Department of Public Policy and Administration

College of Business and Public Management

Graduate Center
1160 McDermott Drive, Suite 101
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2438
Fax: 610-436-3047
E-mail: mpa@wcupa.edu
Department of Public Policy and Administration
Dr. Turner, Chairperson and M.P.A. Program Director
Dr. Phillips, D.P.A Director

Mission of the Department and Program

The mission of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, doctor of public administration program, and the master of public administration (M.P.A.) program at West Chester University is to provide high-quality, accessible public service education for a diverse group of emerging and existing public service leaders. This department prepares students to manage and lead across boundaries of the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. A community of accomplished scholars and practitioners instructs and mentors students in pursuing the public interest with accountability and transparency; serving professionally with competence, efficiency, and objectivity; acting ethically to uphold the public trust; and demonstrating respect, equity, and fairness in dealings with citizens and fellow public servants. The M.P.A. program, with its affiliated Center for Social and Economic Policy Research, provides community access to faculty expertise, applied scholarship, and guidance in the practice of public affairs, administration, and policy.

Doctor of Public Administration Program

The Doctor of Public Administration degree at West Chester University is designed to meet regional employer and student needs by preparing individuals to advance the practice of public affairs and administration at the highest levels. D.P.A. courses will focus on the development of core competencies in the areas of strategic management, public sector economic and financial decision-making, and policy advocacy and leadership.  Through a sequence of three methodology courses, students will be prepared to engage in the highest levels of program and policy evaluation.  The acquisition of methodological competence through the evaluation lens will assist students in identifying the most effective and efficient solutions to the problems they encounter in practice. In consultation with an advisor, concentration courses will be selected from among the departments of Public Policy & Administration, Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, and Graduate Social Work. Finally, students will complete a capstone project that demonstrates a high level of competence in applying the D.P.A. student learning outcomes to the solution of an actual organizational or public problem/issue.

At the end of the D.P.A. program, students will be able:

  1. To lead and manage in public governance: the ability to appraise both the internal and external organizational environment, including the culture, politics, and institutional setting, and to use this knowledge to lead and manage personnel, programs, policy and outcomes.
  2. To participate in and contribute to the public policy process: the ability to understand the policy making process, including defining the problem, facilitating stakeholder involvement in agenda-setting, formulating, implementing, and evaluating policies and developing the expertise to effectively contribute to the policy-making process.
  3. To analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions:  the ability to evaluate and synthesize information in order to propose solutions for public problems, think critically by demonstrating both procedural and conceptual knowledge, analyze data using a variety of research methods, and make evidence-based and ethical decisions regarding public policy and organizational outcomes.
  4. To articulate and apply a public service perspective:  the ability to understand and apply public service values appropriate to public affairs, administration, and policy.
  5. To communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry: the ability to respond thoughtfully to diversity both in the workplace and the citizenry and work productively in teams, including interacting effectively, demonstrating composure, professionalism, and respect for others, and sharing information, expertise, and resources.

Master of Public Administration Program

The Department of Public Policy and Administration offers the master of public administration (M.P.A.). The M.P.A. is a professional degree with areas of concentration in general public administration, human resource management, and nonprofit administration. In addition, graduate certificates, which can be coupled with the M.P.A., are offered in health-care administration, sport management and athletics, and urban and regional planning.

The degree is designed to equip students with the skills necessary to enhance the field of public service through positions both inside and outside government in the nonprofit and even private sector, e.g., as consultants to governmental organizations or as governmental service providers. The M.P.A. curriculum provides students with a foundation in the practice of public administration. Beyond that, students earning the degree will possess a high level of competency in administrative processes for the public and nonprofit sectors.

The curriculum is designed for individuals with professional work experience who want to enhance their administrative and public management skills, as well as pre-service students who do not have professional experience. Students who lack work experience will incorporate a relevant internship or other job experiences into their programs.

All applicants to one of West Chester University’s graduate programs will be held to the graduate admissions requirements. When applicable, additional requirements for admission into specific department program(s) may be listed below.

D.P.A. Degree Admissions Requirements

D.P.A. Admissions Committee will require/consider the following data points in making an admissions recommendation:

  • Master's degree, from a regionally accredited college or university. Students whose master's degrees are not in public administration, public affairs, policy analysis, political science, public health or nonprofit management or a related field, and or do not have relevant work experience may be required to complete additional coursework in public administration.
  • GRE Requirement: Needed for all individuals with a master’s GPA of lower than 3.85.
  • Three letters of recommendation (2 letters of recommendation from faculty in the student’s masters program and 1 letter from an employer)
  • Supplemental Application Questions
  • Sample of professional writing
  • Resume or vita

M.P.A. Degree Admissions Requirements

Students should submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • Official academic transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, demonstrating the achievement of an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (Students who do not meet this requirement may be considered for provisional status.)
  • Completed graduate application, including a statement of how the M.P.A. furthers the individual’s professional goals
  • Official academic transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended at both the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Two letters of reference from current or former supervisors who can attest to the applicant’s management potential
  • Resume

All students in graduate programs are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the graduate catalog. When applicable, additional policies for specific department programs(s) may be listed below.

D.P.A. Comprehensive Exam Requirements

After completing the administration core and methods sequence, students are required to sit for a comprehensive examination. Students will be required to successfully pass a written qualifying exam before enrolling in DPA 803.  The qualifying exam will cover content from both the core and methods courses. An oral exam may be required of students with noted deficiencies in their written qualifying exams. Students not passing the qualifying exam on the first try will be permitted only one additional attempt.

Associate Professors

Amanda Olejarski (2015)

B.A., Rutgers University; M.P.A., Rutgers University; Ph.D., Virginia Tech

Allison H. Turner (2010)

Director, M.P.A Program

Chairperson, Public Policy and Administration

B.A., Centre College; M.P.A., Ph.D., University of Louisville

Assistant Professors

Mark W. Davis (2013)

B.S., Washington University; M.P.A., Indiana University

Susan Fiorentino (2013)

B.A., West Chester University; M.A., J.D., Villanova University

Jeremy N. Phillips (2012)

B.A., University of Southern Indiana; M.P.A., Western Kentucky University; Ph.D., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Michelle L. Wade (2013)

B.S., M.P.A., Missouri State University; Ph.D., Southern Illinois University

R. Lorraine Bernotsky (1996)

B.A., Messiah College; M.A., Temple University; M.Phil, D.Phil., University of Oxford

Jeffery L. Osgood (2009)

B.S., Austin Peay State University; M.P.A., Western Kentucky University; Ph.D., University of Louisville

How to Read Course Descriptions

DPA

DPA 700. Pre-Doctoral Seminar in Public Policy and Administration. 1 Credit.

The pre-doctoral seminar explores the development of the doctorate of public administration. Issues of effective leadership in the practice of public policy and administration are explored. Special emphasis is placed on knowledge and theory application by those with advanced practice doctorates in the field.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 701. Advanced Practice and Applied Theories of Public Policy and Administration. 3 Credits.

This course engages students in an advanced examination of the scope and theory of public administration. Emphasis is placed on how the evolution and diversification of public policy and administration theory has impacted practice. Coursework will train students in the identification and evaluation of lessons or knowledge derived from the theoretical literature.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 702. Strategic Public Sector Management and Governance. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on the key internal and external factors that drive strategic management and governance within the public sector. Issues related to the management of human capital in cooperation, collaboration, strategic planning, and performance measurement within and among organizations are explored.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 703. Advanced Public Sector Economic and Financial Decision Making. 3 Credits.

This course trains students on the use of economic and financial management tools and theories to evaluate the impact of public policies and fiscal decisions. Emphasis is placed on the application of economic and budget theory to financial decision making in the fields of public administration, and policy. Particular attention is paid to economic and budgetary functions, including: control, management, planning, policy, and collaboration.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 704. Advocacy and Leadership in Public Policy and Administration. 3 Credits.

This course highlights the unique role public administrators play in the formation and implementation of public policy. Students are trained in strategies and skills to influence public policy decision-making to maximize policy outcomes for the communities and individuals they serve.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 705. Research Design for Program and Policy Evaluation. 3 Credits.

This course covers proper design of empirical research. While research design is discussed broadly, an emphasis is placed on common quantitative and qualitative designs used by public sector practitioners. Topics covered in the course include issues related to proper measurement, sampling, and data collection. Students will learn to track program and policy outcomes and establish causation.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 706. Quantitative Methods of Program and Policy Evaluation. 3 Credits.

This course introduces statistical theories and techniques commonly used by public sector managers in policy analysis and program evaluation. Topics include probability theory, statistical inference, and advanced statistical techniques such as multivariate regression, regression with limited dependent variables, and time-series analysis.
Pre / Co requisites: DPA 706 requires a prerequisite of DPA 705.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 707. Qualitative Methods of Program and Policy Evaluation. 3 Credits.

This course prepares students to properly design and implement qualitative research techniques for policy analysis and program evaluation. Topics include case studies, interviewing, focus groups, participant observations, ethnography, and document analysis.
Pre / Co requisites: DPA 707 requires a prerequisite of DPA 705.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 801. Capstone Seminar I: Research Questions and Framing the Literature. 3 Credits.

The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. The Capstone Seminar I is the first in a series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the identification of research questions and tracing the relevant literature.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 802. Capstone Seminar II: Data and Measurements. 3 Credits.

The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. The Capstone Seminar II is the second in a series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the identification and collection of data and the formulation of appropriation measurement techniques.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 803. Capstone Seminar III: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis. 3 Credits.

The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. The Capstone Seminar III is the third in a series of four courses designed to guide and support students in the evaluation of data using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Distance education offering may be available.

DPA 804. Capstone Seminar IV: Findings and Recommendations. 3 Credits.

The DPA Capstone Seminar is a series of four courses whereby students demonstrate mastery of required competencies through the completion of a final culminating independent applied research project. The Capstone Seminar IV is the fourth in a series of four courses designed to guide and support students in completing the capstone project by formulating findings and recommendations.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA

PPA 500. Foundations of Public Service. 3 Credits.

Introduces students to the practice and discipline of public administration. Core functions of the field are surveyed including: organization theory, public personnel administration, and budgeting and finance.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 501. Research Methods in Public Administration. 3 Credits.

Application of the logic of scientific methodology and research design construction to the practice and discipline of public administration. Emphasizes hypothesis development and testing, data collection, measurement problems, and theory application.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 502. Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to the practice of policy analysis and program evaluation. Emphasis is placed on the applied nature of both. Students are introduced to both the quantitative and qualitative methods of evaluation.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 503. Public Budgeting & Finance. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to the principles and procedures of public budgeting and finance. Emphasis is placed on the budgeting process.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 504. Public Human Resource Management. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to human resource management in the public and non profit sectors. Topics include: federal and state employment laws, job analysis, recruitment and selection, performance evaluation, compensation and benefits, training and development, labor-management relations and human resource information technology.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 505. Public Sector Organization Theory. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to the study of organization theory within the context of the public sector. Issues of organization design and effectiveness are explored. Schools of thought include: classical, neoclassical, human resources, modern structural, organizational culture and open systems theory.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 510. Topics in Public Administration. 3 Credits.

Intensive study of selected topics in public administration current to the interest sand needs of students.
Repeatable for Credit.

PPA 511. Technologies for Public Administrators. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to the technologies of public policy and administration. Topics include: e-government (web based service delivery), computer software and networks, geographic information systems, and web presence.

PPA 512. Communications for Public Administrators. 3 Credits.

Development of communication skills for the effective writing of letters, memos, reports, and proposals. The course will survey communication issues specific to public and nonprofit management.

PPA 513. Law for Public Administrators. 3 Credits.

A survey of the legal environment of public administration. Topics include: the development of and trends in administrative law, including the rights, duties and liabilities of public officials.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 514. American Public Policy. 3 Credits.

Survey of literature; examination of approaches; discussion of concepts and issues in the field of American politics and policy processes.

PPA 530. Topics in Nonprofit Administration. 3 Credits.

Intensive study of selected topics in nonprofit administration that are current to the interests and needs of students.
Repeatable for Credit.

PPA 531. Foundations in Non Profit Administration. 3 Credits.

Introduces students to the practice of non profit administration. Core functions of the field are surveyed including: financial and organizational management, role of boards, and strategic planning.

PPA 532. Grant Writing. 3 Credits.

Art of grant writing via proposal development processes. Targeting proposals to public , private and non profit agencies.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Summer.

PPA 533. Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials. 3 Credits.

This course emphasizes the concepts and tools necessary for understanding the fundraising process. Topics include relationship building, the solicitation process, specific fundraising strategies, and ethical considerations.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 534. Nonprofit Program Evaluation and Assessment. 3 Credits.

Examines performance measurement and outcomes assessment as they relate to managing nonprofit organizations. An emphasis will be placed on the process of assessment and closing the loop by incorporating assessment outcomes into decision making and planning.

PPA 535. Strategic Management for Non Profit Organizations. 3 Credits.

This course is an advanced management course in the Nonprofit Concentration of the MPA degree program, and is designed to prepare students for a career in executive management in public sector organizations. The course examines the overall concepts of management and strategy in the nonprofit and government settings, and the role of board and executive leadership in providing strategic direction for the organization. The course examines topics of special importance in the governance and strategic management of public sector organizations, including organization development, board leadership, strategic planning, human resource management, organizational performance and effectiveness, and marketing.

PPA 550. Topics in HR Management. 3 Credits.

Intensive study of selected topics in human resource management that are current to the interests and needs of students.
Repeatable for Credit.

PPA 551. Staffing and Development. 3 Credits.

Examines all legal and regulatory factors affecting staff selection and development. Includes all applicable federal laws and practices as well as employee orientation, training, and development.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 552. Employee Relations. 3 Credits.

Emphasizes employee relationships with management, particularly in a nonunion environment. Covers issues such as policy formulation, compliant systems, employee rights, methodology of performance appraisals, employee morale and motivation, and factors affecting employee health, safety, and security.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Spring.

PPA 553. Labor Relations. 3 Credits.

Analyzes labor-management relationships, particularly with respect to federal laws and regulations, administration of labor contracts, mediation, and arbitration processes. Incorporates all legal aspects of collective bargaining as well as related practices, and strategies of negotiation, unfair labor practices, and the management of organization, union relations.
Distance education offering may be available.

PPA 554. Compensation Analysis and Benefits Planning. 3 Credits.

Examines the legal and regulatory factors affecting compensation and benefit administration within the public and nonprofit sectors. Reviews compensation philosophies and economic factors affecting pay plans, as well as the type and characteristics of specific compensation and benefit programs.

PPA 600. Capstone Seminar in Public Administration. 3 Credits.

This course integrates knowledge from the curriculum and uses it to demonstrate mastery of required competencies to complete a capstone portfolio. Students will also submit their required competencies assessment portfolio.
Repeatable for Credit.

PPA 601. Public Policy and Administration Internship. 3-6 Credits.

Intensive field placement in a public sector or nonprofit organization through faculty guidance and supervision. Students will be required to complete a project as part of their internship.
Repeatable for Credit.

PPA 602. Professional Seminar in Public Administration. 3 Credits.

A course designed to provide students with an equivalent experience to that of an internship in the public sector. Students will interact with practicing public administrators and non-profit professionals on a weekly basis and engage in assigned readings of case studies focused on the practice of public administrations. Students are required to spend an intensive two to three day period of time with a selected public sector or nonprofit organization. Lastly, as a class, students will complete a public service project over the course of a semester. Students are strongly encouraged to take the internship and enrollment in this course requires the permission the program director.