MPA Program Foundations

Overview | Foundations | Curriculum | Faculty

The MPA curriculum is built around three program foundations of systems thinking, responsible leadership for all stakeholders, and public administration fundamentals.

Systems Thinking

Principles of systems thinking and sustainability ground the entire curriculum and are woven into every course. A whole-systems orientation rests on coursework in systems thinking, sustainability literacy, ethics, and social justice. Students learn to apply these concepts to shape business strategy and practice through:

  • Social, Economic, and Ecological Systems

    Understand the interdependencies of social, economic and ecological problems and those of business, government and civil society, as well as how to develop integrated solutions.

  • Organizations, Institutions, and Policy

    Conceptualize the interconnections of large systems and apply systems-thinking principles and tools to design and plan public policy and administrative models.

  • Policy Modeling

    Apply systems-thinking principles and tools to design public policy.

Responsible Leadership for All Stakeholders

The transition to a sustainable future requires the capacity to engender positive change through varying spheres of influence, from the self to the team, to the organization and ultimately to society as a whole. The coursework is designed to build competencies in personal efficacy, resilience, adaptability, relationship management, and organizational change by focusing on:

  • Insight, Creativity, and Leading for the Long Term

    Practice creativity, self-assessment and ethical decision-making, and forge a shared commitment to systemic strategies and long-term solutions.

  • Engagement and Collaboration

    Include, understand and respect diverse stakeholder perspectives in decision-making to motivate and mobilize collective action to achieve solutions to complex problems.

Public Administration Fundamentals

Foundational courses focus on building practitioner-oriented competencies to develop and manage effective, high-impact nonprofit and governmental organizations. Coursework provides critical skills in:

  • Sustainable Management

    Understanding sustainability and its application in a practical, historical and global context, and how to incorporate sustainability in functional disciplines.

  • Ecological and Social Systems

    How to research, interpret and prioritize ecological and social issues that have an impact on the public good.

  • Frameworks

    Modern frameworks and design principles of sustainable management and performance measurement to orient and guide policymaking and public administration.

  • Information and Communication Technology Literacy

    How to use and critically assess available and new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to achieve ethical and sustainable management outcomes.