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Thursday, September 23, 2021

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SDSU is partnering with the City of Carlsbad to offer a Master of Public Administration degree to its employees. SDSU is partnering with the City of Carlsbad to offer a Master of Public Administration degree to its employees.
 


New MPA Program Offered for Carlsbad City Employees

The program, held in partnership with the City of Carlsbad, is available to city employees in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Oceanside.
By La Monica Everett-Haynes
 

“The City of Carlsbad MPA program is a perfect example of our school continually seeking to stay connected to the region and to local governments in particular.”

A new San Diego State University Master of Public Administration program is being launched specifically to support the leadership development of employees of the City of Carlsbad.  

Employees in the city governments of Encinitas and Oceanside also may apply to the SDSU program, slated to launch in North San Diego County in January. 

Housed in the School of Public Affairs, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program provides training and instruction to prepare public sector leaders for managerial positions, including those in public policy, fiscal administration, urban administration and related areas. 

“The City of Carlsbad MPA program is a perfect example of our school continually seeking to stay connected to the region and to local governments in particular,” said Sherry Ryan, professor and director of SDSU’s School of Public Affairs. “Our faculty are strongly committed to SDSU's mission to protect and advance the public good and to serve the community.” 

The collaboration with Carlsbad is an example of SDSU’s effort to expand educational access throughout the region and also presents what partnership potentials may exist through an expanded campus presence in Mission Valley. 

It was Jon Aasted, human resources technician for the City of Carlsbad, who recommended that the City of Carlsbad, which has 750 full-time employees, pursue an agreement with SDSU to offer the program. The program previously had been offered in Carlsbad and, through a learning needs assessment and conversations about educational access with his city colleagues, Aasted saw the need to reintroduce the offering. 

“We did consider other universities, but they did not offer what we needed by way of flexibility like SDSU,” said Aasted, who has applied for the MPA program.

In the 36-unit program, MPA students take core courses in areas that include administrative theory, public finance, public policy and research methods. Courses will be offered at the City of Carlsbad office, diminishing the need to travel the 40 miles, one way, to SDSU. Also, City of Carlsbad employees will be able to apply for the agency’s tuition reimbursement program, which offers $10,000 annually. 

“As a recruiter, I see that so many people applying for positions have a bachelor’s degree—you find that often with those applying for management positions. So, the master’s degree will set a candidate apart,” Aasted said. “It is also a great opportunity for those who are working in a range of departments—finance, the police department, public works—and are learning to be better managers and who are interested in leadership overall.” 

The MPA program in Carlsbad mirrors the main campus program and is held to the same standards as the specialized accreditation applied through Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, the SDSU School of Public Affairs’ national accrediting body.

“The face-to-face off-campus degree program serves a unique niche of professionals who seek to advance their careers but may face barriers related to travel times and other life commitments associated with challenging family and work schedules,” Ryan said. “It is very powerful when SDSU partners with local employers to make an investment in a group of employees, in a manner that breaks down barriers associated with distance to campus and physical access to campus.”