The Department of Public Administration’s undergraduate B.A. in Public Management program, founded in 1945, is the oldest public management major in the nation. The program has particular strength in state and local government, policy, and administration. Founded in 1968, the Master’s of Public Administration is offered in Orono and Augusta. It is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and is one of approximately 140 accredited graduate programs in the nation. The Department also offers the Ph.D. in Public Administration through the Individualized Ph.D. Program of the University.
Students enjoy three advantages through their work in the Department. First, the faculty are fundamentally committed to teaching and to helping students learn about democracy and experience work in the public sector. Second, faculty enjoy national reputations for their research and scholarship; thus, the degree is competitive throughout the country. Third, public service is central to the mission; the programs provide a variety of opportunities for practical learning and participation through internship opportunities.
Students of public administration examine government and nonprofit organizations to see how those organizations operate on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis. This gives the Department of Public Administration a three-fold mission:
First, to prepare students for productive, fulfilling careers in public and nonprofit administration - particularly in the dynamics of state and local government.
Second, to promote an understanding and appreciation of the functions and value of government in society.
- Third, to contribute to the improvement of governance and societal institutions.
The Department’s programs address questions of governance in democratic society, political and ethical values in public service, the operation of public organizations, and formulating, implementing, and evaluating the consequences of public policies.
The undergraduate major in public management combines comprehensive, nationally recognized instruction within a liberal arts base and significant opportunities for practical experience. The major introduces many of the skills necessary for understanding and participating in public affairs, including critical thinking, effective speaking and writing, and research and analytical capabilities.
The Department has continuing relationships with academic and research units across the campus and with professional organizations outside the university system. One of these is the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, through which students and faculty have engaged in many research endeavors. Looking to the future, another is the Business School’s William S. Cohen Center for International Policy and Commerce. Professional and related organizations include the American Society for Public Administration, Maine Municipal Association, Eastern Agency on Aging and the Eastern Maine Development Corporation, among others. The Department engages in a range of research and public service projects for the State of Maine, its communities, and beyond, a series of community policing studies, the silver collar worker, analyses of the impact of state and local interest groups on Supreme Court decisions, a comparative state study on home rule in America, and a range of workshops and institutes for employees in the public and nonprofit sectors.
Public Service career opportunities have been expanding dramatically in response to the changing needs of our dynamic society. Graduates have entered careers at all levels of government - local, regional, state, national and international. They have been employed in general administrative positions as well as in specialized positions such as budgeting and financial management, public relations, human resources management, and program evaluation. Typical positions can be found in city and town management, state government, a broad range of planning agencies and commissions, and the federal government. Many students have found rewarding careers in small businesses, large corporations, interests groups, and hospitals and other nonprofit organizations. Many of our students continue their education by entering the Master’s Program in Public Administration, other graduate programs in the social sciences, law school, or graduate programs in business.
Public servants are endowed with the public trust and, therefore, are held at the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. The Department of Pubic Administration expects all of its students to uphold the highest ethical standards. It is the responsibility of students to be aware of the Department’s policy on ethical standards, sanctions and appeal process. All of the above are available at the Department of Public Administration Office in 239 North Stevens Hall. Violation of these standards can result in dismissal from the Department and its courses, as well as a failing grade for a course.
For additional information, please go to the Department’s web site www.umaine.edu/pubadmin or call (207) 581-1872.