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Impact Newsletter Spring 2012

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D I R E C T O R ' S C O L U M N The Impact of Our Mission Carolina MPA has a simple but powerful mission statement that guides the direction of our program: to prepare public service leaders. While many MPA program missions include the word "leadership," we are actually in the business of preparing students to assume key leadership roles in their organizations, rather than just pursuing careers in public service. Our mission is central to every important decision we make. For instance, it was relatively straightforward for us to revise our curriculum in response to the new mission-based accreditation guidelines from the National Association of Schools of Public A!airs and Administration (NASPAA). And our mission pays dividends in recruitment of new students. Every step of the way, throughout the rigorous process, we are looking for students with potential for leadership. But leaders are not created in a vacuum. In order to ful"ll our mission, we rely on substantial support from two sources: the School of Government and you. Our program is able to emphasize professional development in ways unmatched by other MPA programs. As part of the School of Government, we are integrated with an organization focused on research, training, and technical assistance for state and local government o#cials. This integration allows our students to see government in action. The School of Government also provides the "nancial support needed for our students to obtain research assistantships with School faculty and provides in-kind support that greatly enhances classroom instruction. For example, we needed two electives in law and capital budgeting this academic year to complete our course schedule. Given the speci"c faculty skill sets needed, other MPA programs would face di#culty in o!ering these courses, but I was able to recruit two School of Government faculty members who are experts in these "elds. More important, they are quality instructors. Our alumni provide critical help to our program in numerous ways, including student recruitment, our annual public administration conference, and job and internship placement. In addition, three goals recently added to the Alumni Association by-laws are already adding value to the program: 1. To identify, promote, and secure scholarship opportunities for the MPA program. You have been extremely generous in your donations to the Gordon Whitaker Scholarship Fund, which will provide support for MPA students to help them complete their academic career. Special thanks to Doug Bean '74 for his leadership as chair of the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee. 2. To host and support networking and professional development opportunities for MPA students and alumni. Because of our alumni network, we continue to achieve strong job placement, even in this challenging economy. 3. To provide leadership in an advisory role to faculty and staff members of the MPA program. This year in particular, alumni board members have provided focused, invaluable feedback as we have explored expanding the program with an online option. On February 3, our annual Carolina MPA alumni breakfast brought together nearly 70 alumni, students, faculty, and sta! at the 2012 North Carolina City and County Management Association Winter Seminar in Research Triangle Park. Looking around the room as I introduced myself, I saw alumni who have attained leadership positions across the state, sitting side by side with students who have attained leadership positions across the state, and students who are our future leaders. I saw our mission in action. William C. Rivenbark MPA Program Director William C. Rivenbark My door is always open. Please visit if you are in Chapel Hill or contact me anytime with questions or suggestions about our MPA program at rivenbark@sog.unc.edu or 919.962.3707. 2

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