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PA 690 Master's Project



Guidelines and Procedures

I. PURPOSES

The Master's project paper is designed to be the culminating experience for our MPA students. Its primary goals are to:

1. Provide students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned and make a contribution toward solving an administrative or management-related problem.

2. Certify administrative (both theoretical and technical) competence for those students completing the program.

3. Allow students an opportunity to further customize their MPA curriculum with a project that is personally and/or professionally relevant.

II. OPTIONS

Within the framework established by the academic standards applied to these projects, the student is encouraged to select his or her own topic or problem that relates to public administration, broadly defined. Ideally, a student will have been stimulated toward further study by a concept, technique, issue, or problem raised in one or more of the courses they have taken during their graduate career. The student may select a project that addresses some issue at his or her place of employment.

AMONG MANY OTHER OPTIONS, A PROJECT MIGHT:

1. Create and implement a new administrative or operational technique for an office that improves the workplace. Students in the past have created new procedures in data base management or information technology, have prepared and conducted a new risk analysis, and initiated and coordinated a strategic plan.

2. Conduct a policy analysis assessing the impact of a governmental policy (at any level), using the analytical tools learned mostly in PA 522/523 and PA 620. Students have conducted impact analyses of a local government's economic development policies, of a downtown development authority's policies, and of Michigan School Finance Report proposals.

3. Develop and conduct a program evaluation or needs assessment for an organization. This uses skills learned mostly in PA 655. Past projects have included evaluations of several local nonprofit organizations, and a few local government offices.

The possible topics and venues are quite broad. One stipulation: you may not use your normal job responsibilities to count toward the PA 690 project. This avoids receiving life experience credits for work you are already doing. However, if you can demonstrate that because of this project you are going beyond your normal duties at work, then the topic might be considered appropriate. All topics will be cleared with Dr. Carr.

III. REGISTRATION

Once all core MPA program courses are completed, students may register for PA 690 - Master's Project through SAIL. Any students that register for this course prematurely will be contacted by the program coordinator.

IV. EVALUATION

Final PA 690-Master's Project papers will be graded utilizing the following rubric:

Competency #1: To lead and manage in public or nonprofit governance

Learning objective:  
Contribute to policy or practices of a government or nonprofit organization by delivering recommendations rooted in theory and/or best practices

Exceeds expectations

Meets expectations

Fails to meet  expectations

N/A

To what extent does the work clearly identify a problem or an issue?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work provide concrete suggestions?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work contain clear steps to be taken to achieve recommendations?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work show that suggestions are rooted in literature of best practices?

 

 

 

 

 

Competency #2: To participate in and contribute to the public and nonprofit management process

Learning objective:

Contribute to policy or practices of a government or nonprofit organization by actively and effectively engaging with its administrative practices

Exceeds expectations

Meets expectations

Fails to meet  expectations

N/A

To what extent does the topic engage the public sector placing real-world issues within appropriate theoretical frameworks and/or applied research?

 

 

 

 

To what extent is the analysis within appropriate theoretical frameworks and/or applied research?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does analysis appropriately integrate all relevant stakeholders?

 

 

 

 

 

Competency #3: To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions

Learning objective: Contribute to policy or practices of a government or nonprofit organization by defining and diagnosing decision making situations and collecting and analyzing data to develop effective courses of action

Exceeds expectations

Meets expectations

Fails to meet  expectations

N/A

To what extent does the work include descriptions of actual or theoretical decision making that is informed by skills in reading, writing, and analysis?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work provide an appropriate high quality analysis?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work propose an appropriate course of action based on analysis?

 

 

 

 

 

Competency #4: To articulate and apply a public service perspective

Learning objective:  
Contribute to policy or practices of a government or nonprofit organization by identifying fundamental values of public sector management policies and practices

Exceeds expectations

Meets expectations

Fails to meet  expectations

N/A

To what extent does the work provide analysis and recommendations that are responsive to the organizational mission?

 

 

 

 

To what extent are the recommendations efficient, effective and equitable?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work appropriately consider ethical standards?

 

 

 

 

 

Competency #5: To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and dynamic workforce and citizenry

Learning objective: Contribute to policy or practices of a government or nonprofit organization by communicating effectively with a diverse and dynamic workforce and citizenry through oral interactions and written documents

Exceeds expectations

Meets expectations

Fails to meet  expectations

N/A

To what extent does the work effectively establish its framework and communicate analysis?

 

 

 

 

To what extent does the work appropriately consider equity and diversity?