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INTRODUCTION
In 2016, Timea was awarded an Assistantship by the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Department of Political Science and began her journey to become the next great Public Administrator!

Her graduate studies focused on identifying social and institutional disparities, fostering an environment that values inclusion and promoting community engagement.

As this portfolio will reflect, Timea consistently and intentionally addresses politically relevant and divisive social issues, analyzes policies in a thoughtful and purposive manner, and communicates clear policy recommendations.

Of the recurring themes throughout the core and elective courses, is how to identify, improve, and inform the public with applied, analytical and administrative skillsets.

With equitable issue framing and problem definition, efficient policy design and effective implementation processes, MPA students are taught to develop feasible approaches to strategic intervention in public, private, and non-profit sectors.

In addition to the traditional coursework and active-learning lectures, the program offers a variety of service learning projects to supplement the MPA experience. With these projects, students have direct contact with community partners and their clients.

These practical experiences also test the ability to work with peers, clients, and supervisors to achieve collective goals and demonstrate a capacity to deliver professional quality reports and presentations.

The following portfolio illustrates how a graduate of the BGSU Master of Public Administration program meets or exceeds a 15-point competency list as part of a national accreditation process.

PUBLIC GOVERNANCE

Competencies Addressed
1-a Capacity to understand accountability/democratic theory
1-c Capacity of identify and eventually manage public, private, non-profit collaboration and overcome conflicts
1-e Capacity to apply knowledge of system dynamics and network structures in PA practice

Artifacts Utilized

Appendix A
Bureaucratic Oversight Memo: United States Department of Justice

Appendix B
Buoyed by Economic Diversity: Enterprise Zones in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Appendix C
Debate: Gentrification and Urban Revitalization

Appendix D
Experiential Learning: Internship, Downtown Bowling Green Foundation

Appendix E
Experiential Learning: Internship, The Common Good of the UCF

Appendix F
Case Study: Governance Networks in Firearm Regulation in the State of Ohio

Public Governance: 1-a
Capacity to understand accountability/democratic theory

A central component of democratic theory and structure is the ability to hold government officials and agencies accountable to the public. Accountability measures include an institutional responsiveness to diverse public interests and the transparency of actions within complex political systems. Among these measures are bureaucratic oversight mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the efficiency of policies and the performance of administrators. Cohesive organizational goals and their applied practices are critical for effective and equitable governance. In contrast to a centralized authority, federalist structures assume the separation of powers and discretionary policy interpretations at state and local levels of government. Within this structure is a fragmented American system of governance that results in inefficient policy implementation, inequitable enforcement, and ineffective oversight.

The core course that introduced accountability frameworks was Public Administration Theory and Behavior (POLS 6210, Dr. Rex). In the Bureaucratic Oversight Memo assignment, I addressed the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). This federal grant program provides supportive services and financial resources to local law enforcement agencies. I was concerned by an increase in high-profile officer-involved deaths across the country, and the implications an excessive use of force had on precarious race relations in the U.S. The Memo discusses allegations of discriminatory practices filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) whose critique outlines ineffective monitoring and evaluation procedures of a merit-based grant program. To improve the effectiveness of the COPS program I propose centralized evaluation processes and standardized performance measures to reward or sanction local agencies and individual officers.

The DOJ provides national training programs, symposiums, material resources, and guidelines for law enforcement agencies. In 2016, the staggering numbers of officer-involved deaths, deaths in custody, and evocation of the deprivation of rights under color of law had a negative impact on public perceptions and race relations. The excessive use of force in tandem with systematic, discriminatory law enforcement demonstrates how implicit bias justifies racial profiling and fosters an inequitable criminal justice system. I apply the bureaucratic politics paradigm to identify structural risks, explain the effects of hierarchical designs, and the value of inter-agency cooperation. This theoretical model addresses how divergent agency objectives compromise efficient policy implementation. In my discussion of accountability frameworks, I suggest contractual obligations, or the legal accountability of government agencies reflect the complexities of hierarchical dynamics, as do relationships between principal actors and agents in governance structures.

The Memo addresses the implications of federal funds to support law enforcement agencies who exhibit discriminatory police practices. In its administration of material resources and training, the DOJ is accountable for the actions of those who participate in the COPS program. Law enforcement officers are classified as street-level bureaucrats because of their direct interaction with the public. As such, these bureaucrats are imbued with substantial independence and discretion on patrol, and a considerable amount influence over the citizenry. The absence of agency or individual officer accountability corresponds with ineffective federal oversight and evaluation mechanisms. I concluded the distribution of federal resources obliged the DOJ to monitor law enforcement agencies more closely and advised the use of sanctions for those who violate civil liberties or abuse their public position. I argue a centralized authority in the COPS program would alleviate public distrust; seemingly antithetical to federalist principles, a top-down approach standardizes governance structures for efficient merit-assessments and equitable resource distribution. Centralized governance can improve the effectiveness of federal policies with consistent monitoring and evaluations, which increases agency accountability and can repair civic trust.

Public Governance: 1-c
Capacity of identify and eventually manage public, private, non-profit collaboration and overcome conflicts

In response to the increasing size of the American population and a subsequent need for more public services, the modern growth of government coincides with the integration of private and non-profit organizations in governance. Privatization is often considered an effective way to reduce public service costs and promote innovation with external or third-party contracts. New Governance theories propose that collaborations between public, private, and non-profit organizations are more efficient for public administration and service delivery than traditional governance structures. As it pertains to local economic growth, the use of financial incentives is a popular approach to stimulating investment in areas of distress and a low tax base. The prevailing concern with methods that encourage local investment with expansion or relocation tax incentives is a disproportionately negative impact upon the public who do not receive direct benefits from corporate incentives, regardless of the number of jobs created by these firms.

For the elective Local Economic Development course (POLS 6600, Dr. Mills), my analysis of Enterprise Zones in Grand Rapids, Michigan illustrates an effective approach to stimulate local economic growth and stability. Unlike cities devastated by the Great Recession in 2008, the diversified economic portfolio in Grand Rapids contributes to its sustained growth and urban revitalization initiatives. These Enterprise Zones integrate residential, commercial, and industrial boundaries to revitalize areas of distress and economic decline. Cooperative public-private partnerships distribute financial incentives from the State of Michigan to incentivize investments across neighborhoods. These interconnected zones provide supportive business services and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-up firms. As a model for a new wave of urbanism and economic stability, Grand Rapids demonstrates the effective use of public, private, and non-profit resources.

Another elective course, Issues in Public Administration and Policy: Urban and Rural Social Problems (POLS 6350, Dr. Rex) supplements the implications of economic development initiatives. The in-class debate of urban revitalization initiatives focused on the significance of issue-framing, and the conflict inherent to divisive social policies. The formal debate began with my pro-revitalization argument that contextualized community development concerns as symptomatic of economic distress. Economic development focuses on financial incentives for firms and job creation, while community development is characterized by programs that build human capital and improve labor force participation. Arguments in support of economic development suggest that financial incentives increase corporate investments in neighborhoods, stimulating job creation and expanding the tax base. Contrasting viewpoints cite the rate of displacement for low-income minorities and the process of gentrification that increases property values and costs of living.

In the debate, I advocated for corporate incentives to counter the long-term social impacts of disinvestment, declining neighborhood safety, desirability, and employment opportunities. I presented historic anecdotes of revitalization efforts to illustrate how gentrification is a term that misrepresents genuine efforts to improve economic stability and quality of life factors. I articulated how generational policy priorities vacillate between suburban safety and urban opportunity, making arguments against gentrification more pronounced. My perspective also confronted the equity of policy implementation and access to high quality of life standards. In response to the assertion that gentrification does not produce positive outcomes, I argued the multiplier effect creates visible positive externalities in urban areas, and that wealthy individuals should be encouraged to participate in community development efforts. I also explained that the appeal of urban revitalization for young professionals in the Millennial generation is a driving force in economic growth. Following an impassioned exchange that engaged the rest of the class, I concluded that a culture which simultaneously values wealth and vilifies the wealthy must utilize public policy as a tool for the inclusion and integration of collective resources, diverse perspectives, and innovative approaches.

Fortunate to obtain two internships with this graduate program, I recognized an avenue to foster deeper collaboration as an Events Coordinator for the Downtown Bowling Green Foundation (DTBG), and Community Organizer, Recruiter and Facilitator for the Common Good of the UCF. These positions utilized my skills in outreach and ability to communicate with diverse populations. Recognizing their complementary objectives to encourage community engagement, I expanded the coalition of non-profit advocates by facilitating multiple opportunities for organizational collaboration.

Downtown Bowling Green Foundation (DTBG), a non-profit organization that collaborates with the Special Improvement and Central Business Districts in Bowling Green. As an Events Coordinator intern, I developed operation and procedure manuals for annual fundraising events. In reviewing and archiving files, budgets and sponsorship forms, I gleaned a firsthand understanding of local public-private networks, and the level of cooperation necessary to engage communities, local businesses, and elected officials. With these fundraising activities, the Foundation develops beautification projects to add to the community aesthetic. DTBG also provides area networking and supportive services for small business that stimulate continued investment in the local economy. They organization also engages and promotes local artists, area youth, and county residents with community development programs like the DTBG Farmers Market, as well as student-centered Art Walk and Chillabration events. The Foundation relies on local support from corporate sponsors, elected officials, area artists, and venues. The collaborative structure demonstrates how sustainable economic growth is achieved by inter-sector cooperation.

The Common Good of the UCF is a non-denominational faith-based non-profit organization that manages the Bowling Green Community Garden Project (BGCG). I developed volunteer recruitment activities and community events to promote awareness about the giving garden. In the process, I updated presentation materials for fundraising opportunities with local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, coordinated an informational meeting with the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, and facilitated cultural exchanges between faith leaders and visiting Mandela-Washington Fellows of the Young African Leaders Initiative (MWF-YALI) at BGSU. I also coordinated regular food donations and non-profit collaborations between the BGCG, local food banks, and the Cocoon domestic violence shelter. My connection with DTBG inspired the Common Good to participate in the weekly Downtown B.G. Farmers Market, which promoted awareness about the community garden, its family-oriented activities, and effectively increased the number of volunteers who participated in our garden workdays.

Public Governance: 1-e
Capacity to apply knowledge of system dynamics and network structures in PA practice

In PA Theory and Behavior (6210), we discussed New Governance or networks of public sector agencies, private corporations, and non-profit organizations functioning as policy actors. With an ever-increasing demand for expanded public service delivery and budget constraints, the privatization of public services reflects a responsive and adaptable public administration. Governance networks are systems of interconnected actors who implement collaborative policies and services, and the federalist structure of the U.S. allows individual states to interpret federal statutes with relative discretion. A mechanism to balance governmental power structures, this dynamic results in variation between national guidelines and state practices. Nowhere is separation of powers more apparent and culturally divisive than with firearm legislation. In the State of Ohio, legislation and regulation is minimal so identifying network actors is rather simple. The difficulty in this case study was applying PA accountability frameworks to a decentralized network structure.

A common perception when depicting the branches of government is to identify the executives at the top of the hierarchy who enforce policies created by legislatures, and judicial branches interpret these policies. However, many disregard the fourth branch of government or the bureaucracies who implement these policies. Firearm legislation in Ohio exemplifies a decentralized network of federal, state, and local agencies who provide background checks, training, and licensure for firearms. As states are permitted to uphold the principles of federalism and apply bureaucratic discretion, the argument for centralized power, oversight, and accountability is often a polarizing topic. Unequivocally, the Second Amendment right to bear arms is fundamental to American democracy. In the case study I discuss the value of individual liberty, asserting that public safety is the foremost concern for firearm regulation. I confront prevailing arguments that personal responsibility overrides the need for public intervention, and that policies should function without institutional oversight. I conclude with a central argument that civic participation is essential to holding public officials accountable and achieving effective legislative reform.

The Governance Network Case Study analyzes state firearm legislation, including the regulation of ownership, purchase or sales, and Carry Conceal Weapon licensure in the State of Ohio. Theoretical components of this divisive policy issue are legal and professional accountability mechanisms that ensure the efficacy of agencies and legislators who interpret federal regulations and implement standards. In my assessment, I compare the effectiveness of indirect tools or industry regulations with direct measures of accountability, such as civic participation that demands elected officials represent their constituents. Ohio observes professional accountability in compliance with industry best practices and ethical standards. Rather than conforming to federal regulatory standards, these weaker measures of control represent the state’s commitment to upholding Second Amendment protections, as referenced in the Ohio Constitution. Outlining existing oversight mechanisms within this vertical and horizontal hierarchy indicates that within complex political systems, the monitoring and evaluation of intergovernmental agencies is critical to implementing effective public policies.

In Ohio, the Attorney General and county sheriff departments are primary network actors in firearm governance. For high-powered firearms, large caliber ammunition, and large capacity magazines (LCM) residents bypass approval from the Attorney General and register directly with the Fire Marshal. This is the most standardized process in this governance network; as a measure of public safety, the Fire Marshal administers permits for machine guns, semi-automatic and automatic firearms. Overall, the state maintains minimal regulations for the sale or purchase of firearms and does not require the registration of handguns or standard caliber ammunition. Federal guidelines recommend background checks through the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) under the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or with a state-sponsored Point of Contact (POC). This process corresponds with a five-day waiting period as part of the 1998 Permanent Brady Act, intended to increase public safety and individual accountability by averting irresponsible firearm acquisitions. The state of Ohio does not have a POC, and only requires background checks for Carry Conceal Weapon (CCW) licenses. Additionally, these reporting measures are self-regulated, which means the state sets its own time frames for background checks and waiting periods. For CCW licenses, residents must receive training certification from a county sheriff or peace officer, demonstrate proper handling, firing, and safety knowledge before obtaining their permit.

Exemplary of a decentralized federated system of governance, this method of firearm regulation is not unique to the State of Ohio. However, policy concerns for public safety cannot be ignored. The role of regulatory tools and oversight mechanisms is to create a database that allows officials to identify patterns in crime and to review the effectiveness of federal and state intervention. The prevalence of mass shootings and the accessibility of high-powered firearms leads the national discussion to more restrictive legislation. I affirm that the unregulated sale and interstate purchase of firearms is problematic in a country as large as the U.S. To be sure, this contentious policy issue is another wicked problem with no easy solution, especially when opposing perspectives cite parallel rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal property. Therefore, the goal of public discourse is to examine how a network structure becomes more responsive to civil protest by engaging all citizens in a respectful and candid conversation to achieve effective legislative reforms.

POLICY PROCESS

Competencies Addressed
2-a Capacity to understand political theory and practice
2-c Capacity to understand how problem identification impacts public administration
2-d Capacity to understand and carry out effective policy implementation

Artifacts Utilized

Appendix G
Narrative Policy Framework: Planned Parenthood in the Throes of Reproductive Justice

Appendix H
Policy Memorandum: Reproductive Justice

Appendix I
Defibrillating the Heartland: Reviving Human Capital in the War On Poverty

Appendix J
Experiential Learning, Bowling Green State University Graduate Student Senate

Policy Process: 2-a
Capacity to understand political theory and practice

The design of policy reflects interpretations of behavioral sciences and cultural values affecting the scope or impact of public intervention. In Public Administration and Public Policy (POLS 6200, Dr. Kear) we were encouraged to research a topic that would suffice both a theoretical and applied analysis as part of the comprehensive MPA curriculum. Another core course, this was a high-volume and intensive expansion upon the foundational tenets of PA Theory and Behavior (6210). To prepare for our research, we were instructed to compose weekly précis assignments that tested our ability to present complex ideas in a succinct and comprehensive summary. The course material had a consistent theme of sustainability to illustrate how one policy issue can span a spectrum of theories, frameworks and models. Inspired by a non-conforming case study that discussed standardized education policies, my analysis focused on access to reproductive health and family planning provisions. The impact of conflicting perspectives in the reproductive rights debate was a clear indication of how this topic could satisfy a series of evaluations.

In my application of Narrative Policy Frameworks (NPF), I discuss the influence of language on the decision-making process and public perceptions. By comparing characterizations of media depictions of reproductive rights, opposing policy agendas, issue-framing, and problem definition I explain how social constructs determine individual perceptions of policy issues. Using the NPF approach to the policy analysis, I argue the media contribute to and intensify wicked problems by presenting biased reports and the intentional use of polarizing language to support their claims. I explain that ascribing to pro-choice or pro-life rhetoric depends on subjective or contextual interpretations of policy issues. These post-positivist principles manifest in the narratives that shape our cultural understanding of social conflict.

In my analysis of NPF I present opposing narratives, influential policy marketers, and the strategic use of language and imagery that manipulates our cognitive understanding of controversial topics. Depicting policy issues and actors in an accessible and familiar literary context, media focus on heroes, villains, and victims to garner support for political or policy positions. NPF exemplifies how the decision-making process is an interaction between the setting or context of policies, the plot or dynamics within the policy settings, and the morals or solutions to issues that policies seek to address. Narratives represent the power of media and advocacy coalitions in directing public discourse. The effect of policy narratives on individual micro levels, universal macro levels, and institutional meso levels indicate that the function of media are as policy contributors influencing the public understanding of policies.

My argument holds the conscious use of language and overt symbolism that influences public perceptions has long-term implications. The subjective qualities of narratives reinforce individual biases while the exploitation of salient issues and polarizing social constructs is evidence of a manipulative use of impassioned rhetoric that compromises democratic principles and equitable policy decisions. The social stratification that results from reproductive rights narratives illustrates a lack of consensus among the public, as well as the power of media to influence public opinions that endorse preferential policies. I conclude by reflecting on media impacts on individual perceptions, its purposeful use to demarcate social strata, and suggest continued research to provide a quantitative measure of causal relationships between media’s issue framing, problem definition, and federal policy solutions. I infer that such studies would corroborate how the strategic use of information achieves preferential policy decisions.

Policy Process: 2-c
Capacity to understand how problem identification impacts public administration

A significant factor in the policy process is problem definition. In PA and Public Policy (6200), we continued the discussion of policy theories, adding concepts of issue significance, policy objectives and justifications, and how language prioritizes specific aspects of policy intervention. For the Policy Memorandum assignment, students selected evaluative criteria by which to measure the outcome of policies. Expanding upon my initial reproductive rights policy research, I measured the equity or fairness of existing policies, the absence of liberty in the implementation of policy restricting access to healthcare and the exercise of civil rights, as well as the effectiveness or successful outcomes of policies in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. Introducing reproductive justice as the frame to characterize this wicked problem, I present arguments to redefine the reproductive rights debate and expand the discussion of constitutionality in limiting access to abortion procedures. I argue the legal guarantees of Due Process and Equal Protection are violated when women cannot exercise their right to choose if, when, and how they reproduce.

In the Memo, I describe the policy issue as a public health concern, as well as a systemic failure of institutional equity. Social welfare entitlements and public health policies outline restrictive provisions for reproductive services that are a manifestation of oppressive power dynamics in the U.S. In contrast, reproductive justice acknowledges that these structural imbalances perpetuate racial inequities and class divisions. In a cycle of injustice, the lack of universal entitlements, family planning options, or stable employment opportunities for minorities reinforces the privilege of dominant upper and middle-class populations. With quantitative research, I explain how women with less education and social mobility are directly affected by legislative restrictions to reproductive health education, comprehensive family planning programs and contraception. A recurring theme in my MPA coursework is how federalism and discretionary state practices create disparate policy outcomes. I further contend that the narrow scope of reproductive rights debate in which the primary focus is the moral virtue or efficacy of abortion services disregards the interconnectivity of social and political issues in public health policies.

The Memo applied evaluative criteria of equity, liberty, and effectiveness to four federal policies. I analyzed the 1970 Title X Family Planning Program, the first initiative recognizing reproductive rights as a constitutional guarantee. While Title X is considered equitable in its universal application, measures of liberty and effectiveness depend on state discretion and interpretation, which undermine protections. I evaluated the 1993 Health Security Act which intended to reduce healthcare costs with prenatal genetic screening for hereditary afflictions. I conclude the policy met the criteria, but since it assumed access to abortion services, its effectiveness was relative to the ability to exercise reproductive rights. The 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban was the broadest in its definition and provisions, resulting in states restricting access to abortions, contraceptives, and clinics under the guise of moral righteousness. It was the least equitable, least effective, and the most oppressive of the policies compared. Finally, I examine the effects of the 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In expanding Medicaid subsidies, enrollment, and regulating the insurance industry, this policy was the most equitable, upheld standards of liberty, and was the most effective in reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies.

As the Affordable Care Act was routinely contested in the House and Senate, this Memo serves as a commentary for its continued and uniform interstate implementation. In my policy recommendations I declare the uniformity of healthcare policies ensures citizens have equal access to family planning. By applying the regulatory structure of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansions allow an equitable distribution of welfare entitlements and reimbursements. I argue that legislators must recognize the right to choose as a constitutional guarantee that protects women from over-reaching policy mandates, and that limiting the ability to exercise reproductive rights is a violation of civil liberties. The pretense of the Memo was to redefine the problem of reproductive rights and to expand the coalition of policy actors by incorporating new strategies to frame an historically contentious issue. Presenting this wicked problem as an issue of social justice rather than public health reinforces the fundamental principles of democracy, judicial protections, and the enforcement of civil liberties.

Policy Process: 2-d
Capacity to understand and carry out effective policy implementation

The primary assignment for the elective Issues in Public Administration and Policy: Urban and Rural Social Problems (6350) was to select a policy issue, outline its causes, and evaluate the impact of existing policies based on equity, efficiency, effectiveness, and feasibility. A foundational component in this course was critical thinking. A portion of each class was spent exercising logic and analytical skills, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of arguments by dissecting the major issues, reasons, arguments, assumptions, and evidence. These exercises prepared students to develop the reasoning skills necessary to produce the quantitative research expected by the MPA curriculum and apply rational decision-making to policy evaluations. This critical thinking element was effective, as was the active learning structure of the course. Students were encouraged to assess the root causes of social problems, externalities, parallel contexts, and the way information was delivered to the public.

For the policy analysis, I researched unemployment policies and how they affected job insecurity. As the nation was rebounding from the 2008 Recession, stable employment was seemingly scarce. The stigma of poverty has been a social issue for generations, and policymakers have drafted legislation with the purpose of developing self-sufficiency for decades. Typical of a wicked problem, poverty has many causes and no clear solution. A common assumption is that unemployment decreases when people secure high-wage or stable employment. A frequent critique is that the disparate structure of the economy creates social inequality and limits individual mobility, so the working poor are entrenched in low-wage jobs with little opportunity to advance. Evidence to support this argument is that the labor force does not have the advanced skills necessary to meet the demands of an economy in the digital era. With markets shifting to accommodate a highly-skilled and well-educated workforce, traditional sectors of employment decline. Following the principles of supply and demand, the labor force gravitates to cores of production, leading to a spatial mismatch or the incompatibility of skills and the availability of jobs.

While this spatial mismatch is evident in both urban and rural communities, unemployment has a disproportionate effect on women and minorities, and devastating impacts of the Great Recession further isolated these vulnerable populations. In my evaluation, I examined federal and state provisions of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and business incentive programs. I measured the equity, efficiency, effectiveness and feasibility of welfare programs to determine whether these policies improve labor force participation rates, increased human capital or self-sufficiency. I concluded that existing policies are too broad in their application and address an excessive number of individual factors to be effective. As the inconsistent implementation of federal policies contributes to demographic inequities, I proposed that policies would be more effective if they addressed singular issues, and the interstate implementation process was uniform. Separate policies to target long-term unemployment, skill development, cash assistance, or food insecurity would improve accountability measures as well as streamline the allocation of scarce resources for greater efficiency.

Among the welfare-to-work policies I evaluated, the 1933 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was the most equitable. Although the definition of workforce development is broad, WIOA provides services to 20 million low-income citizens each year. Additionally, this recruitment and training policy specifically acknowledges social barriers to employment, including disabilities, veteran status, and age. The most effective program was Ohio Works First (OWF), which is a state-centric version of TANF. OWF provides training for high-demand occupations, utilizes a regional network of public agencies and employers to facilitate job placement in surrounding areas, and distributes relocation stipends for county residents. The least efficient was the Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit Program due to its focus on corporate incentives rather that investment in human capital development. With this policy, state funds are allotted to stimulate investment in blighted neighborhoods, but research indicates that companies tend to eliminate high-wage positions and create new low-wage equivalents to reduce their overhead costs. The results in the proliferation of low-wage positions, which is counter-intuitive to improving job security for low-wage earners. The most feasible program is the TANF block grant which distributes cash assistance to each state. However, due to budget constraints and the lack of federal oversight many states redirected TANF grant funding to balance annual budgets during the 2008 financial crisis.

In its immediate response to the Great Recession, the Obama Administration expanded welfare initiatives to serve a greater portion of the population, increasing the length of time citizens could receive benefits from 36 to 99 weeks. Enrollment in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) also increased indicating the financial crisis led to an acceleration of permanent departures from the labor force. While welfare-to-work policies are designed to mitigate long-term effects of unemployment, the inconsistent interstate implementation resulted in some states exhibiting successful economic recovery while others continued to struggle. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a labor force participation rate (LFPR) of 63% signifying low levels of job creation. The unemployment rate of 4.5% reflected an imbalance in high wage jobs and the supply of low-skill labor. In my evaluation, I assert that poverty is exacerbated by inefficient policy design and the ineffective implementation of entitlement programs. A uniform, streamlined, and targeted approach to policy implementation would reduce inconsistencies that perpetuate wicked problems and reinforce existing inequalities. The unanticipated impacts on low-income and marginalized citizens demonstrates how the policy implementation process influences the outcome of public intervention.

The ability to carry out effective policy implementation is the experiential learning component of this competency. As the MPA representative in the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) I have experience in public policy processes. Members of the General Assembly (GA) participate in Graduate committees and develop institutional policies, referenda, and resolutions. We discuss strengths, weaknesses, and revisions to these policies, and each Senator who wishes to vocalize concerns is given the floor. Each session, the executives schedule guest speakers to discuss the prevailing concerns of faculty, staff, and constituents. Last year, several sessions were devoted to discussing the Sexual Assault Task force and changes to the Title IX grievance process. This year, we had the privilege of hosting the Chair of the Board of Trustees who discussed their role in hiring a new President following Dr. Mazey’s resignation. In addition to these campus officials, community members have also spoken with the GA including City Councilman Gordon who discussed the need to confront hate speech on campus.

This academic year, the GSS also joined state universities across Ohio in signing a resolution to protect the sanctity of campuses in response to national legislation that rescinded protections in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We passed a Medical Amnesty resolution to protect underage students from legal recourse when they call for emergency services to revive a fatally inebriated friend or fellow student. We also passed a resolution to encourage university executives to fully incorporate the Sexual Assault Task Force when developing more effective procedures to mitigate the increase of sexual assault cases on campus.

For departments in good standing with the GSS, each semester, the body awards reimbursements for professional development opportunities, graduation regalia stipends, and graduate research awards. Recent restructuring in the Graduate College led to GSS policy changes and successive attempts to create a governing body that parallels state universities across the country. For instance, this year the GA passed a revised Constitution that reflects national standards as an academic body, akin to a Faculty Senate. For increased equity among graduate programs, the new Constitution eliminates the voting power of members who represent Student Organization in a larger effort to distribute scarce resources to qualifying academic departments and colleges, rather than to affiliate organizations.

These revisions were a contentious topic. Senators vocalized extensive concerns which resulted in consecutive GA sessions devoted to discussing recommendations and further revisions to the official document. Discourse over the equity of new membership parameters indicated that some departments lack the number of students to participate in the GA, and that Student Organization representatives serve as proxies in these circumstances. These arguments were rebuked with a proclamation that the GSS was initially designed as an academic body and it was decidedly more equitable to reserve GSS resources for academic programs since Student Organizations can access other sources of funding.

ANALYZE, SYNTHESIZE, THINK CRITICALLY, SOLVE PROBLEMS, MAKE DECISIONS

Competencies Addressed
3-a Capacity to directly or indirectly employ quantitative and qualitative research methods
3-d Capacity to understand and apply sound performance measures and management practices
3-e Capacity to understand and apply sound financial planning and fiscal management
practices

Artifacts Utilized

Appendix K
Did the Federal Ban on Assault Weapons Reduce Violent Crime in the United States?

Appendix L
Structural Imbalance: The Polarizing Cultural Effects of Systemic Inequality

Appendix M
The Crisis in Syria: How the Regional Cooperation of Authoritarian States Threatens to Undermine Global Order and Collective Security

Appendix N
The City of Bowling Green, Ohio Budget Analysis

Appendix O
What Happened In Jefferson County, Alabama: The Municipal Bond Market and the Consequences of Corruption

Analyze, Synthesize, Think Critically, Solve Problems, Make Decisions: 3-a
Capacity to directly or indirectly employ quantitative and qualitative research methods

It was recommended that students enroll in the MPA Research Methods (POLS 6750, Dr. Kalaf-Hughes) during the first semester because it would be foundational to the success of future research. At the onset of the course we chose our research topic, collected data, and applied the lessons from weekly exercises to develop our quantitative skills. This was an effective way to modify and refine a research project, but it seemed like a counter-productive approach to a comprehensive project. We conducted a literature review, analyzed and coded data, and created a presentation poster for our results. As someone who does not have a firm grasp on mathematics, statistics, or software coding the process seemed more complicated than composing a formal research paper. Admittedly, I struggled in this course and did not achieve the apex of clarity until I completed the final exam, at which point I successfully ran a regression analysis. By then, it was too late to revise my project and poster, which was a limitation I discussed in explaining my methodology.

Inspired by controversial gun control legislation, my quantitative research project analyzed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 which prohibited the use, sale, and purchase of automatic weapons and large capacity magazines (LCM). To answer whether the federal ban on assault weapons reduced violent crime in the United States, I collected violent crime statistics from 1960 to 2015 to show a pattern in increasing firearm-related homicides. I performed a simple T-test to determine if the rate of violent crimes correlated with the 10-year ban on assault weapons. A lack of comprehensive data or statistical information contributed to the corollary effects, as it is incredibly difficult to measure firearm ownership, sales, or use with incomplete data in a decentralized system of governance. I discussed this as one of the limitations in my research, explaining that interstate variations in regulatory and enforcement mechanisms added to legislative obstacles, such as inconsistent or ineffective policy implementation. For example, in a state with minimal regulation for the sale or purchase of firearms, residents in neighboring states are known to travel across state boundaries to participate in an unregulated purchase.

At the core of my research was the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) database that collects categorical statistics for violent crime. The UCR does not disaggregate the types of weapons used, however, but it provides longitudinal analyses that span decades. The UCR were very effective in establishing a pattern of increased crime, but there was minimal contextual analysis that I could provide, since record keeping is more advanced today than it was in the 1960s. Furthermore, with the introduction of the assault weapons ban as a response to mass shootings across the U.S., many firearm manufacturers increased production as an affront to the federal ban. These weapons were grandfathered by the federal ban as legally registered, but many were sold on the black market and at gun shows, which notoriously do not conduct background checks prior to sale. Nevertheless, with data collected from FBI reports, I concluded that since 1960, firearm-related homicides drove violent crime rates until the federal ban was instituted. It was revoked after a ten-year period of enforcement due to the continuous debate over the constitutionality of restricting Second Amendment protections, and a widely-held perception that the ban was ineffective. By comparing data prior to 1994 and after 2004 indicates that firearm-related crime decreased during the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

The artifact demonstrating my best qualitative research skills is an analytical literature review for the elective Inequality in the U.S. (HIST 6760, Dr. Schocket), which was also the only non-departmental course I took as an MPA student. In this course we read one book each week and wrote a series of book reviews to demonstrate our understanding of inequality within broad cultural contexts. The final written assignment was to identify three aspects of inequality most significant to our individual perceptions, as well as the causes, outcomes, and social implications. We were encouraged to cite as much of the course material as possible in our analysis, so I cited all the material except for the two novels we read. It was a lofty goal, but when I began writing I thought this assignment would be an excellent opportunity to solve the problem of inequality in the U.S., and I consider it to be my most comprehensive qualitative analysis.

The interconnectivity of social, political, and economic structures requires substantial objectivity when discerning the root causes of disparate conditions in complex systems. In this assessment, I present dominant power structures between race, class and gender relations as deliberate mechanisms to exert social control and maintain the status quo. Contextualizing historic trends and their contemporary effects demonstrates how the structural imbalance in American society creates barriers to equal opportunity with fragmented institutional oversight and policy implementation. In my qualitative analysis of systemic bias and institutional discrimination, I reviewed the academic literature supplemented by quantitative data, and illustrated disparate social conditions, power imbalances, race relations, and class divisions.

Identifying parallel principles of federalism and capitalism that imply the role of public policies is ancillary to individual merit and self-sufficiency, my assessment concludes that these policies exacerbate existing inequalities by obstructing social mobility, community development and resource distribution. Compounding intergenerational factors such as education attainment, wealth accumulation, and political influence, dominant cultures oppress vulnerable populations. Marginalized and disenfranchised people of color, women, and underprivileged masses contributes to long-term unemployment, physical isolation, and self-fulfilling psychological assumptions and behavior. Thus, by demeaning individual perceptions of self-worth, elites subjugate vulnerable citizens and intentionally create obstacles to advancement.

Analyze, Synthesize, Think Critically, Solve Problems, Make Decisions: 3-d
Capacity to understand and apply sound performance measures and management practices

International Organizations (POLS 5750, Dr. Orr) was the first course in my graduate studies. With a background in International Studies, it was a good introduction to the MPA program, department expectations, and the versatile application of PA in the international arena. Throughout the course, we discussed the value of cultural knowledge and customs, and how international organizations have a unique role in public policy considering the diverse populations they represent. We discussed a variety of issues and current events, beginning with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and ending with the structure of the United Nations Security Council. Course materials informed students about the various methods of negotiation, drafting treaties, ratification processes, as well as the purpose and function of non-binding resolution agreements. We explored distinctions between equity and equality, consensus and unanimity, cultural awareness and sensitivity, collective action and common pool resources. At the core of these practical concepts was how to reconcile humanitarian crises, improve international relations, and foster global cooperation.

In the Policy Analysis assignment, I focused on the United Nations (UN) and efforts to mediate conflict in the years-long civil war in Syria. This crisis represents a significant international dilemma with no easy solutions to alleviate humanitarian concerns. Continuous attacks between state-sponsored military forces, anti-government rebel groups, and terrorist factions, and deep divisions within political arenas created an environment akin to the Cold War. Turkey’s alliance with Russia further complicated regional tensions between Islamist and Kurdish rebel groups, and in my analysis, I question Turkey’s legitimacy as an ally of western democracies. The controversial alliance is problematic for the European Union (EU) and the U.S, both of whom represent pillars of democracy. While military involvement was not an ideal solution to deescalate precarious cultural relationships, diplomatic negotiations did not have the desired effect of disarmament. I explain Turkey’s role as a secular corridor to the Middle East and the implications of a Hungarian offensive and the rise of European nationalism in response to the flood of refugees displaced by violence. I present Syria’s callous disregard for its citizens that propelled cycles of interstate violence and overwhelmed international efforts to deliver humanitarian aid.

In my analysis, I discuss how regional instability compromises collective global security and is an historic precursor to interstate warfare. I articulate policy solutions to intervene in Syria, including the expansion of UN occupation in Turkey and Syria, establishing open negotiations with Russia, as well as changing the UN voting structure to consensus rather than unanimity to counter a continued impasse from repeated Russian vetoes to engage in the conflict. Considering decades of conflict in the Middle East, I recommend including an African representative as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to cultivate an understanding of the nuanced cultural differences between Muslim factions. I argue the inaction of the UN will result in an indefinite and undeclared war between Syrians and Kurds that would devastate future generations. I propose that Russian and Turkish hegemonic powers would advance in tandem with ISIS agendas, and the regional distrust of Western countries will manifest in generational hate among divided nations. I further contend that inaction compromises international confidence in the UN and that democratic systems would degrade into authoritarian states. I conclude that an effective course of action would be to end the international conflict with a deliberate, concentrated use of force rather than passively witnessing the continued degradation of Syrian society. By remaining non-adversarial the UN was allowing Syria, Russia, and Turkey to form an authoritarian alliance that will invariably increase in power and scope in the years ahead.

Prevalent ethnic and political divisions have plagued the Middle East for generations. The Arab Spring revolutions began in 2010 in Tunisia, and the global attention it received inspired regional action to establish liberal democracies in authoritarian states. Acknowledging the impact of an extensive global conflict that engaged numerous political actors, I present an alternative scenario as equally damaging and costly. In 2016, Turkey was welcoming droves of Syrian refugees, and international reports indicated widespread violence against women and children across the country. Arguing that refugee camps were unsafe and unsustainable, I assert that this was not an acceptable solution to the humanitarian crisis. At a certain point, long-term crises necessitate decisive action. In the years since the Arab Spring, western democracies have embraced nationalism and reverted to conservative and protectionist ideologies that parallel the political environment that begat the formation of the League of Nations, the initial collective international governing body that evolved into the UN.

Analyze, Synthesize, Think Critically, Solve Problems, Make Decisions: 3-e
Capacity to understand and apply sound financial planning and fiscal management practices

The second in a two-part course Public Management II: Budgeting, Fiscal Policy, and Decision-Making (POLS 6280, Walterhouse), reinforced practical fiscal management skills, including the different types of budget formats, as well as the function of an auditor, property assessor, and budget analyst. With weekly exercises we practiced interpreting budget documents, identifying sources of revenue, analyzing expense reports, drafting budget proposals and requests, budgeting operating expenses and capital outlay, requesting new personnel, conducting accurate revenue projections, calculating property taxes or millage rates, managing capital expenses, drafting a mid-year budget report, and developing multi-year forecasts. For the Local Budget Analysis assignment, students selected a municipality to analyze, reviewed three consecutive audit reports, program or line-item budgets, and delivered a professional report that assessed the fiscal health of the city. In the process, we were also instructed to conduct an interview with a city official to develop a greater understanding of budgeting and fiscal management.

For my Budget Analysis, I researched the City of Bowling Green and interviewed the Financial Director, Brian Bushong. Mr. Bushong was incredibly helpful and open to discussing the fiscal health of the city. We discussed how Bowling Green State University was the largest employer in the city, as well as the largest consumer of utilities. He informed me of multiple union contracts that were set to expire, so he and the Mayor were scheduling meetings to discuss negotiations. He declared that the contracts were a consistent and valuable source of revenue. We discussed the lasting effects of the Great Recession, from which the city was largely insulated. Mr. Bushong noted that a substantial portion of public services and government positions rely on state revenue and these intergovernmental funds had consistently decreased since 2008. Additionally, low interest rates stimulated business growth, leading to a net gain for the 2016 Fiscal Year. We also spoke about the Interstate-75 Corridor on the west end of the city and the length of time it took to develop and implement the proposal.

In the analysis, I presented demographic characteristics of the city including average education attainment, the number of veterans, and the size of the civilian labor force. I referenced how the political settings and structure of City Council responded to the Strong Mayor form of government. Outlining the fiscal condition of the city, I identified a surplus fund balance, tax collection rates, funding of liabilities, infrastructure projects and population growth as indicators of financial stability. I used Franklin County as a comparison to demonstrate the fiscal health of Wood County, noting that the difference in population size of the Columbus metro area, and relatively similar performance indicators suggested sound financial management in the City of Bowling Green. I explained how achievements in renewable energy sources and a regional cooperation with American Municipal Power provided a consistent source of revenue by selling energy to other municipalities.

Reviewing the program and line-item budget process as well as the five-year fiscal forecasts, I measured revenue increases for government activities that fund public safety services, and an increase in revenue from leisure activities, reflecting increased traffic at the new aquatic park and concessions sold. Revenue from utilities is the most significant portion of the city’s budget, and I noted an increase due to higher rates of usage as well as expanded service delivery. As anticipated in the expenditure analysis, funds for the fire and police departments were the highest by comparison, followed by expenditures for the public works division. Capital investments were relatively consistent, although the I-75 Corridor project would add nearly $1 million in expenses. The city’s fiscal stability is represented by the A+ bond rating for long-term investments.

In contrast to the sound financial management of the City of Bowling Green, I presented a case study about Jefferson County, Alabama that demonstrated how cronyism and a lack of oversight measures led to an unprecedented bankruptcy filing and numerous fraud investigations by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). The case begins in 2002 with inaccurately low expenditure estimations for sewer system infrastructure project. Increasing expenses and ethical misconduct of elected officials led to the improper refinancing of a $3.4 million fixed-rate municipal bond, and an historic bankruptcy filing.

As the Jefferson County Commissioner exchanged bribes for votes, his administration embezzled $8 million to campaign supporters. At the center of this scandal were local brokers and consultants who competed for profitable swap agreements financed by J.P. Morgan Chase Company, Goldman Sachs, and Bear Stearns. In the report filed by the SEC who investigated complaints of obstruction and fraud, a total of five bonds, four swap agreements, and nearly $7 million in broker fees were transferred between 2003 and 2004. Amidst this conspiracy, the county struggled to make regular bond payments which increased the interest rates. Further complications from a gridlocked legislature threatened public services, and the debt restructuring process led to substantial sewer rate increases for residents. The general fund was placed in receivership and the county’s liabilities were balanced by budget reserves, indicative of an unsustainable fiscal policy. Parallel to the poor financial management that led to the Great Recession, the influence of Wall Street on public officials, including the lure of the bond market profits and the risk of investing in hedge funds depleted the budget in Jefferson County. A racket between local officials and financiers, what happened in Jefferson County was a willful display of public inconsequence by elected officials who led county residents to indefinite financial repercussions.

PUBLIC SERVICE PERSPECTIVE

Competencies Addressed
4-b Capacity to understand the value of social and economic equity in PA practice
4-d Capacity to understand and eventually demonstrate the value of leadership to PA practice
4-e Capacity to be or become a reflective practitioner

Artifacts Utilized

Appendix P
Local Economic Development Journal Reflection Entries

Appendix Q
Volunteer Experience: Project Connect Wood County (Host)

Appendix R
BGSU Center For Leadership Participant: Leadership Academy

Appendix S
Volunteer Experience: MLK Day of Service Challenge (Site Leader)

Appendix T
Experiential Learning: Masters of Public Administration Student Association, Treasurer

Appendix U
Service Learning Project: Ithaca Fire Department Social Media Policy

Appendix V
Case Study: Sexual Harassment (Jailhouse Follies)

Appendix W
Experiential Learning: Equal Opportunity Compliance Committee (EOCC)

Appendix X
Experiential Learning: Time’s Up Event Planning, Graduate Committee

Public Service Perspective: 4-b
Capacity to understand the value of social and economic equity in PA practice

For the elective Local Economic Development (6600) students kept a Reflection Journal for the weekly readings. The purpose was to develop thick descriptions or a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of economic and community development. In composing the reflection entries, we outlined observations to summarize the course material, personal relevance to connect readings to our experiences and perspectives, and then made connections between the readings and service learning projects. Course materials discussed a spectrum of economic and community development concepts, beginning with the impact of globalization on local development. Course materials also presented practical approaches to stimulate economic growth, such as the function of zoning or planning for development projects, tools to attract and retain investments, the utility of location quotients and economic impact statements, workforce development and generational trends, the importance of place or the influence of geography in the digital age, quality of life factors, branding in niche markets, disruptive technology and impacts of automation in traditional sectors of employment, social consequences of job loss, and the implications of a burgeoning gig economy. In the final class session, we discussed localism as a parallel response to globalization, and how work-life dynamics are driving local development.

The implicit quandary of these reflections is how to save communities in distress. In an academic discussion of local economic development, theories and research in support of a variety of approaches to stimulate investment in area development projects. Pragmatically, there is no singular way to encourage communities or neighborhoods to improve the strength and power of their tax base. In fact, many of the high-profile corporate investments, tax incentives, and benefit packages cost residents millions of dollars. Instead of investing these funds in community development programs, governments waive property and income tax collection with corporate abatements and credits to entice their investment in job creation. I contend that this approach reflected a disconnection in contemporary fiscal policy and social equity. I reflect upon numerous incompatibilities in labor force and market demands, as well as the necessity of developing human capital in the digital age. I indicate the focus on corporate incentives was evidence of a structural imbalance intent on maintaining class and race divisions.

As with most structural change, successful intervention must address administrative issues from the top-down as well as the bottom-up. For local economic development, I suggest expanding federal subsidies for infrastructure projects and regulating corporate investments to increase the effectiveness of local investments. In tandem with state programs that focus on human capital and skills development, this approach was the most equitable in terms of creating a competitive workforce. I encourage states to invest in retirement accounts, so the aging workforce can retire, and allow younger generations to enter the labor market with ease. This strategy ensures skills do not depreciate due to youth unemployment, which is a concern in many economic sectors. Furthermore, the intergenerational conflicts among the workforce demands a creative approach to balance the need for the aging workforce to achieve fiscal independence while respecting the revolutionary capacities of younger generations.

In my assessment of local investments, I suggest municipalities provide personal incentives to area workforce and entrepreneurs, including tax abatements, networking opportunities, and professional development initiatives to expand the earning potential of residents. I suggest a greater commitment to education reform that incorporates apprenticeships, trade schools or technical colleges would improve public perception of unions, which are correspond with job and income stability on traditional sectors of employment. I encourage a peer mentoring program that collaborates with higher education institutions in community programs to discourage brain drain and retain local talent. Clearly an ambitious approach to economic investment, such policy intervention requires extensive strategic planning and cooperative efforts, which we learned was fundamental to long-term growth. By implementing policies that focus on community development and revitalization projects, local governments can transform municipalities into compact urban areas. The success of mixed-use zones indicate that innovative urbanization promotes positive quality of life factors and reduces inefficient and sprawling landscapes. I conclude that the American society must prepare the workforce to compete in a global marketplace by embracing these innovative tools and approaches to local economic development.

In addition to reinforcing the major themes and concepts of the course, the Reflection Journal was by far the most creative project in the MPA program. I looked forward to composing weekly entries and developing a contextual understanding of a complicated and controversial subject. It was also refreshing to include personal insights and present uncensored observations and experiences. Recognizing how this project could demonstrate my creative skills and embody my personality, I took time to format the final product with a colorful theme and scanned the cover of an actual journal for my cover page. This extra effort was recognized by Dr. Mills who delighted by a thematic presentation and disclosed that he would use my submission as an example of excellence in future classes.

The experiential component of this competency is demonstrated by my participation in Project Connect Wood County. This service event facilitates an improvement of inequitable situations for county residents by providing immediate access to material goods, information resources, and service providers to alleviate the impact s of poverty and homelessness. As a Host, I engaged in direct client contact and navigated among available service providers based on my clients’ service preferences and needs.

Public Service Perspective: 4-d
Capacity to understand and eventually demonstrate the value of leadership to PA practice

For this competency, I highlight multiple experiences that demonstrate my capacity to understand the value of leadership in PA. These experiences reflect my motivation to develop effective leadership skills, improve my understanding of authentic and ethical leadership, team-building exercises, and apply this knowledge in diverse settings.

First and foremost is the BGSU Leadership Academy I attended in the Fall of 2017. During this six-hour workshop, participants were divided into groups and engaged in a series of reflective activities and a comprehensive self-evaluation of individual leadership skills and approaches. We examined what it meant to be a social change agent and defined ethical leadership as values in action. The discussion of ethical leadership identified justice-oriented actions and externally-determined values that affect change and seek to instill self-respect. Interactive group activities and self-reflections allowed us to examine our individual approaches to team-building and community engagement, as well as recognize how personal values manifest as guiding principles that achieve social change and equality. We discussed authentic leadership or the congruence of core values and transparent intentions that reflect our trustworthiness and embody positive leadership. We concluded by vocalizing personal mission statements and a commitment to social change.

The application of my leadership skills is evident in my role as a Site Leader during the BGSU Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Challenge. I was a Site Leader for the two years I was a Graduate student at BGSU. The first year, I led members of a fraternal chapter in a Red Cross community service project in Toledo, Ohio. We canvassed neighborhoods offering to install smoke detectors and distributing fire safety information. To instill positivity and enthusiasm, I engaged the team with friendly competition to see which of the three-person teams could install the most smoke detectors. I facilitated self-reflection by discussing the significance of community service and encouraged my group to discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., their perceptions of equality and social change. The second year I participated in the is event, I was one of three Site Leaders at a local foster home agency. Most of the group assigned to me did not show up for the day of service, so I spent time fostering a genuine connection with the three students I supervised. We discussed social injustices, the history of race relations, and the role of public service in local communities. One of the students shared an injustice he had recently experienced, and I connected him with Professor Walterhouse who has a Masters in Legal Studies, hoping he could further guide the young man in exercising his right to Due Process in his allegation of an excessive use of force by Michigan law enforcement officers.

Program-specific experiences in leadership are exemplified in my role as the Masters of Public Administration Student Association (MPASA) Treasurer. In pursuit of campus organizational legitimacy, the MPASA leadership team was formally recognized by the Office of Campus Activities (OCA) once we attended Officer training sessions and reactivated the OrgSync online profile. I deposited Treasury funds, submitted documentation for professional development activities, and created submission templates for members to expedite individual requests for professional development reimbursements from the Graduate Student Senate (GSS). I also created a crowd-sourced fundraising project with the BGSU Alumni Center. This Falcon Funded Campaign for professional development will cover travel expenses for interstate trips and site visits to public agencies and non-profit organizations. The project is awaiting a final approval, but the goal is to raise $1,200 in one month by soliciting MPA alumni and reaching out to personal contacts to request donations. I developed a webpage using the Falcon Funded online platform, recorded a two-minute video to post on the website, drafted email updates and promotional materials to publish on social media platforms.

A unique element of the MPA program is the incorporation of service learning projects in the curriculum. In this graduate program I had the opportunity to participate in four projects, two of which are still in-progress. These community service projects apply interpersonal communication skills between teams and community partners who request our expertise and service. They also demonstrate students’ ability to solve problems and experience the dynamics of PA in action. Finally, service learning provides the opportunity to produce professional-quality reports for community partners, which is an effective way to develop the practical skills necessary for public service. These projects illustrate the versatility of an MPA, and cultivates positive relationships between the university, students, and regional organizations.

My first service learning experience was developing a Social Media Policy for the volunteer Fire Department in Ithaca, Michigan for the Public Management I: Personnel Management and Leadership (6260) course. Developing this employee policy required the team to review case laws to ensure civil liberties were not violated by broad or unconstitutional restrictions of speech. Since social media is an emerging and legally controversial subject in human resource management, I was personally selected by the instructor to lead the group because of my notorious detail-orientation. I delegated research tasks to the group, coordinated regular meetings to share status reports, case law summaries, and evaluate our approach. I also maintained regular contact with Professor Walterhouse, who relayed new developments in relevant case law, so our policy would reflect current legal interpretations of employee policies and restrictions. As a measure of team-building, I encouraged the team to take agency in their assigned tasks and to freely contribute their ideas to files shared in the cloud. Recognizing some were less confident in their ability to evaluate U.S. Supreme Court rulings, I provided regular feedback to validate their contributions. To dispel their discouragement and general confusion, I communicated that this was a team effort and one member’s weakness was likely another’s strength. Our collaborative efforts allowed us to successfully complete the project one month before the deadline and produced an employee policy that pleased the Ithaca Fire Chief enough to send a letter of acknowledgement to class, thanking us for our excellence.

Public Service Perspective: 4-e
Capacity to be or become a reflective practitioner

The course materials for Public Management I: Personnel Management and Leadership (POLS 6260, Walterhouse) focused on legal issues on public service and human resource management. This provided an excellent structure to relatively dry subject matter and was incredibly informative for those who wish to pursue a career in human resources. In addition to presenting a U.S. Supreme Court case to the class, students chose a case study to supplement and contextualize the legal discussion of the relevant court cases. This provided us with a greater understanding of judicial proceedings, legal precedence, and current developments of employee relations. During the semester, national scandals and sexual abuse was constantly in the news, which inspired me to choose a case study that discussed sexual harassment on the workplace.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, sexual harassment is defined as unwanted behavior that is sexual in nature. Within the legal framework of public personnel management, sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment with implicit or explicit sexual conditions that violate employee safety and employment opportunity. Threats to employees’ mental and physical well-being are prohibited under Title VII. The case study Jailhouse Follies discusses workplace subcultures that influence or define what constitutes sexual harassment. The case study presented arguments that the dynamic between employees of detention centers encouraged sexually-charged comments and behavior. The purpose of the case was to determine whether employees are liable for the actions of employees, specifically those in supervisory positions. While Supreme Court case law differentiates between objective pervasiveness of harassment and subjective abuse when determining the severity of Title VII violations, legal precedence maintains employer liability exists even if employers are unaware of sexual harassment in the workplace. This underscore the significance of widely promulgated HR policies outlining clear and consistent remediation when addressing employee grievances, sexual harassment, and hostile work environments.

In addition to reinforcing the significance of developing and enforcing a clear anti-harassment policy and implementing employee remediation policies in public sectors, this case also demonstrates the critical role of documentation in public personnel management. In Jailhouse Follies, executives recorded employee grievances and reprimands, and supported an affirmative defense that alleviated legal liabilities for the detention center. Outlining the sexual harassment training seminars conducted by county and state officials documents the steps taken by an agency to correct and prevent offensive behavior. With these records, litigants established a pattern of offensive conduct by the shift supervisor, indicating an objective pervasiveness of disrespect and sex discrimination. Title VII compliance requires remediation policies and anti-harassment training that visibly discourages offensive or discriminatory behavior.

The experiential component of this competency illustrates my commitment to institutional equity and social inclusion. As a member of the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) I had the opportunity to serve on the Equal Opportunity Compliance Committee (EEOC). Facilitated by BGSU Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) this group of faculty, staff, and students met with the Office of Human Resources (OHR) Equity Officer Vicky Kulicke, to discuss the equity of the university’s grievance procedures, the process of hiring new employees, the significance of employment position descriptions, at-will and contractual employee protections, and different expectations for classified and administrative staff, as well contract faculty positions. The committee discussed how to improve employee relations, and how to manage generational conflicts and cultural stereotypes on campus.

Another experience that demonstrates how I affect institutional change and achieved a personal goal of empowerment is my involvement with the Time’s Up Events Planning Committee at BGSU. This ad-hoc committee was created in solidarity with the Time’s Up social movement and coordinated campus events to raise awareness about sex discrimination. We worked directly with Dr. Zoller-Booth, Dean of the Graduate College who initiated this institutional response to sexual assault and issues of workplace discrimination. We discussed strategies and best practices to engage students, faculty and staff in a series of discussions to inform and prevent sex discrimination. The Graduate planning committee expanded to include the BGSU Division of Student Affairs Title IX Officer Jennifer McCary, OHR Equity Officer Kulicke, and representatives from the university’s Counseling Center, Women’s Center, and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

To comply with mandatory reporting restrictions, the committee decided to approach this as an inclusive opportunity to exchange perspectives about discrimination and inform executives about how to mitigate policies that enable sexual harassment and assault. We scheduled three consecutive campus events, one specifically for faculty, one for the entire student body, and a final collective event to examine how the university can move forward and uphold its mission of equality and inclusion. I advocated for more inclusion, insisting that these events could not be successful if we categorically exclude or restrict participation-based gender or seniority, so the committee combined Graduate and Undergraduate breakout sessions to facilitate an equitable exchange of ideas to encourage candid discussions about discrimination. The feedback collected from these discussions will inform the university how to move forward and prevent institutional inaction.

COMMUNICATE AND INTERACT WITH A DIVERSE AND CHANGING WORKFORCE AND CITIZENRY

Competencies Addressed
5-b Capacity to understand and appreciate the value of pluralism, multiculturalism, and
cultural diversity
5-d Capacity to understand the value of and carry out coalition and team-building
5-e Capacity to understand and carry out effective human resource management

Artifacts Utilized

Appendix Y
BGSU Center For Leadership Participant: Falcons Leading For Change

Appendix Z
BGSU Division of Student Affairs, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Participant: Safe Zone Training

Appendix AA
BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs Participant: Diversity 360°

Appendix BB
Managing Hostile Work Environments: A Guide to Title VII and Equal Opportunity Compliance

Appendix CC
The Common Good of the UCF, Community Organizer, Recruiter, and Facilitator

Appendix DD
Downtown Bowling Green Foundation, Events Coordinator

Appendix EE
Masters of Public Administration Student Association (MPASA), Treasurer

Communicate And Interact With A Diverse And Changing Workforce And Citizenry: 5-b
Capacity to understand and appreciate the value of pluralism, multiculturalism, and cultural diversity

As an ethnic Hungarian, multiculturalism and inclusion is incredibly significant to me. Growing up in a homogenous community I became aware of prejudice and implicit biases at an early age. As an adult, I can understand the impact of microaggressions when people encounter my traditional Hungarian name. My experiences with cultural ignorance provides insight into hardships created by explicit biases and how damaging prejudice is to the social fabric of the nation. Understanding the value of diversity and respecting different cultural perspectives is integral to equitable public service. In a pluralistic country like the U.S. public administrators are obliged to represent the interests of a diverse society. It is my goal to use my position of privilege and professional power to help others achieve equality and empowerment. Social justice is foundational to my purpose in enrolling in the MPA program, and I actively participated in several workshops that advocate inclusion and cultural diversity.

The first workshop that reinforced cultural pluralism was Falcons Leading For Change. Part of the 2017 Leadership Week at BGSU, this day-long event coincided with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Challenge. The event was a series of breakout sessions to develop leadership skills that reflect university’s mission of inclusion and social change. The keynote speaker, Dr. Madison Duffy, discussed the value of leading by example and affecting change from the bottom-up by motivating others with a commitment to integrity and discipline. I participated in the Authentic Inclusion breakout session led by Aspiring Student Affairs Professionals, a group of undergraduate ambassadors for the Division of Student Affairs. We discussed how to foster a safe environment by encouraging diversity and recognizing salient identities or self-stereotyping. Facilitators explained the significance of self-perceptions and respecting the use of self-identifying pronouns, such as she/her/hers, he/him/his/, and they/their/theirs. They also emphasized that inclusion and respecting diversity does not necessitate responding to voices but listening to different perspectives.

The second Falcons Leading For Change breakout session examined leadership typologies with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Facilitated by ambassadors of the Center For Leadership, my leadership approach was characterized as a Relationship Master whose strengths are primarily building a sense of community. By respecting the contribution of the team and addressing their needs, a Relationship Master cultivates trust by leading from the bottom-up while reinforcing the value of diversity. Among the weaknesses of this typology is a difficulty in establishing clear expectations for the team, maintaining order among diverse voices, and implementing efficient management skills. The facilitators identified common disagreeable traits in this approach, including the tendency to compromise professional relationships by taking an unpopular stance when trying to be inclusive.

Another workshop I attended was the Safe Zone Training coordinated by the 2017 MPA cohort and facilitated by Dr. Katie Stygles in the BGSU Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Dr. Stygles informed us of evolving definitions and self-identifying terms used by the LGBTQ+ community. We discussed the importance of accommodating diverse populations and recognizing the unique prejudices affecting the LGBTQ+ community. We discussed how gender identities are binary social constructs, and to assume someone is straight is a type of microaggression. Dr. Stygles differentiated between safe and open exchanges indicating they are not always compatible, meaning not everyone feels safe when they share their experiences. As advocates we should be sensitive to those who have not openly identified as LGBTQ+ and respect the privacy of individuals who confide in us. We learned about dead names or former identities of Transgender individuals and how their process of self-identifying parallels a rebirth. We also learned that internalized dominance reflects prejudicial stereotyping because it assumes that if an LGBTQ+ individual has a conventional external identity (a girl looks like a girl, a boy looks like a boy) they are considered an exceptional member of the LGBTQ+ community, rather than representative of a pluralistic society.

The final workshop demonstrating my competence in diversity and inclusion was Diversity 360°. This event was a collaboration between Dr. Krishna Han in the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs and Dr. Marilyn S. Mobley of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equal Opportunity Leadership Team at Case Western University. Part of a new public curriculum, BGSU was identified as a partner institute taking a proactive approach to managing social conflicts. Dr. Mobley discussed how we need to change our vocabulary and standardize diversity training for university faculty, staff, and students. She encouraged fostering an open dialogue and participation to create cultural understanding and appreciation for diverse perspectives. The facilitators defined inclusion as the recognition of differences and the uniqueness of individuals, as well as a capacity to engage in honest dialogue that validates diversity. Participants were encouraged to raise awareness about microaggressions or daily indignities and demeaning messages. Dr. Mobley discussed the significant role of change agents and diversity champions who recognize that privilege manifests in a variety of conditions. She emphasized the importance of diversity for innovation and team-building, and that cultural competence begins by recognizing discrimination in all its forms. Finally, we discussed self-perceptions as dimensions of personality created by internal, external, and organizational affiliations, and how the intersectionality of seniority, religion, age, and cultural backgrounds influences our experiences.

Communicate And Interact With A Diverse And Changing Workforce And Citizenry: 5-e
Capacity to understand and carry out effective human resource management

For the research assignment in Public Management I: Personnel Management and Leadership (6260) I chose a topic that was relevant in public discourse, and a subject that was not clearly identified in the main textbook. While we discussed managing conflicts and the implications of sexual harassment in the workplace, there was less information available on how manage hostile work environments. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is easily identified by its severity and was widely reported in news media with the #MeToo social movement against discrimination. However, hostile work environments are more nuanced due to the spectrum of actions that constitute sex discrimination without physical contact. With its timely relevance and my personal connections to local entrepreneurs, I developed a guide to managing hostile work environments compliant with Title VII and distributed the final product to interested parties.

Recognizing legal distinctions and constitutional differences between public and private sectors, in both venues positive employee relations and healthy work environments depend on effective Human Resource Management (HRM). A primary responsibility of personnel management is establishing a safe environment that fosters efficient productivity. Federal protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin reinforce the equitable treatment of employees. To ensure activities such as hiring, promotion, firing, compensation, and employee relations do not violate Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, HRM develop policies to train, appraise, and monitor performance. In my report, I outline steps necessary to comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who oversees Title VII enforcement, advocates for employee rights, and due process.

The EEOC recommends preventative measures to combat harassment in the workplace, and my manual mirrors an employee manual compliant with Title VII and EEOC guidelines. First, I define hostile work environments as pervasive or severe offenses such as disparaging remarks, verbal or physical intimidation, and threats to the safety of personnel. I also include same-sex harassment in my definition. I advise developing clear anti-harassment policies, equitable grievance procedures, and ensure employees are informed of their rights. I remind employers that personnel must have access to resources to mediate employment discrimination and workplace harassment, such as HRM or EEOC contact information. I continue by identifying employer liabilities and agency principles that extend liabilities to supervisors. This means that since they are in positions of power, supervisors act as proxies for employer interests and must uphold non-discriminatory standards for employers to successfully argue an affirmative defense or that they took a proactive approach to prevent Title VII violations. I provide definitions and examples of actionable behavior, and evidence that workplace culture must reflect inclusive provisions to comply with EEOC.

Throughout the manual, I identify U.S. Supreme Court cases that uphold the regulatory power of EEOC and its Title VII guidelines. I inform employers how to develop equitable anti-harassment policies that outline an explicit code of ethics, as well as a mission statement that affirms a commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion. I advise that grievance procedures must include employee reporting mechanisms that bypass direct hierarchies in the event an immediate supervisor is acting inappropriately towards the employee. I also discuss the importance of conflict resolution for a diverse workforce, and the need for comprehensive training to address the significance of cultural competence including intergenerational dynamics. I reiterate that for Title VII and EEOC compliance, these policies must be widely promulgated or visible, and employers must provide regular anti-harassment training to all their employees, especially supervisors.

Communicate And Interact With A Diverse And Changing Workforce And Citizenry: 5-g
Capacity to understand the role of media and public relations in PA practice

My final competency demonstrates my professional versatility and the marketability of my skills. In an increasingly global and digital environment, agencies and organizations must adapt their approach to civic engagement and community development. In a visually-dependent and image-conscious society, the use of social media platforms is an effective method to communicate agency objectives and activities to the public. The use of digital media in public relations campaigns is also an efficient use of resources to expand an existing advocacy coalition, engage a broad base of public constituents, and demonstrate the accessibility or relevance of an organization. By embracing the modern revolution of online marketing and utilizing brand recognition as a tool to raise awareness, agencies and organizations adapt to changing environments, workforce, and citizenry. My extensive experience on retail and service industries reinforce my skills in target marketing, which transferred to my Graduate studies. Internships with non-profit organizations and my extracurricular activities are evidence of my ability to lead public relations campaigns.

As a Community Organizer, Recruiter, and Facilitator intern for the Common Good of the UCF, I developed an active social media presence, incorporated brand recognition into promotions, and created engaging outreach materials to expand the coalition of actors to sustain the non-profit Bowling Green Community Garden Project (BGCG). The Common Good was restructuring and rebranding itself as a non-denominational organization and was looking to revive its reputation. I revised their fundraising presentations, promoted a volunteer recruitment night at the Wood County District Public Library, and with local knowledge and contacts, I acquired a weekly vendor booth at the Downtown B.G. Farmers Market at no cost. I also facilitated a community discussion between area faith leaders and international students at BGSU and participated in monthly Black Swamp Green Team (BSGT) meetings to promote environmental sustainability and collaboration within the community. I drafted email templates and phone scripts to promote team-building opportunities and garden activities to area businesses, preschools, and assisted living facilities, and composed a public service announcement for local radio broadcast. Finally, I established an engaging social media presence with regular posts across a variety of platforms.

As the Events Coordinator intern for the Downtown Bowling Green Foundation (DTBG), my initial job description was limited to streamlining and updating operation manuals and project boards for annual fundraising events. The organization was looking to create an atmosphere that was appealing to Millennial-aged interns. Efficient task management and high-quality output expanded the parameters of the position and I developed an employee guide to improve the effectiveness of social media posts. The non-profit organization had a high turnover of volunteers, so the guide informed associates how to engage a diverse public with a consumer approach to online communication. I highlighted the efficiency of cross-platform media, and the use of in-text hyperlinks to facilitate effortless media consumption and improve external site navigation. I encouraged associates to approach social media posts with enthusiasm to establish a positive online presence and interactive followers. Lastly, recognizing that teenagers are an underserved population in area events, I developed a guide to engage youth with local entrepreneurs and artists. One of these ideas was implemented by a fellow intern and MPA student as the Future Black Swamp Artists event.

As the Masters of Public Administration Student Association (MPASA) Treasurer, I created a Falcon Funded professional development campaign through the BGSU Alumni Center. Using the crowdsourced platform, I designed the content, drafted templates for donation requests, social media posts and site updates. Finally, I created a two-minute promotional video to post on YouTube. The project is still in its pre-launch review, but our goal is to raise $1,200 with a four-week crowdsourced fundraiser to cover travel expenses for MPASA trips. I also designed social media invitations and event flyers for the MPA Capstone Poster and Presentations event, and for the MPASA social activities fundraiser.

FINAL REFLECTION

OBJECTIVES
The accredited Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) instills several key concepts of New Governance, including the value of networks, the complexities of civic participation, and the significance of institutional responsiveness to diverse public interests. The program delivers a comprehensive approach to policy studies, such as identifying public problems, setting equitable policy agendas, developing strategic plans for intervention, and implementing efficient policies and oversight mechanisms. These problem-solving and decision-making skills transfer to a variety of professional sectors, including public agencies, non-profit organizations, and collaborative public-private partnerships. The breadth of study and practical applications of the coursework helps MPA students understand nuances of political and social contexts in public administration, and the importance of leadership in public service.

INSTRUCTION
Cohesive instruction and collective departmental efforts to engage students in problem-solving, policy analysis, and civic participation reflect the program’s foundational concepts of democracy and inclusive public administration. In PA Theory and Behavior (6210), we discussed differences between policy and politics, the role of bureaucracies in democratic structures and service delivery, and how to manage the competing values of public administrators. PA and Public Policy (6200) expanded upon this understanding of theories and frameworks with a focus on policy processes and analyzing alternative solutions in all levels of government. In the Public Management couplet (6260/6280), we examined the legal, political, and structural issues of personnel management and fiscal policy, as well as corrective measures to counter bureaucratic inefficiencies. Research Methods (6750) introduced various techniques for data collection and quantitative analysis, emphasizing the significance of accuracy and validity in our social science research.

OUTCOMES
The MPA program refined my decision-making skills and capacity for leadership with practical experiences that applied core concepts and theories of public service. Elective courses provided me with specialized knowledge across a spectrum of policy areas and issues, such as community development and civic engagement for Local Economic Development (6600); the impact of consensus, collective action and global intervention by International Organizations (5750); the ability to contextualize social problems and evaluate policy alternatives to address Issues in PA and Public Policy (6350); identifying criteria to analyze objectives, measure outcomes, and develop recommendations to improve performance in Policy Analysis/Program Evaluation (6230). The versatility of these MPA courses and areas of study expanded my critical thinking skills, and the rigorous curriculum prepared me to excel in courses beyond the realm of political science, in a multitude of environments. For instance, I enrolled in an Inequality in the U.S. (HIST 6760) seminar which combined Humanities and Social Science disciplines. Students identified and analyzed disparate institutional conditions and cultural dynamics across broad social contexts. The evaluative skills honed by the MPA program enhanced my ability to decipher root causes of inequality and recognize negative externalities of entrenched hierarchical structures. The course also exemplified my improved public speaking skills and the ability to discuss contentious and sensitive issues with clarity and objectivity, which allowed me to deliver constructive critiques.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
The practical application of theories, models, and frameworks creates versatile cohorts of public administrators. MPA courses provided a variety of experiential learning opportunities to develop strong communication and networking skills necessary for effective public service. For example, collaborative service projects with community partners gave me experiences drafting professional, high-quality reports specific to individual clients’ needs. These service learning projects tested my ability to communicate with a diverse public, develop feasible policy solutions, and work collectively with my team to achieve pre-determined goals. The program also standardizes active student learning and participation techniques to develop leadership skills by assigning in-class discussion leaders and regular presentations. Students develop and refine public speaking skills by presenting individual research projects, policy analyses, and case studies that deliver clear and succinct issue backgrounds, alternatives, and recommendations.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The Department of Political Science faculty is incredibly supportive of students and encourage us to pursue individual interests and research within the framework of public administration. This aspect is among the many highlights that exemplify the unique and impressive qualities of the program. Inclusive, accessible and straight-forward instruction facilitates lasting professional connections, familiarity between cohorts and instructors, and improves self-esteem by creating an environment that cultivates personal and professional development. Furthermore, scholarships provide students the financial assistance that allows us to focus on academic and professional success and gives the freedom to participate in extracurricular campus activities or events, and volunteer programs within the community. Graduate Assistantships also relieve the financial burden of higher education while providing invaluable mentorship for students. Establishing professional relationships with faculty inspires confidence among cohorts and illustrates the program’s commitment to student preparedness.

STUDENT RESOURCES
In addition to academic and professional advice, students receive regular updates and information about internship and employment opportunities from the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Orr. Attuned to the expansive application of an MPA, Dr. Orr encourages students to cultivate professional networks and will routinely assess individual progress with scheduled office hours and open advising sessions. Department faculty are equally supportive of students; each of my course instructors provided constructive feedback on assignments, were available for academic advising outside of their regular office hours and seemed genuinely interested in my personal growth and professional success. From what I understand of other graduate programs – at BGSU and elsewhere – this supportive environment is unique in higher education. Although enrollment in the MPA program is competitive these support structures translate to the dynamic relationships among student cohorts who shared individual experiences and common resources with new MPA candidates.

RECOMMENDATIONS
In an era of divisive social issues and the questionable integrity of our public servants, I think it is incredibly important for the program to offer Public Administration Ethics as a requisite MPA course. While the ethical implications of policy and governance is a topic generally discussed in most of the core courses, Ethics in PA provides a philosophical understanding of differences between ethics and morality and can provide administrative tools to prevent ethical misconduct. Since it was not offered during my second academic year (2017 – 2018), in my final semester I enrolled in an independent study, Applying Ethics in Public Service (POLS 6860, Walterhouse) to examine sex discrimination and the institutional inaction of Michigan State University despite astounding ethical violations by Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics. The independent study was intended to satisfy the NASPAA Public Service Perspective and reflect a capacity to understand the value of professional integrity/ethics in PA practice, but I was unable to complete my research paper before this Capstone portfolio was due. Nevertheless, I recognized the significance of philosophical principles that shape a duty-based approach to public service and I highly recommend revisiting the list of MPA core courses or incorporating an expanded discussion of ethics into existing curricula.

CONCLUSION
Enrolling in the MPA program was one of the best decisions I have made as an adult. As a non-traditional student, this two-year program was very appealing. I expanded and refined my skillsets and identified a career path in Human Resources to affect positive social change. It makes me proud to be a part of a cohort who seeks to make the world more equitable. While faculty maintain high expectations for student performance, the overriding goal of instruction is for us to comprehend the principles imbued in public service. The high expectations demanded by this program parallel a responsive faculty who allow students to revisit and improve upon weaknesses. For instance, as I struggled with quantitative analysis I was given the opportunity to resubmit a series of weekly Research Methods (6750) exercises, resulting in a greater understanding of the material and improved performance on the final exam. Rather than accepting defeat, I was consistently reminded of my capacity for excellence and with extra effort, I was able to prove myself.

Such positive reinforcements and contextual understanding are characteristic of a department that is adaptable in its efficient design, sustainable in is equity, and commendable in its effective approach to incorporating active and experiential learning models into the program. The conscious and practical use of active instruction and mentorship represents the mission of the program to foster leadership and inspire a commitment to effective public service.