Page 3

News From the MPA Program

This has been a very active and momentous year for the ECU MPA Program.  The lead article in this newsletter describes a major grant coming to the program from the U.S. Department of State.  This is an important new direction for the MPA program, but it is certainly not the only news the program has generated this academic year.

After an intensive year-long self study in the 1999-2000 academic year, the MPA program underwent its reaccredidation examination by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, (NASPAA) in the 2000-2001 academic year.  In February, a three person site-visit team representing the NASPAA Committee on Peer Review and Accreditation (COPRA) visited the ECU campus and assessed the program's curriculum, faculty, physical space, and other aspects. The site-visit team met with current MPA students, alumni, and the MPA program's External Advisory Committee, as well as with ECU officials and MPA faculty.  The site visit team's report went to COPRA in the summer of 2001 and the Program was informed of COPRA's decision on reaccredidation in August, 2001.  The decision was positive--the program has been reaccredited for a period of seven years. 
The effort to attain reaccredidation was a long and involved one; the result is cer

tainly worth savoring.   The reaction of the MPA faculty can be best summed up by a quote from the MPA coordinator at Georgia College who recently wrote in The Georgia Public Administrator, Don't let anyone deceive you into thinking the accreditation process is fun.  Only sado-masochists will truly think of it as enjoyable.  But the process is valuable.

Each May, the magazine US News releases its annual ranking of graduate programs in the United States. The MPA program at ECU appeared in the magazine's ranking of best graduate schools in the field of public affairs/administration for the first time this past year.  ECU showed up tied for 57th with an overall score of 2.8 on a five-point scale.  This ranking places ECU in the top 22 percent of MPA programs in the U.S.  Other programs tied with ECU were Brigham Young University, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Wayne State University.  ECU's ranking was just behind such well-known schools as Michigan State, Portland State, Brandeis, and Virginia Commonwealth.  And the MPA program at ECU ranked ahead of MPA programs at schools such as Georgia Tech, UNC-Charlotte, and the Universities of Alabama, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and West Virginia.  The only programs ranked higher than ECU in North Carolina were UNC-Chapel Hill (12th), Duke University  (19th), and North Carolina  State University (35th).  While all such national rankings are subjective and reputational they

are based on surveys of faculty in the respective fields attaining a national ranking as the MPA program has done is a credit to East Carolina University.

The MPA program has, once again, attracted a student from the former Soviet Union funded by the Muskie/Freedom Support Act.  Ilhom Maksudov, from Uzbekistan, entered the MPA program in fall, 2001.  Ilhom is pursuing a community health area of emphasis and is expected to complete the program in May 2003.  Ilhom is the sixth student funded by the Muskie/FSA program to enroll in the MPA program.  Three students Arevik Saribekyan, Shokhrat Orazov, and Yelena Sazonova have completed the MPA and returned to their respective countries to take public administration positions.  Two additional students Zhanna Servetnyk and Nizami Akhverdiyev are in their second year of study and are expected to complete the program in May  2002.

Successful Year for Pi Sigma Alpha

The 2000-2001 academic year is a benchmark for Pi Sigma Alpha. Membership grew to its largest size and activities increased dramatically. Among the activities, Pi Sigma Alpha hosted its first Careers in Political Science Day, presenting the different political and nonpolitical career options for students majoring in political science. The event also provided information to students about  law school. Pi Sigma Alpha also

helped with the North Carolina Political Science Association Conference, hosted by ECU last spring.

The 2001-2002 academic year is starting off on a promising note as well. Under the leadership of President Kristin Wooten, Vice-President Matthew Albert, and Secretary-Treasurer Amanda Lyons, the society has planned some new events to

build upon the activities from last year. In the fall Pi Sigma Alpha held a used book sale to raise money for the society. The second Political Science Career Day took place in October. In the spring semester, Pi Sigma Alpha plans to take a trip to Washington, D.C. in addition to hosting an event to promote the Political Science major to students at ECU.

Political Science Department
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858 
Contact: Rick Kearney