Dr. Wesley Meares, director of the Master of Public Administration program at Augusta University, was thrilled when he recently received a letter from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) announcing the MPA program has been reaccredited for the next seven years.
“NASPAA is of the gold standard of accreditation when it comes to public affairs and public administration education,” Meares said. “This accreditation says that we hold up to their high standards and it shows the excellence of the program. Basically, it gives us a seal of approval for our program.”
NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in public administration, public policy, public affairs, nonprofit and related fields with a membership organization of 317 institutional members located in 25 countries.
“This accreditation looks great for our students who are graduating and going out into the job market. Employers know that they came from a program that is accredited by an outside body,” Meares said. “Roughly 60 to 65% of these kinds of programs are actually accredited and we are one of them.”
To receive the accreditation with NASPAA, the MPA program at Augusta University had to complete a rigorous process involving internal review, evaluation and adjustments, as well as a peer review process, Meares said.
“It takes a lot of work,” Meares said, adding that students, administrators, faculty members, administrative staff and the provost were all involved in the almost two-year process. “Everybody really chipped in as we went through this process and worked extremely hard to receive this accreditation.”
For more than 25 years, the MPA program’s faculty at Augusta University has worked diligently to offer students a path to success in their chosen or future careers.
Domonic Bearfield, chair of the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation for NASPAA, described Augusta University’s MPA program as being in “substantial conformity with NASPAA standards.”
“By pursuing and achieving accreditation through a rigorous peer review, your program has demonstrated a substantial commitment to quality public service education,” Bearfield wrote in his July 27 letter. “You are part of the global community of over 200 accredited graduate programs in public service. The Commission wishes to commend the program faculty and department chair for their strong commitment to the mission of the program and to serving students, and for fully embracing the accreditation process.”
Meares said he was particularly excited that Augusta University received the accreditation without any additional required monitoring of the MPA program over the next seven years.
“Usually with these accreditations, you can still be monitored. In fact, it is pretty common that you’re monitored on something in the program,” he said. “We got through it without any monitoring, so that is really a very nice class to be in.”
Ranked at No. 131 out of almost 300 MPA programs across the country, Augusta University’s MPA program ranking increased by 33 points from last year.
“This ranking puts us in the top 48.5% of programs in the United States, and we’re ranked fourth out of the around 15 programs in the state of Georgia,” Meares said. “While we’ve always known we have a high-quality program, this is just a signifier of the hard work of our students, alumni and faculty in getting the name of Augusta University out there and showing everyone the great work that we do.”