MPA recognized for its ‘substantial commitment to quality public service education’
Since its founding in 1906, Suffolk University has been committed to helping others. That mission is especially strong within the Sawyer Business School’s Institute for Public Service, where, in the fall of 2020, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program was reaccredited for seven more years by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
“It’s a significant accomplishment to be recognized by NASPAA and shows the level of excellence the MPA program provides,” says Amy Zeng, dean of the Sawyer Business School. “Our Institute for Public Service has been teaching and training generations of leaders in public administration for decades. We’re proud that the Institute’s important work has been acknowledged yet again.”
Suffolk’s was the first NASPAA-accredited MPA program in New England. The program’s initial degrees were awarded in 1975, and since then over 2,500 Suffolk students have gone on to earn an MPA.
Many graduates end up working in state or local government in Massachusetts. (The Massachusetts State House is just steps from campus.) Michael Vazquez, MPA ’18, is director of community affairs for Gov. Charlie Baker. He says he got his degree to complement the experience he already had in government.
“I felt like I needed that extra push to elevate me to the next level,” Vazquez says. “I knew I wanted to continue working in government, and I realized the strong presence Suffolk has in the Massachusetts State House. Plus, I only get to see government in action from the executive branch. The program allowed me to view state government from a 30,000-foot view and better understand how all three branches function simultaneously.”
Government isn’t the only place Suffolk MPA graduates use their degrees and build their careers. Moussa Cissé, MPA ’17, travels to his home country of Guinea once a year with suitcases full of medicine to help treat and educate patients with heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the country. Mohamed Djingo, MPA ’16, is a counselor at the Permanent Mission of Niger to the United Nations. Amie McCarthy, MPA ’15, is vice president of clinical operations at Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado.
Preparing public service professionals for successful careers
The program prepares students to enhance the responsiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness of public service organizations, while upholding the democratic values of inclusion, egalitarianism, and respect for diversity. Graduates take on management and leadership positions in federal, state, and local government; nonprofit agencies; and private sector organizations. (See below to learn more about Suffolk MPA placements.)
Sawyer MPA students have received Rappaport Public Policy awards in competition with a variety of students from area universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, Northeastern, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
Students can also customize their degrees to focus on areas of healthcare, state and local government, nonprofit management, or performance management.
As the Suffolk MPA moves toward its 46th year, the need for public service professionals is greater than ever. “The pandemic has demonstrated so clearly what our students, faculty, and alumni have known and worked toward for decades: How vital it is to have trained experts to help solve public problems,” says Professor Aimee Williamson, chair of the Institute for Public Service. “We have always been and will continue to be actively engaged in issues that matter to society. NASPAA encourages that, and we will continue to embody it.”
“This year demonstrates so clearly what our students, faculty, and alumni have known and worked toward for decades: How vital it is to have trained experts to help solve public problems,” says Professor Aimee Williamson, chair of the Institute for Public Service. “We have always been and will continue to be actively engaged in issues that matter to society,” says Williamson. “NASPAA encourages that, and we will continue to embody it.”
Suffolk MPAs work in many different sectors:
- Kristen Lepore, BA ’92, MPA ’97, chief of staff for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
- Marty Meehan, MPA ’81, JD ’86, president of the University of Massachusetts
- Elaine Gabovitch, MPA ’08, director, Division of Children & Youth with Special Health Needs, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- Natalia Urtubey, MPA/MSPS ’12, director of small business, City of Boston
- Paulo Pinto, MPA ’95, executive director of MAPS (Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers)
- Aimee Newell, MPA ’18, executive director, Stonington Historical Society
- Matthew Bennett, MPA ’16, field manager, National Education Association
- Ilene Wilkins, MPA ’95, CEO of UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) of Central Florida
- Peter Lombardi, MPA ’11, town administrator, Town of Brewster, Mass.