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D I R E C T O R ' S C O l u m n One of the benefits of being MPA director is the opportunity to interact with other program directors and faculty members around the country at confer- ences and workshops, including the annual conference of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administra- tion. In addition to obtaining information on accreditation standards, program administra- tion, and teaching techniques, I always come away from these events with a sense of pride in Carolina MPA because of the advantages we have over our counterparts: • We are part of the UNC School of Government, a leader in applied research and technical assistance for public officials. • We admit and graduate outstanding students who carry out our mission as they become public service leaders within their respective organizations and communities. • We have extremely active and engaged alumni who remain committed to the success of our program and provide much-needed financial support that helps us attract high-quality students from diverse backgrounds. There is another dimension of Carolina MPA that I want to highlight—the commitment of our faculty to becoming nationally recognized thought leaders in the study and practice of public administration. I look at this commitment from two different perspectives: disciplinary and programmatic. the Disciplinary perspective In order to maintain and improve the national ranking of our program, it is imperative that we have faculty members who contribute regularly to public administration scholarship and who are regarded as thought leaders by their peers around the country. David Ammons' work to advance performance management in public sector organizations is an example. David has published his research in such journals as Public Administration Review and Public Performance and Management Review. He has also worked with local governments across North Carolina on the implementation of performance management systems. The American Society for Public Administration selected David as this year's recipient of the Joseph Wholey Distinguished Scholarship Award for his work in the field of public sector performance. On behalf of the program, I congratulate David and thank him for helping us advance our presence in the academic community. the programmatic perspective Nationally recognized thought leadership among faculty is important to our annual student recruitment process, where we highlight that unique combination of both academic and practical approaches as a strength of our program. Faculty members lecture on public administra- tion but also on leadership and management best practices based on their work with public officials through the School of Government. Because of this practical expertise, many of our faculty members are called upon to publish books for a national audience of local government officials through the International City/County Management Association University. At public administration conferences, I also feel a sense of pride when talking about the kind of dedication—by faculty, staff, and alumni—that we enjoy at Carolina MPA. This commitment to our mission of preparing public service leaders makes our program the very best! 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 Professor and Director William C. Rivenbark

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