MPA Program's Mission Statement and Objectives
MPA Program’s Mission Statement
ECU’s MPA Program educates, trains, and supports public administration professionals in Eastern North Carolina and surrounding communities to be competent and effective public administrators and leaders for a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry.
Our mission statement is a dynamic guide to our actions in terms of our region, University, and the students we serve. It was adopted in 2020 by the MPA Committee and endorsed by the MPA Advisory Board (April 12, 2021). The Master of Public Administration Program pursues its mission by:
- preparing professionals from a variety of backgrounds to meet the needs and challenges of public service;
- conducting relevant scholarly and applied research in public administration and policy;
- engaging students and faculty in partnerships with governmental, non-profit, professional, and educational organizations; and
- providing opportunities for civic engagement and civil discourse about issues vital to the public interest.
Our Professional Values
As a program and as professionals, these are the values we espouse and seek to instill in our students through our instruction, research, and example. These are also the values we expect our students to reflect by their behavior during their time in our program and later as graduates. These mission-based values and their related competencies required to act upon them effectively form the foundation of our interpretation of what we seek to instill in our students. The MPA faculty and MPA Advisory Council also accept these values and expectations as governing their own actions with one another, our students, our graduates, and the public.
Personal and professional integrity
Personal and professional integrity refers to one’s degree of honesty, credibility, and trustworthiness. These two dimensions of integrity are interrelated as individuals bring their personal experiences, beliefs, practices, and values into professional environments. As such, consistency between statements, actions and practice for both individual and organizational activities is an important component of the integrity expected from our MPA students. Moreover, we expect all MPA students to behave with integrity during their time in the program and on the job. This means such things as keeping one’s word, maintaining appropriate standards in crediting the work of others, maintaining the confidentiality of the records entrusted to one, and performing at as high a level as possible.
Respect for democratic processes, law, and values
MPA graduates will become trusted public servants who uphold the democratic principles inherent in our civil society. Students associated with our program should demonstrate deference to the rules, laws, and regulations associated with government as well as respect for the institutions, procedures, and individuals charged with making and enforcing them. At the same time, they should recognize that no person or organization is above the law and focus on the ideas of fairness, justice, and morality that transcend human legal systems. Any interpretation or creation of policy should be guided by legal requirements and mindful of consequences that might arise. Our students should also hold in high esteem other people and organizations as a way of ensuring equality of access and participation for all public programs, services, and goods.
A major component of public service is acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions. Having the ability to answer to public officials, citizens, and other parties is a critical skill that our MPA students should carry into their professional activities. Students should understand the importance of accountability, recognizing that ethical public service includes providing feedback to interested stakeholders.
In line with previous values, an open government is transparent and accessible by people of diverse experiences and perspectives. It is also committed to a culture of respect for diversity and seeks to be inclusive of the community’s diverse people and needs. Decision-making should reflect communal characteristics in such a way that all persons or groups can be assured of their ability to have a voice in managing public goods.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
The ECU MPA program is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive culture across the full spectrum of our activities, including: recruiting, retaining, training, and graduating students; attracting faculty; assembling our Advisory Board; conducting research; serving the profession, community, university, and department; and engaging community partners.
We define these important concepts consistent with our accrediting body, NASPAA:
- Diversity is “the representation of differences relating to social identity categories including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, class, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic background, and veteran status” (NASPAA, 36). We also consider diversity to include rural and urban communities, political orientation, and pre-service and in-service students.
- Equity is “the recognition that all people do not have access to the same resources to achieve equality and the implementation of fair and just practices that give people what they need in order to reduce or eliminate disparity. Equitable practices identify and eliminate the biases and barriers which may prevent the full participation of some individuals” (NASPAA, 37).
- A climate of inclusiveness is “actively ensuring a culture of belonging by valuing the full participation and engagement of all people, especially marginalized individuals and social groups” (NASPAA, 35).
The program strives for continuous improvement in diversity, equity, and inclusion, with the goal of being as or more diverse than comparable programs, the communities we serve, and the communities where our graduates will work. We maintain a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion and strive to socialize those associated with the program to do the same.
Reviewed and endorsed by the MPA Advisory Board (April 12, 2021).
Adopted by the MPA Faculty (April 12, 2021).
NASPAA, Self-Study Instructions, November 12, 2019, pages 35-36.
Increasingly effective governance requires the development and implementation of collaborative relationships between government and non-governmental entities to carry out a public policy through relationships that are more complex than traditional hierarchical designs. To be effective, they need individuals and organizations which appreciate the value of collaboration and the time required to forge solid persisting working collaborative efforts. They also require leadership skills to build the trust of the collaborating partners so together they can address the complex issues facing society today in a sustainable, effective manner.
One of the distinguishing features of a profession as opposed to an occupation or job it that the members of the profession undergo specific educational experiences to prepare them for their future responsibilities, they dedicate themselves to the performance of high quality work, and a common set of values governing their personal behavior on and off the job. Our graduates will be entering the public service professions that have established codes of conduct, ethical standards, conflict of interest policies, and other definitions of the professional norms and behaviors expected of them. Therefore, our students are expected to learn about these norms, understand their purposes and accept them as the bases for their personal and professional conduct.
For excellent examples of these ethical statements related to the field of public administration see the links below.