Impact Newsletter Summer 2012

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D I R E C T O R ' S C O L U M N The loss of any leader to an organization causes challenges that must be addressed. The loss of a leader after 39 years of service is especially challenging to our relatively small MPA program. We congratulate and celebrate with Professor Gordon Whitaker as he enters into retirement this summer after an outstanding career with Carolina MPA, during which he mentored many of you as you pursued public service careers. At last fall's Dean's Dinner, several of you described Gordon's impact as "simply priceless." While we cannot replace Gordon Whitaker, I want to assure you that Carolina MPA remains committed to mentoring students during their tenure in the program and throughout their careers, and to building and maintaining relationships with alumni. A critical part of this process is to maintain a faculty that embraces an active alumni association—an attribute of our program that I would argue is unmatched by other MPA programs around the country. Minimizing the Loss When Gordon announced his retirement, we quickly went to work on strategies to minimize the impact of this loss. The !rst step was to ask Professor Willow Jacobson to assume Gordon's teaching responsibilities. The second step was to hire Professor Leisha DeHart-Davis, who comes to us from the University of Kansas, where she was doctoral program director for the School of Public A"airs and Administration. She is not only an excellent instructor and productive researcher, but she understands the role and importance of alumni. Professor DeHart-Davis will teach our core course on human resource management and provide leadership to our program. Strengthening Communication We also must continue to strengthen the lines of com- munication between our faculty and alumni, responding to the alumni board's subcommittee report on this speci!c issue. I am traveling this summer, as I did last year, to meet and talk with many of you about the program and alumni concerns. We will focus these discussions on the activities of our current and new faculty members and our continued e"orts to strengthen Carolina MPA. Ful!lling our Mission We have made signi!cant progress toward ful!lling our mission of preparing public service leaders, given the number of alumni in leadership positions in government and nonpro!t organizations. A major part of this success can be traced to the Carolina MPA network, a dimension of our program that we keep in focus as we hire new faculty and as our alumni base continues to grow. This network is fundamental to our recruiting e"orts, internships, job placements, and just as importantly, career advancement. I want to challenge faculty and alumni to continue strengthening current relationships as we build new ones for the future. If you have ideas about how we can work together on this, please contact me. William C. Rivenbark MPA Program Director Professor of Public Administration and Government 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

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