Master of Public Administration (MPA)

NASPAA Logo - School of Public Affairs

The master’s degree program in Public Administration (MPA) at the University of New Mexico was established in 1969 and is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). The program is proud to serve a highly diverse student body. The School of Public Administration has the highest percentage of minority students of any graduate degree program at the University of New Mexico.

Mission Statement

The MPA program prepares students to enter leadership and management positions and advance their positions in federal, state, local, tribal, nonprofit, and international agencies. Students acquire critical knowledge and skills to help them address ethical, equity, and managerial challenges in a complex and diverse world.

Course Formats

The MPA program is offered in both  traditional and synchronous-online  formats. To accommodate mid-career professionals, all of our classes are offered in the evening and on Saturdays.

Learning Assurance Plan

The School is accredited and adheres to the standards of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA). The standards include the following goals for student learning:

NASPAA Standard 5.1 Universal Required Competencies

As the basis for its curriculum, the program will adopt a set of required competencies related to its mission and public service values.
The required competencies will include five domains: the ability...

  1. to lead and manage in public governance;
  2. to participate in and contribute to the policy process;
  3. to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions;
  4. to articulate and apply a public service perspective;
  5. to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.

To achieve competency in each of these five domains, the School specifies six hierarchical categories and 22 components of Student Learning Outcomes (SLO).

UNM MPA Student Learning Outcomes and Associated NASPAA Domains

  1. MPA graduates will demonstrate knowledge of...
    • Organizational behavior (NASPAA 1)
    • Human resource management (NASPAA 1)
    • Public budgeting and financial management (NASPAA 1)
    • Strategic planning and strategic management (NASPAA 1)
    • Program evaluation and performance measurement (NASPAA 1 & 2)
    • Comparative and case analysis (NASPAA 3)
    • Information and network management (NASPAA 3)
  2. MPA graduates will demonstrate the ability to identify...
    • Organizational challenges (NASPAA 3 & 4)
  3. MPA graduates will analyze policies and programs by applying appropriate...
    • Information technology and data management tools (NASPAA 3)
    • Quantitative and/or qualitative analysis methods (NASPAA 3)
    • Ethical research standards (NASPAA 4 & 5)
  4. MPA graduates will appropriately and effectively apply...
    • Management theory and organizational analysis (NASPAA 1 & 3)
  5. MPA graduates will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of...
    • Public, private, and non-profit sector interactions (NASPAA 4)
    • Managing diversity in the global environment (NASPAA 5)
  6. MPA graduates will demonstrate excellent...
    • Verbal communication ability (NASPAA 4 & 5)
    • Written (expository and analytical) communication ability (NASPAA 4 & 5)
Competencies are learned through face-to-face and distance delivery courses, internships, guided studies, and capstone projects or theses. Additional learning takes place through extra-curricular and supplemental activities such as lectures, clubs, Graduate Resource Center (GRC) tutoring and classes, and similar use of university and community resources.

Methods of SLO Assessment

Direct measures for each SLO component are obtained from embedded core course assessments and associated scoring conventions and from the standardized thesis or capstone project scoring matrix.
The performance target for the current three year period is for 75% of students to achieve satisfactory (basic competence) or better performance on each SLO. Student performance in each required course is sampled one time per year, in either Fall or Spring semester.

Additional Learning Assessment Methods and Measures

Indirect information regarding the achievement of the program’s learning outcomes is obtained using the following measures and methods:

Measures:

  1. Employment of graduates
    • At entry to program
    • At graduation
    • Three years after graduation
  2. Time to degree
    • % graduating within three years of first enrollment
    • % graduating within four years % graduating within seven years
  3. Perceptions/opinions of curriculum and instruction quality as effective preparation for the knowledge, skills, responsibilities, and values required for students’ employment
  4. Perceptions/opinions of improvements needed

Methods:

  1. Enrollment data review
  2. Course record review (grading patterns, enrollment, completion rates)
  3. Student evaluations of courses, per university mandate
  4. Annual faculty meeting devoted to learning outcomes review
  5. Other faculty meeting discussions
  6. Annual consultation with Advisory Board or similar community focus group
  7. Tri-annual surveys of current students, alumni and employers
  8. Student exit surveys each semester
  9. Annual faculty performance reviews
    • Peer evaluations of teaching
    • Self-reflection on teaching
Each Fall semester, a dedicated faculty meeting is held to review assessment data collected in the previous academic year. The faculty may elect to make immediate changes if they identify opportunities for improvement that can be implemented right away or propose larger strategic initiatives that can be elaborated in subsequent semesters. In addition, the SPA Curriculum Committee uses the assessment information in its on-going review and improvement of the curriculum.

Contact

Kun Huang, Ph.D.
MPA Program Coordinator
khuang@unm.edu
(505) 277-7757