidi: Great thank you very much Dr. Johnson. Also Dr. Loney I’d like to address this question to you as well. I believe you also teach the capstone course?

Dr. Timothy Loney: I do and I’d like to ride just quickly on a comment Dr. Johnson made, although I think Dr. Connor alluded to it as well. And that is the linkages between learning and experience. And there are a lot of favorite parts of teaching but one that strikes at it for me right at the moment is the opportunity to learn what students are actually experiencing because most of our students are engaged currently in work admittedly at various different levels. But they’re facing challenges out there. And again depending on who the instructor is and what they’re approach. We may try in different ways to get the students engage with again what they’re actually doing. For me it’s asking them among other things to describe the challenges they are going through or asking them to take the learning and apply that in the sense of something that’s happening right now in their organizations. And there are a lot of hard experiences and then there are a lot of commonality out there in the world. So for a lot of students make comments about their colleagues resume for them because they’re going through a similar situations in their organization. So from that stand point I guess certainly there is a very practical impact. Thanks Heidi.

Heidi: Thank you very much Dr. Loney actually you spoke a lot about the application and being able to see students apply what they’re learning in real time and also the challenges that they face. Which really speaks to some of the questions that we received here on this end, about not only the communication with what they’re learning, with the faculty but how do the students create the online community? How do they interact with each other, talking about those challenges that they face in the work place or even academically. Can you address that Dr. Loney?


Dr. Timothy Loney: Well I think there are a number of ways and then again my colleagues will share some of theirs as well. Certainly we have a discussion forum where we engage the entire student body in the class and the faculty on various topical issues we have “Wiki”s and blogs set-up where our students post on their particular challenges and get reactions from their colleagues. We set up team structures to deal with challenging issues that they face so they can team up on their own, working on some of these things. So there are a lot of ways for them to overlap and collaborate on activities in the course. Thanks Heidi.

Heidi: Great thank you very much Dr. Loney.

Dr. Richard Johnson: Heidi may I piggy-back on Dr. Loney’s points.

Heidi: Please

Dr. Richard Johnson: I think that Dr. Loney has made just a wonderful observation with regards to the online discussion boards that we have in the process. And for me Tim’s speaking I think that it’s really exciting to read the comments that the students will make, to each other with regards to projects and the readings and so forth. And the dialogue I find to be very fruitful, the dialogue can be very challenging and respectful, and by the end of the day I believe when students post comments and receive comments they find that they really are in a community and that they are getting to know the students and faculty, within the program and I think that’s at the heart of the program for me. Thank you.

Heidi: Thank you very much Dr. Johnson, that’s very informative. I think we’re going to move on to the next question. Because we’ve touched on it a little bit, talking about direct application and using what you know in your current career. So that leads me to how do you incorporate your experience into your teaching and theory, I’d like to start out with Dr. Loney.

Dr. Timothy Loney: Sure, and let me just talk about from the stand point of one of the classes that I teach , which is human resource development, which might be considered certainly one of the more hands on practicum courses in the program. Since I’ve been a human resource director I can use this as an opportunity to bring vignettes and scenarios and learning from various HR responsibilities into the course so for example one might involve performance management and how to conduct an effective performance appraisal or give effective feedback to colleagues or subordinates, in your organization. And by the way this has always been a challenging area in organizations on how to give effective feedback to people and so I find that students appreciate that and it’s one of those areas where I’ve seen them with an almost immediate or direct application.


Some student will be responsible for having to give feedback in their work setting. It may be a supervisor or manager in the course, who hasn’t had any formal training in this area and so as an outgrowth of what we cover in class, through our readings, textbooks and through our lectures and some practical scenario skill exercises they’re able to go out and apply that immediately. And we usually find that out right away because they react back through the class in our discussions and blogs about that experience. Hey I took this learning I applied it this week and it was a great experience for us. And then we’re able to build off that learning with that student for the rest of us through the program. Thanks Heidi.

Heidi: Great thank you very much Dr. Loney and Dr. Johnson would you also be able to speak towards incorporating your experience?

Dr. Richard Johnson: Certainly, I teach primarily in management and organization theory class. And I think that so many of the students from the program come with a significant level of experience already, in management. And so to actually take those experiences combined with the theory that we offer in this program I think creates just this wonderful gap that a number of people have. Without the MPA degree and so my own experience in terms of management I served in the faculty I said that the higher education administrator for many years working on writing grants and managing three different programs. And so that translates into me having a greater understanding of management not only form the higher education perspective but also the non-profit administration perspective, which I also served as a director for a couple of years. So it’s always important I think when the faculty can understand where a student is coming from with regards to a situation that has gone in his/her work place. And again it’s always gratifying when the student can make those links, those linkages between what we’re teaching in the class and what is going on in their workplace. All of a sudden, I think Dr. Loney mentioned this before, which all of a sudden that ‘Ah-ha’ moment happens or the light bulb goes off and it’s just, I think that’s the priceless experience. Thank you.


Heidi: Thank you very much Dr. Johnson. And Dr. Connor, you’ve been sitting with us for a little bit I’d like you to exercise your voice, and share a little bit of your unique experience and how you incorporate that into your teaching theory.

Dr. Kimberly Connor: Right, well I think experience is relevant especially again, sorry to sound like a one not Kimberly here, but it’s very foundational in a Jesuit education because we come through experience very broadly. And we recognize all the prior learning that our students bring to the Masters in Public Administration. And we value that learning as an important contribution to the additional learning then that I encourage through the examination of ethics as applied to public administration. So I think that’s one place to start. That we recognize the student in context and that her experience is going to be an important part of how she learns the subject matter.

My experience again because I come from a humanities background I may be bring some more nontraditional sources to bare as we examine public administration through a social science lens. So say for example we’re looking at role conflict, well we might then go to a story by Nick Hornby and look at how a couple relates to each other and what are they doing in their relationships that presents a role conflict and how do they make the decision about how to ethically prioritize something. Or my own scholarship, for example is in African American Religion in Literature, so when it came time to think of a cumulative or a sort of mini-capstone in my class, rather than going to something in the twenty-first century I challenged my students, and I have them read a nineteenth century narrative by an ex-slave. And they learn through that all kinds of principals of leadership that they may not encounter through contemporary and examples. And more over then I ask them to take the life in example of Booker T. Washington and apply it to contemporary public administration to see the relevance of ideas that have been around for a long time, but also to encourage us then to what’s missing and where do we go from here, and what other places can we look for information. So I would say, with regards to experience that the more the merrier and those we invite all experience as relevant and meaningful for an education in public administration.

Heidi: Great, thank you very much Dr. Connor and I think then next we should ask Dr. Loney if maybe you would like to start on our next question. It’s the, how current students immediately applied your teaching into their careers. Since we mentioned a little bit about you teaching the capstone course, this is something that I’m particularly interested in hearing about how students are incorporating that teaching.


Dr. Timothy Loney: Thanks Heidi and actually the example I think I gave before from the HR class where they are actually learning skills that they can apply immediately that those are current to the worksite. And I think that’s going to happen throughout all of our courses that we’re teaching. And socially certainly the capstone as sort of a culminating experience for the students and currently we ask them to actually identify a specific policy or organizational structural design challenge that exists in an organization that perhaps their own is certainly one that they are familiar with and to try to assess that situation just as if they were the manager responsible for that situation. Or were in a role of a consultant, and to some degree, a manager has the option to play the role of consultant. That is to say the consultant skills and working with organizations are the same skills that a manager can have as well. This gives them an opportunity to actually put their skills and learning to use, it’s sort of what I call where the rubber hits the road. And it also serves as an accomplishment for them if you will in their portfolio as they go along.
Which reminds me that as they go through the program over two years, and all of our courses they are learning things and they are being required to complete assignments or products and do perhaps again a policy analysis and a policy class. Which could be a very important thing for their future careers, in terms of demonstrating to perspective employers that they do have the ability to accomplish some of the significant tasks that we hope they’ll be able to do. Heidi is that sort of an answer to the question or do I need to touch on something else with that?

Heidi: I think that does actually, thank you very much. That’s very helpful. Actually I remember Dr. Johnson mentioned earlier and ‘Ah-ha’ moment and talking about the students, you know having that light turn on. So I think that’s really relevant towards this questions and Dr. Johnson, can you speak a little bit more towards how your current students are immediately applying this concept?

Dr. Richard Johnson: I’m sorry Heidi I didn’t hear what you just said.

Heidi: Just asking how your current students are applying the concept immediately from what you’re able to see in your perspective.


Dr. Richard Johnson: Sure, I believe that you know, because most of my students are already employed by a professional occupation. A number of them have actually been able to take what they have learned to become project managers or leads within their organization. And I in fact just had lunch with an MPA student he was not an online, but an on the ground student but I think his experiences still would be the same for the online MPA students as well at that is that he took courses from me when he was here at USF and has now graduated, he graduated last spring, and has become the executive director of a non-profit organization. The timing is of course everything in a lot of situations and an executive director was leaving just when this student was about to graduate and he was able to demonstrate that a number of things for I’m sure the rest of the courses in the MPA program were suitable for taking on this new role and new challenges. And he’s having a great time so far he has his hands full but I’m sure that, like I said even our current students in the MPA online program are able to take the theory and the examples of what they’ve been undertaking in my classes and again I’m sure with all my colleagues classes and to turn those into action, and I think that’s one of the things that we are looking for the students to do, to turn what they’re doing and make them a reality make them a livable situation. And to actually have the impact relatively end solutions. Thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Thank you that is perfect, thank you so much Dr. Johnson and I also want to address this question to Dr. Connor, now. As I understand it I believe this MPA program from what I’ve been able to see is one of the few if only that has the leadership ethics course built into it, so I think that is a very unique perspective to have about students applying your teachings into their career. So if you have any anecdotes or any thoughts on that I’d love to hear it.

Dr. Kimberly Connor: Absolutely thank you for inviting that consideration, I do think ethics is a hallmark of our program and certainly as you see from the organization of the courses one of the foundational pieces. As I go through the class with my students I see them applying it immediately and daily. That all of them who are current practitioners, even if they’re not working immediately in the realm of public administration they recognize very quickly how ethics is a decision making process that helps them to advance the public good. And they immediately start applying these principles to the situations in their workplace, but also at home. And we talk about the role that ethics plays in the formation of the whole person. What Jesuits would call the cura personalis; and we recognize that that’s an important part of the education that we offer, is this kind of broader moral development and recognition of our role and of our responsibilities not just as leaders but even as citizens that we are the voices of the very public that we represent. And I think that students get a very strong appreciation for that as we move through ethical theory and applied examples.


And weekly they bring experiences from practice that they are wrestling with and they share with their colleagues whether in small groups or on the discussion board with everyone. And they see the value in taking the additional steps to learn ethical theory, whether it comes from a public administration inflection, like Dr. Cooper does in the book that we use, or whether it comes from Aristotle, who reminds us of what it means to be a virtuous person. So I think that there is no doubt that students I believe after taking leadership ethics come away with the very clear sense of what it means to be a leader and that that is grounded in a kind of, well actually it’s Dean Lori at Harvard calls, moral humility.

And I think that we communicate that very well and our students have an appropriate sense of how they can serve but also what their limitations are and how to work within those limitations when you’re trying to address the needs of so many different constituents. It makes it almost overwhelming to consider. But I think the course in ethics helps give people the poise and the presence and the confidence to be a leader and recognize that they can do so not by neglecting their identity but by bringing it into a full bloom in the service of the public.

Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: And if I may share with everyone, something that a student wrote in the student evaluation, which was kind of funny but also I guess, descriptive, of the course. With respect to this particular ethics course, a student wrote, “thank you for a great course; I can’t wait to start applying these theories and concepts to my colleagues and to my husband”. So just to give you an example of the range that the course has, because it does contribute to, you know, developing your emotional intelligence which is very important in the work place these days, probably one of the first, one of the highest ranking skills that employers are looking for in employees, managers and leaders. It’s just a tremendous course and of course many other courses in the program have very similar characteristics. Thank you.

Dr. Kimberly Connor: And just from a pedagogue point of view for the students that education and emotional intelligence comes not just through content but through process and the way that we design the assignments and the collaborative work that students have to do. They are practicing ethical conduct as they take the class, in their exchanges with each other.


Heidi: That’s a great point Dr. Connor.

Dr. Richard Johnson: You know I’m sorry Heidi, just one additional thing Dr. Nikitenko, I love that email I think that’s great, I never even thought about what we do as applicable to our personal lives, but I’m sure that can be quite the case as well. So thanks for sharing that email with us. I would also add that I think what students get out of our program, is the ability to analyze. You know they’ve got to be able to analyze the theories and the practice and make sense of it and the rest of it. And then it comes out for what it means. In the big question I always ask is, “so what? What does all of this mean, what does it mean to you, what does it mean to me, what does it mean to the larger global community?” And I think most of my students they come away having a better understanding of the material, because of that one simple question, so what, what does all of this mean? I’ve seen great success with that, thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Great thank you very much Dr. Johnson. And it certainly speaks, you know to the University of San Francisco’s mission of changing the world from here. So I think that this next question then is probably a really relevant one we’ve been talking about the philosophy of teaching and what we approach. We have a question that says, this is our live Q&A session, by the way so if anybody else has more questions please send them through and we will be addressing them as time permits and then individually afterwards. We have one question that states, what would you say is the core essence of the MPA program, offered by the University of San Francisco and how does this core essence differentiate from other MPA programs? I think I’d like to address that first to Dr. Loney. Dr. Loney can you speak to the fluorescents of the program?

Dr. Timothy Loney:
Let me start out with that and then let my colleagues chime in on that as well. And let me go back, again to some of the things that others have said. I mean this is a whole list of comprehensive programs to prepare people in all facets of management and leadership in public and non-profit organizations. Obviously we pride ourselves on our heavy focus in the area of both social justice and agnation pedagogue and there’s an overlap there. I think Dr. Connor articulated that very well earlier. And again that’s a fairly unique perspective among universities. So I suppose that would be one way to suggest a distinction perhaps between us and other universities. And let me just let my colleagues hone in on that a little bit as well.


Dr. Richard Johnson: I would add to what Dr. Loney had mentioned really this notion of social justice and Dr. Connor gets a chance to really teach a great deal of this in her ethics course, but for me, one of the reasons why I’m at the University of San Francisco and not at the University of Vermont any longer is because the University of San Francisco, specifically our MPA program is about social justice. We want our students to have an understanding of how people in communities are disenfranchised in this country and the global community just because. So much of my work as a scholar is steeped in social justice. I also try to integrate that as much of that into my courses, whether on ground or online in the MPA program as much as possible. And for me that, you know distinguishes the University of San Francisco’s MPA program because we really are expecting our students to make a difference in what they do in the global community. Thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Great thank you very much Dr. Loney, Dr. Johnson. We have another question; I think that really fits into what we’ve been talking about. The accessibility of the online instructors, a lot of concern for the online students is, not only the sense of community with their students but being able to have that support structure in place should they have questions, should they have crisis, should they need clarification. So the accessibility of the online instructors in important to an online student, Dr. Connor I would like to start with you then, can you speak a little bit to the accessibility and how you interact with your students?

Dr. Kimberly Connor: Well it depends I try to set-up different learning environments so that the online experience replicates as closely as possible, a classroom experience. So we have group work, we have individual work, we have whole class work and I think in these different kinds of settings, you develop different dynamics in exchange. And also start developing ideas about how you should do that responsibly and ethically. And the course then, as it builds community I think builds with it an implicit sense of responsibility, I think to everyone in the class, instructors and students. And that we all respect each other and respond to each other in a timely fashion. Truthfully I’ve never had a problem with students or myself, you know not being responsive. And if anything the online environment encourages a little more contact that you might have otherwise. Because you know I can knock off an email in my jammies that I couldn’t run onto campus to do. So I think that students really don’t need to worry about that. And it is one of the benefits, actually of the online environment. While you may miss the personal contact, we try to compensate for that in the pedagogues that we develop and the relationships that come out of those different ways of providing instruction.


Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: Just to piggy back on that little anecdote one of our online faculty members Dr. Jim Shaw, teaches economic and finance and budgeting courses in this program. And I’ve heard from at least one student that sometimes he gets a response from Dr. Shaw even before he finishes typing his email question. So just to give you an example of how some faculty are extremely quick with response.

Dr. Timothy Loney: Heidi if I can ride on that too. I think one of the other, this is a two way street, is an advantage for both the student and faculty online. And this thought came to me as Dr. Connor was speaking about working in her jammies, and in my case it’s probably my sweat suit. But you know the online modality is potentially a 24/7 operation. And you know again we’re not locked into a physical location and we all have access these days to our communications and media. So we can get in contact with our students and perhaps even much more quickly sometimes than on a ground setting. And you know a ground setting historically, traditionally students show up for four hours one day a week and there may be some conversations during the week with the faculty but it revolves around that in class session and online it’s not that way, we’re there all the time. And so I think that’s a significant advantage for our program over let’s say certainly over a ground program, I guess. Thank you Heidi.

Heidi: Great, thank you very much Dr. Loney. You all make very good points. I have one other question as we wrap up our Q&A session today. Thank you everyone for your questions. If we didn’t get to you today we’ll be sure to follow up with you on an individual basis. This last question, I would like to then just address to Dr. Loney. Since I believe the capstone course might include a group project, correct me if I’m wrong but we have a question about, are there students located in the Bay Area if so do students get together for their projects, do they actually physically meet, the people who are located regionally?

Dr. Timothy Loney: You know at this point we have not had, we will have our capstone later this next year, the first capstone to the online program there should be no reason why groups cannot get together. Obviously a large number of our online students are located in the bay area or northern California. So that will not be ab problem at all. We have students grouped in other physical locations around the country as well, and I think it may be possible for some of them to get together, certainly in person. And clearly with modern technology there are tremendous ways getting contact even though there is a geographical separation and students are doing it. And by the way, depending on the courses we set-up group access and social media outlets for our students to be able to interact with each other just how they would probably do in a ground setting when they are not there for that four hours of physical time. Does that help you?


Heidi: Great Thank you for that into the online world. So I wanted to also make sure to stress that this is an a-synchronists program you are not required to come to campus you are always welcome never required. Join us if you would like to, to walk in commencement ceremony. And as we’ve talked a little bit about we’re grading in our pajamas you can do your homework in your pajamas too, so no big deal. Notes on your screen you’ll see that our application deadline is approaching November 15th for your documentation, start date is January 21st for those of you who we were not able to answer your questions today directly. Please do anticipate a call from Neishma, an email also don’t be shy about calling or emailing Neishma as well. Thank you very much to our faculty panelists and special guests today. Dr. Loney, Dr. Nikitenko, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Connor and thank you to all of you for joining us in the middle of your day. Have a great day.

Dr. Timothy Loney: Thank you.

Dr. Gleb Nikitenko: Thank you everyone we look forward to having you in the program.

Dr. Richard Johnson: Bye.

Dr. Kimberly Connor: Thank you.


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