McKenzie Schuessler, Opinions Editor
On Jan. 25, 2019, a campus wide email was sent out to all faculty, students and staff about the formal merge of the masters of public policy administration department to the political science department.
“The consolidation was a recommendation from UMSL’s Academic Program Prioritization Committee and approved by campus leadership in May 2018,” Provost and Vice Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said.
In the email, Sobolik mentioned specifics regarding the consolidation moving forward. “MPPA will retain its own director, advising and curriculum, with the director reporting to the department chair. The certificates in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Local Government Management and Program and Policy Evaluation will continue. This structural change will not affect current students’ progress toward a degree.”
The MPPA was formerly a free-standing program in the graduate school. The MPPA program had a bachelor’s of science degree option that was loose and never marketed, which led to a lot of confusion. However, with the merger of these two programs, MPPA will be able to successfully carry out the bachelor’s program. Currently, the two most common questions following the merge are, where will the public policy administration move their office and will the PPA create their own bylaws or follow the political science department’s bylaws?
“Probably the last thing that will get done is finding a way to merge these spaces together. I’m hoping that there will be more of an effort to do that. One of the ideas we have is to put the director in the office next to me,” said political science department Chairperson Dave Robertson.
Robertson also mentions that the department is in the process of developing bylaws for the public policy administration department that will fall under the political science department, but will leave the PPA to exist and operate on its own.
“There is such a huge opportunity for us with, for example, nonprofit management at the undergraduate level and at the master’s level. The connections that we can make and the service we can provide for our region is limitless, but we haven’t been able to connect that or coordinate it. But I think now we’re going to be able to do that,” said Robertson.
Following the consolidation of the two departments, one can foresee a growth in both the political science and public policy administration departments. Like Robertson said, now the two departments can work closely together in creating a better academic setting for the students and give back to our community.