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Department of Political Science to Expand MPA Courses in Idaho Falls during Spring 2018 Semester

This Spring, Idaho Falls residents looking to pursue or build on a career in the public sector can take classes from Idaho State University’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. Core MPA classes will be offered via distance-learning at the Idaho Falls center.

The MPA program, housed within the ISU Political Science department, has a 40-year tradition of graduating students who have enjoyed careers as executive directors of non-profits; legislative, policy, and budget analysts; planners and administrators. The program is designed around people working busy schedules by offering classes held in the evenings and late afternoon. Students are afforded the opportunity to pursue four areas of focus, depending upon their career interests, including state; local and non-profit administration; environmental administration; criminology (in conjunction with the Sociology and Criminology program at ISU) and public health administration.

MPA director Mark McBeth is looking forward to increasing the MPA offerings into Idaho Falls.

“Over the years, we have had several outstanding MPA students from Idaho Falls and the upper Snake River region,” McBeth said. “By offering more courses in Idaho Falls, we hope to facilitate having a larger impact in the region.”

There are already several students pursuing the MPA program in Idaho Falls. Faculty began offering courses in Idaho Falls in 2016, with the goal of having all required courses available at the ISU-Idaho Falls center in the near future. Currently, students can take two core courses a semester.

In the Spring 2018 semester, which begins January 8, students have the opportunity to enroll in POLS 5554: Public Workplace Issues, which includes a focus on employee rights, affirmative action, sexual harassment and disability. It will also focus on the impact of technology, participatory democracy and professionalism on the management of public employees. The department is also offering POLS 5558: Public Administration Ethics, which provides a historical and social context from which to understand public workplace ethical situations. The classes can be taken without admission to the MPA program. Any local managers seeking to improve their knowledge of organizational theory, budget development or workplace ethics are welcome to take these classes. Undergraduate sections of the two courses are also available.

ISU’s MPA program is unique because it is situated within a political science department. This enables the program to provide a political process and democracy focus to administrative issues. McBeth said the department just hired an expert in international governmental and non-governmental actors to bring an international perspective to the MPA program.

ISU’s MPA program began in 1974 with the mission of preparing graduate students for work in public sector management and since then, its graduates have enjoyed high placement rates with many finding management positions for government or non-profit organizations. Other graduates have found that the skills and knowledge developed in the program have helped them greatly in the private sector. The MPA coursework involves the systematic inquiry of public administrative issues. Within the classes, students are afforded the chance to hone their analytical, communication and writing skills, as well as practice investigating and tackling real-life administrative case studies.

“We are excited about the expanding MPA program,” said Donna Lybecker, chair of ISU’s political science department. “Offering classes in Idaho Falls allows more students access to the MPA classes and program, ultimately benefitting not only the students from Idaho Falls, but also a broader swatch of the Southeastern Idaho communities.”

For more information about the MPA program, contact the ISU Political Science department at (208) 282-2211. Admission information is available at


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209
(208) 282-4636

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