M.P.A. Program Earns Reaccreditation

Posted: December 21, 1999 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) reaccredited the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program this fall after a two-year application process.

The accreditation process involves a lengthy examination of numerous documents, interviews of faculty members and students, and site visits made by COPRA representatives. George Mason’s M.P.A. program began the process in October 1997. After reviews of the program’s mission statement, curriculum, support services offered to students, and descriptions of future plans, as well as chats with people such as the provost and a prospective employer of an M.P.A. graduate, the program was awarded recognition once again. This thorough inquisition into the plans, developments, and workings of an academic program often scares graduate program administrators away from applying for accreditation.

“There are a number of reasons for [not applying for accreditation],” reported James Conant, associate chair for graduate studies in the Department of Public and International Affairs. “Many programs decide not to seek accreditation [because of] the presumption that the program cannot meet the accreditation standards or that the accreditation process itself is too time consuming and expensive.” Within the United States, there are more than 250 degree programs in public administration or public affairs, only half of which are accredited.

The COPRA team that traveled to George Mason was very pleased with the overall quality of the M.P.A. program, its facilities, and its students. The team’s formal report praised the school, and said that the program possesses a “very good reputation both inside and outside George Mason University.”

Seven M.P.A. students were nominated by the faculty this fall for the Presidential Management Intern Program, which is a nationally recognized program that recruits outstanding students with an interest in analysis and management of public policies and programs. In addition, student John Harding was awarded recognition from the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis for his academic achievement.

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