MPA Program Has Spring 2022 Launching
Toward Addressing State's Social and Economic Issues
An Alabama A&M University program designed to prepare students to help address the needs of a diverse population, as well as the social and economic issues of the state and region will open for graduate students in spring 2022.
The new Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, approved under AAMU’s Andrew Hugine administration, also boasts a curriculum with social, entrepreneurial and business approaches to public service issues and opportunities in local, county and state levels of government.
“AAMU is position to utilize its intellectual capital to prepare leaders who are capable of developing strategic policy initiatives and providing leadership across governmental and corporate ecosystems throughout and outside Alabama,” commented Dr. Michael Orok, professor of political science and public administration. Orok has served three years on the Commission for Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA), the accrediting agency for the nation’s MPA programs.
Orok had a role in bringing the program from concept to reality. The idea was formed in 2006 with the newly renamed “College of Business and Public Affairs.” Orok left AAMU in 2012 and returned in 2019 and immediately began to complete some “unfinished business.” He gained approvals from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
“As the socio-political landscape continues to change in the United States and globally, historically black colleges and universities like AAMU have the moral obligation and imperative to assist in shaping the discourse that will impact sustainable development within the underserved and marginalized communities,” continued Orok, who also serves as interim chair of the Department of Social Sciences. “The MPA program at A&M plans to do just that.”
“Our MPA is a 36-credit hour program, designed to benefit mid-career professionals in the public, private, and non-profit sectors,” said Dr. Amin Sarkar, interim dean of AAMU’s College of Business and Public Affairs. “MPA students seek advancement in their careers and are ready to take on larger leadership and policy-focused roles in their workplace and professional areas.”
According to Sarkar, in order to make an impact, the degree will focus on policy analysis combined with “deep engagement with questions of organizational leadership and ethics, innovation, cost-benefit analysis, and strategy.” He added that the program requires a capstone project/course with a real world client that will apply the interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives students study in the MPA curriculum.
“Congratulations to Drs. Michael Orok and Amin Sarkar for working diligently to prepare documentation for us to acquire Board of Trustees, ACHE and SACS-COC approval to offer this new graduate program,” stated Dr. Daniel Wims, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This has been our plan since reorganizing the academic colleges and departments and including public affairs in the name of the college almost a decade ago. We anticipate that this will be a very attractive, highly enrolled graduate program, and our faculty deserve all the credit for envisioning and developing the curriculum and courses.”
School officials anticipate an initial enrollment in the two-year program of more than 20 full- and part-time students, with the number increasing by 10 students in the first few years.
- Jerome Saintjones