UTSA MPA program earns national accreditation

By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist

(Aug. 7, 2006)--The master of public administration (MPA) degree program offered by the Department of Public Administration in UTSA's College of Public Policy has earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) through the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) for master's programs in public affairs and administration.

The Washington, D.C.-based association has granted more than half of the 253 member institutions offering master's degrees in public administration with the seven-year accreditation, but this marks the first accredited program in South Texas, said Jerrell Coggburn, Department of Public Administration chair.

Coggburn said the two-year voluntary accreditation process allowed MPA program faculty members to self-reflect and ask questions about the program's mission and objectives. Earning the national accreditation will create more visibility for the UTSA program, Coggburn said.

"The faculty has worked with its stakeholders for many years to develop a strong MPA program," Coggburn said. "It's a milestone for the program and UTSA."

UTSA launched its master's degree in public administration in 1982, but it wasn't until 2003 that it set out to make national accreditation a top goal.

Jesse Zapata, UTSA vice provost for the Downtown Campus and dean of the College of Public Policy, believes the accreditation heightens the program's visibility to a national level.

"The fact that our program in public administration has been accredited by NASPAA means that it has met the high standards established by the association," Zapata said. "In turn, this means that the community and our students are assured the delivery of a high-quality program."

NASPAA accreditation requires candidates of an MPA program to learn human resources, budgeting and financial processes; information systems; policy and program formulation; implementation and evaluation; decision making and problem solving; political, legal, economic and social institution processes; organization and management concepts and behavior; and ethics.

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