Impact Newsletter Spring 2013

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D I R E C T O R ' S C O L U M N Twenty alumni have agreed to serve on the 2013 MPA alumni board, including Marcy Onieal, who is serving as president. The goals of the alumni board, which are contained in the bylaws, provide strategic direction for both the board and the MPA program in decision- making. At its February meeting, the board decided to work on strate- gies to expand alumni engagement, including increasing attendance at the annual conference, to be held November 7–8, 2013, at the School of Government. Making alumni engagement a top priority could not have come at a better time. The MPA program is currently recruiting for residential and online students. Our applicants often have multiple options as they make decisions about where to attend graduate school. We promote the multiple advantages of pursuing a Carolina MPA: t Our mission statement of preparing public service leaders t Engaged faculty members who work directly with public o"cials t The option to concentrate in a particular public service area t The location of the program within the School of Government t Our strong history of alumni engagement Our ability to articulate how our alumni are involved in the program, from participating in the application and recruitment process to helping us maintain a high job placement rate, often provides us the edge we need to successfully recruit top applicants into our program. As additional top-ranked MPA programs move into the online arena, alumni engagement will be a critical recruiting tool for Carolina. We are now competing for online students against other MPA programs including the University of Southern California and Indiana University. Our !rst cohort of 10 online students began classes on January 15. Applicants for the online program submit the same graduate school application as residential students and participate in a similar interview process. This !rst online cohort has an average work experience of approximately 10 years, with the majority working in local government administration. During their interviews, many of these applicants mentioned alumni engagement as a reason for wanting to pursue a Carolina MPA degree. The Alumni Board will ask for your participation in a survey to discover why alumni participate in MPA activities and what challenges prevent participation. The goal is to gain insight on how we might expand alumni engagement in order to strengthen the MPA program overall and support our attempts to recruit top applicants. I am personally committed to alumni engagement and willing to help the board—and you—in any way I can to strengthen this invaluable dimension of our MPA program. William C. Rivenbark rivenbark@sog.unc.edu 919.962.3707 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 William C. Rivenbark MPA Program Director Professor of Public Administration and Government

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