Beginning this fall, Worcester State University will offer a Master of Public Management (MPM) degree, the only MPM program offered in Massachusetts, as well as a Master of Public Administration & Policy (MPAP) degree.
The University developed these two new master’s programs to help students meet the evolving needs of their communities. Both programs will build upon Worcester State’s Master of Nonprofit Management (NPM), which was established over 45 years ago.
Shiko Gathuo, Ph.D., director of the Nonprofit Management program, led the development of the MPAP and MPM programs in response to an increasing number of students interested in obtaining graduate degrees in the fields of public management and administration.
The NPM program received a curriculum overhaul in 2009 to incorporate the needs of public sector employees in response to these inquiries as well as a growing national trend of programs offering various combinations of nonprofit education and public policy. However, Gathuo, who collaborated with Thomas E. Conroy, Ph.D., chair of the Urban Studies Department, and others, ultimately decided to differentiate the degrees to serve the needs of nonprofit managers, public sector managers, and policy analysts, while taking advantage of common core courses and resources of the NPM program.
Gathuo noted the programs would support several of the University’s strategic goals, including enrolling students from various academic disciplines through 4+1 articulation agreements with other institutions. Like the current NPM program, the new programs are designed to attract students spanning multiple generations, women, and an ethnically diverse student population.
In terms of job demand, the degrees would also support the commonwealth’s growing workforce needs, as a nine percent increase in jobs related to those fields is projected for the region in the next decade. Gathuo also notes the MPAP and MPM programs would particularly serve students looking to work with the city of Worcester or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, given the internship and networking opportunities offered by the school.
The Urban Studies Department provides different outlets for students’ interests and passions, including City Lab, a research instituteactively engaged in collaborative research among students, faculty, and community partners on issues important to minority groups, immigrants, and refugees. The Urban Action Institute, which is involved in various public service programs like Thea’s Pantry, an on-campus food pantry, as well as a community teaching garden, is another resource for incoming students for these new nonprofit programs.
Nancy Moses, program coordinator in the city of Worcester, says that participating in the NPM program helped her achieve her current managerial position.
“I started as an administrative assistant and eventually worked my way up,” Moses says. “I knew if I wanted to go higher I would have to get more credentials.”
Beth Jarret, head of acquisitions at the American Antiquarian Society, also credits her current position to her Worcester State degree.
“My boss was retiring and she encouraged me to apply for her position as soon as I completed my master’s in nonprofit management,” she says. “What I appreciate the most about the program was the total experience – community, total mind and wellness – taking care of each other.”
Kirshner Donis is the associate director of admissions at Worcester State University where he obtained a master’s degree in the NPM program. He says his experience as a student helped him network and learn all aspects of the nonprofit world.
“As an employee of a public university located in the second-largest city in New England, one engages closely with the local public school district, community based organizations, and a variety of agencies that assist individuals to further their college education,” Donis says. The NPM program provided him with a better understanding of how nonprofit organizations should operate, which he says has been of great benefit in his work with advisory boards and committees.
Students can enroll in the new MPAP and MPM programs this fall. To request information and learn more, please visit:https://www.worcester.edu/MPAP-MPM/.
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