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MPA Diversity Philosophy

Introduction

The MPA program is committed to the values of diversity and inclusion among its faculty, staff, and students and to communicating and instilling the values of diversity and inclusion in the next generation of Carolina public service leaders. As the US population has become more diverse, it is important that public service leaders both represent the diversity of the communities they serve and understand the varying needs and cultural expressions of those they serve. The MPA diversity philosophy addresses how these are integrated into the recruitment and selection of faculty, staff, and students, how they are integrated within the program’s competency-based curriculum, and how they are used to enhance the overall student experience in the MPA program.

Definition

The MPA program defines diversity as a range of individual characteristics: race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, nationality, physical ability, socioeconomic status, and military membership. These categories are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather illustrative of the value the MPA program places on individual differences brought by students, staff, and faculty to the MPA program and to the School of Government.

Faculty

The MPA program is committed to diversifying its faculty to include representation of the broadest range of individual characteristics, and in particular, people of color.

Strategy: The MPA program follows the School of Government’s diversity plan on the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and has representation on the School’s diversity committee.

Staff

The MPA program is committed to recruiting and maintaining a diverse staff and to supporting staff members who want to expand their understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Strategy: Staff members regularly attend university-wide trainings on various aspects of diversity and inclusion, which is extremely important to maintaining an administrative culture that is committed to these and other values of the MPA program.

Student Recruitment and Selection

The MPA program strives to attract a strong and diverse group of students, which is fundamental to enhancing thought diversity in the classroom and to accomplishing the program’s mission of preparing public service leaders.

Strategy: The MPA program uses multiple recruitment strategies in order to increase diversity among its student body, ranging from broad recruitment strategies of providing information on the program’s website to specific recruitment strategies of participating in job fairs at HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). The MPA program also uses its Diversity in Public Service Scholarship to help recruit and retain diverse students.

Strategy: At the program’s annual faculty and staff retreat, attendees review diversity statistics for current and incoming students and discuss recruiting strategies for increasing student diversity.

Curriculum

The MPA program uses a competency-based curriculum to ensure that students are obtaining the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics to help them become public service leaders. Students are exposed to the program’s public service values of accountability and transparency, respect and equity, efficiency and effectiveness, and professionalism and ethical behavior within this competency framework and are measured on the intermediary competency of identifying the legal and ethical implications of social equity and diversity in the public service.

Strategy: The program offers electives that specifically address diversity. For example, the course, Diversity in Public Administration, provides an overview of diversity dynamics in public sector workplaces and focuses on various aspects of diversity, including race and gender.

Student Experience

The MPA program aims to make visible its commitment to diversity and inclusion in areas of the student experience beyond the classroom in order to motivate students to be personally committed to diversity in public service.

Strategy: A diversity committee of student volunteers in their second-year of the MPA program schedule workshops for first-year students on issues of diversity, inclusion, power, and privilege. An ICMA student chapter also demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion through events focused on such issues as women in public administration.

Conclusion

Today’s public service leaders must understand diversity and inclusion to deliver effective public service and management. Accordingly, Carolina MPA graduates must understand and embrace the values of diversity and inclusion, as well as how to achieve these values within public organizations and communities. To achieve this understanding, the MPA program is committed to achieving a diverse faculty and student body, and employing intentional effort at creating inclusive work environments within our walls and the communities we serve.