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Public Administration

Update on the PA Program – Message from Interim Director Dr. Irwin Morris

It has been an extraordinarily productive year for our Department of Public Administration in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at NC State University. Our students, staff and faculty have been extremely busy. 

I am happy to say we have successfully searched for two additional tenure track faculty. This fall Jay Rickabaugh and Graham Ambrose will be joining our faculty. Jay is currently a faculty member at Appalachian State University, and his areas of research and teaching are local government and intergovernmental relations. Graham is completing his Ph.D. at the Maxwell School at Syracuse, and he works in the areas of local government and science and technology policy. SPIA and the Department of Public Administration are also currently searching for the first Bob and Carol Mattocks Distinguished Professor in Nonprofit Leadership. Following a competitive review process, the Dean chose our proposal for the Mattocks chair, and we are grateful to the donors, Bob and Carol Mattocks, who are funding this professorship. We hope to have the first Mattocks chair in place by the beginning of the fall semester.

We had a sizable number of MPA graduates this past year, and at our spring commencement, the Ph.D. program had the largest class in its history. Our MPA graduates continue to take prominent placements in local and state government, nonprofits, and in higher education. In fact, this past year MPA alumnus Jill Orr joined the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as the executive director of development. Ph.D. students continue to win significant placements in the policy community and in higher ed.

Our faculty are serving the college and university in a wide variety of appointments. Tom Birkland is completing his tenure as associate dean of research and engagement. Jennifer Kuzma is in her tenth year as the co-director of the university’s Genetic Engineering and Society Center. Christopher Galik has recently taken the helm of NC State’s Sustainable Futures Initiative, and Branda Nowell is the new director of the Environmental First Year program Internally, we have coordinators for both of our certificate programs—Nonprofit Studies (Mandi Stewart) and policy analysis (Jeff Diebold)—for the first time in quite a while. Jim Brunet continues his exceptional leadership of the LEEP and AOMP programs that are now bursting at the seams. Jerrell Coggburn has done hard work as the director of the MPA and Ph.D. programs. And while I have welcomed the opportunity to return to my intellectual roots (and graduate school training in public administration), we will begin an internal search for the next department chair before the end of the month. Our faculty regularly invest significant time in extension and engagement. One new program that Coggburn is working on is a MPA cohort program for public officials in Wake County. The program is still in the developmental stage, but with the necessary approvals, we may be in a position to launch the program before the end of the calendar year. Stay tuned for more info.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Meggie Romick and Tracy Appling. From graduate program admissions, to internships, to newsletters and graduation, they do a remarkable job.

Thank you all for your continued support. We’re so proud of you. Go Pack!