As the semester has come to an end and the campus is a flurry with students and families celebrating all that has been accomplished, I reflect on the past year and consider all that has been accomplished. This academic year, we have graduated 20 amazingly talented public service professionals; some who have accepted new positions in local government, state government, and nonprofit organizations, and others who have used what they have learned to create even more value in their existing workplaces.
Our Community Assistance Program, under the leadership of Ali Titus, has provided meaningful applied learning experiences for four bright and talented MPA students while building the capacity of community-based organizations and local governments. This past year some of the projects our students have worked on include: creating a Tri-County LGBTQ Community Needs Assessment for The Alliance for Full Acceptance to; marketing and training for Charleston County School District Kaleidoscope Expanded Learning; planned a gender and wage gap educational event for the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network; and developing a community engagement plan for the Charleston Promise Neighborhood.
I am grateful for an amazing advisory committee who has provided thoughtful feedback and guidance as we introduced a major curriculum change that has allowed us to better align our coursework with our mission and the learning outcomes we have defined for the program, while eliminating redundancy and highlighting our commitment to community.
This dedicated group of community leaders, many College of Charleston MPA Alumni, has also played a major part in the launch of an Executive MPA that will enroll its first class in fall 2019.
Classes will be offered at the North Campus in a weekend, hybrid format with in-person sessions on intermittent Saturdays throughout the semester. The EMPA is a two-year degree program designed for working professionals with five or more years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. Similar to the on-campus program, all classes will be delivered by our dedicated MPA faculty members and prominent practitioners in the field. Our program has already graduated some of the region’s most respected public and nonprofit leaders. We have every expectation that EMPA graduates will join our existing alumni in tackling the environmental, health, safety, and social justice challenges facing our communities, in ways that improve the livability and quality of life in the Lowcountry.
In closing, I am grateful to be part of an amazing program with such dedicated faculty, enthusiastic professional staff, thoughtful students, and engaged and committed graduates who are passionate about promoting their alma mater. And, I am proud of what we have accomplished this year. My door is always open, please come by and say hi if ever you are in the area.
- Dr. Judy Millesen, MPA Program Director
MPA Program News
"I was raised in the Carolinas, graduated from of USC, and am now a proud Cougar alum! I've been lucky in my professional career to wear many hats, as a baker, a jeweler, a research specialist and a tour guide. My favorite hat so far has been that of Community Assistance Program. Over the last two years, I've been able to study for my MPA while serving in an amazing office where I've learned from some truly inspiring coworkers and an unbelievably perfect supervisor, Ali Titus. Getting to help local nonprofits and government offices build their capacity has been rewarding from both a motivational and educational perspective. Accepting my position here in the Masters of Public Administration program has been the best decision I've ever made. I'm so thankful for everyone who has made this journey possible and for those who have helped me along the way. Congratulations to my amazing cohort!!"
"I have always been drawn to positions that benefit my community in some way, from Parks and Recreation to case management in youth social services. After graduating from Augustana University and working in direct care for two years, I decided to leave my home state of South Dakota to earn my MPA at the College. It was easy to fall in love with Charleston and be inspired to work on issues it faces. I am very grateful for the new community I have found here through the MPA program staff, faculty and my classmates. They truly are some of the best people I know. During my time here, I've gained skills and knowledge to contribute to the work being done by local government, the amazing network of nonprofits, and other social justice initiatives in the area. "
"From volunteering at soup kitchens in middle school to leading international outreach programs in college, I have unconsciously laid a thorough foundation for excelling in a career that focuses on the service of others. After graduating from the College of William and Mary, I worked at a nonprofit in New York that granted me a professional introduction to the joys of working for the public benefit. I've lived in Charleston for over five years and my growing love for this city continues to shape my professional goals into a desire to facilitate tangible social change. I am grateful for my time in this program and the people I have met that will continue to teach and inspire me long after graduation. I intend to stay in the Lowcountry and work with an organization that bridges gaps, reconciles differences, and creates solutions."
Marla is a 2006 undergraduate of the English Department and will graduate with her Master’s in Public Administration in May. She has been a full-time at the College since 2007 where she worked in the Academic, Student, and Business Affairs divisions. She also serves as the Black Student Union staff adviser for the last 5 years. Marla is also a board member of the non-profit organization, PLAN (Post Landfill Action Network). She volunteers to conduct diversity education workshop across multiple departments on campus and remains vehemently dedicated to the support, encouragement, and advancement of black students on campus.
Chloe Stuber entered the MPA program with several years of experience in the nonprofit sector, with a primary focus on social justice issues and strengthening the capacity of grassroots, community-led work. During her time in the MPA program, she served for one year as a graduate assistant with the Community Assistance Program (CAP), and completed a full academic year internship with the City of Charleston Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition to obtaining her MPA, she earned a Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning. Her research has focused on the intersections between equitable development, land use planning and environmental justice issues. Post graduation, she aspires to remain in Charleston to continue her work in this field.
Master of Public Administration & Master of Environmental Studies
Joseph Coz Master of Public Administration & Master of Environmental Studies
Ashton Basar will be graduating with her Concurrent Masters Degrees in Public Administration and Environmental Studies. She used the MPA portion of her degree to focus on healthcare related issues and conduct outreach. She learned how to display her research in a way that could help policy makers better understand new findings. Ashton will be moving on to get her PhD in the fall at MUSC in Biomedical science. She would like to thank the MPA program for helping her to never forget to focus on the ones that she will be serving and CofC for leading her to a future career as a professor.
"After working for a few years for an environmental nonprofit, I joined the MPA program to be equipped for leadership in the future. It's been a crazy two years, and while I won't miss reading and writing papers, I will definitely miss the time spent learning with a truly amazing group of people. For now, I'm staying in Charleston, keeping my nonprofit job, and focusing on being a mom to my two month old baby girl. In the future, I'll be looking to take on more of a leadership role in the nonprofit or public sector with a passion for environmental stewardship and justice."
"My MPA experience has been incredible. I've learned a ton about what it means to be a just and effective civil servant, and I've made friendships that are sure to last a lifetime. I'm looking forward to starting my next chapter as Community Manager for Charleston nonprofit Lowcountry Local First!
"I am a native of Lane, SC and attended Claflin University. While at Claflin I took on several leadership roles and enjoyed working with the university’s call center as a student manager. I was involved in the Clinton Global Initiative, the Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship and the Young People For Fellowship, and also created the Low Country Youth Enhancement Program to provide resources for youth and families throughout Williamsburg county. This work continues as I am currently finishing my MPA at the College of Charleston. I plan to continue my studies in the science of public administration and service as I begun my tenure in the Executive Masters in Public Service (EMPS) provided by the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas Medical School."
Nick Mercer is graduating from the College of Charleston with a Master of Public Administration. He previously earned a Bachelor's from Towson University in Baltimore, MD. Throughout graduate school, Nick worked for the Master of Public Administration's Community Assistance Program where he had the opportunity to work with various nonprofit organizations and local municipalities including the Alliance for Full Acceptance, the Lowcountry Food Bank, the City of Charleston's Division of Business and Neighborhood Services, and others. Nick concentrated his degree on nonprofit management and social justice and is grateful for the program's emphasis on the importance of celebrating diversity. Nick recently accepted a Giving Programs Officer position with the South Carolina Aquarium, where he manages the South Carolina Aquarium's annual giving portfolio. Nick would like to thank his professors and mentors for their support, with a special thanks to Ali Titus, Barbie Schreiner, and Dr. Judy Millesen.
"I am an international student from Germany and came to live in Charleston with my husband two years ago. My background is in arts management and arts education programming in local government in Germany. The MPA program was the perfect step in advancing my knowledge and skills in managing public organizations. I am also completing the arts management certificate which allows me to apply all of what I learned to the arts sector. After graduation, I will work as a development associate for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston."
Lucas Hernandez Master of Public Administration & Master of Environmental Studies
John Lambert Master of Public Administration
MPA Program Launches
New Executive MPA Format!
The Master of Public Administration program at the College of Charleston is proud to announce a new Executive format that is now accepting applications for Fall 2019! At its core, executive education allows ambitious mid-career professionals to earn an advanced degree without having to withdraw from work and life commitments. The College of Charleston MPA is the highest ranking NASPAA-accredited program in the state, and it now offers the first and only Executive MPA format. This new option is designed for passionate leaders with at least five years of professional work experience, seeking higher level knowledge and skills to make an even greater impact in the Lowcountry. While the curriculum of the Executive MPA format will mirror the traditional format, there are a few distinctive features that cater to working professionals in the area.
Spring 2019 Faculty & Adjunct Faculty Members: Dr. Judy Millesen - Program Director
Capstone Seminar Dr. Kate Keeney Advanced Arts Management Dr. Matthew Nowlin Research and Management for Environmental Organizations Dr. Kendall Deas Females and Minorities in Public Administration Bob O'Neil
Urban Policy Dr. Kendra Stewart Managing Public Organizations Barbara Schreiner
Fundraising and Marketing for Nonprofit Dr. Jonathan Rauh
Research Methods Steve Bedard
Managing Financial Resources Dr. Gibbs Knotts
Community Assistance Program (CAP) Update
An outreach effort of the MPA program, the Community Assistance Program's mission is to enhance the impact of the community through project-based work for nonprofit organizations and local governments.
The 2018-19 CAP team: Ali Titus, CAP Director Ebony Venson, Graduate Assistant Macy Adams, Graduate Assistant Nick Mercer, Graduate Assistant Steve Fletcher, Graduate Assistant
The 2019-20 academic year has been a productive one for the Community Assistance Program, our MPA program's hands-on learning incubator with a mission to engage students in building the capacity of community-based organizations and local governments through project-based work. During their time in CAP, students have an opportunity to develop and refine the competencies necessary for public service through a variety of applied learning experiences across the local public and nonprofit sector. This year, our projects and accomplishments included:
Tri-County LGBTQ community needs assessment for the Alliance for Full Acceptance
The new Capstone Portfolio format allows students to express their MPA learning in their own way. Here is Brooke Durham's creative take on the project.
College of Charleston Represents at ASPA
MPA students were happy to meet Dr. Maren Trochmann, the new MPA faculty member, at the ASPA Welcome Reception. We are excited to have you at the College this fall!
Back (left to right): Steve Fletcher, Melanie Seidel, Ebony Venson, Michaela Abbott, Danielle Bloom, Patrick Carlson (front): Dr. Kendra Stewart and Dr. Maren Trochmann
At the beginning of this semester, the MPA program called for applications for funding to attend the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) National Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, which was held March 8-12, gathered almost 1,300 scholars, practitioners, and students to share and discuss diverse ideas and themes across the field of public administration. This year, topics centered on “Advancing Public Service” through the lenses of: public finance, infrastructure, social equity, public service, and global public administration.
Our MPA program was well-represented by one of the largest student groups at the conference. Six MPA students were granted full or partial funding to participate and network within the broader community of public administrators and scholars and engage in panel discussions based on their personal interests. We asked attendees to reflect on their experiences at the ASPA 2019 Annual Conference, click here to read what they had to say!
Two MPA Students Earn Student Leadership Awards
The Race & Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) announced the recipients of their Student Leadership Awards earlier this spring. The award recognizes and supports student leaders who share RSJI’s mission for achieving systemic change for race and social justice. Two MPA Students earned the award:
Sylvie Baele, a first-year MPA student, earned two awards for her proposal: A Commitment to Increasing Diversity on Campus through the Cultivation and Integration of Bicycle Transportation. Sylvie’s dedication to creating change by elevating bike transportation as a local economic and social catalyst is interwoven into both awards, her MPA coursework, and daily life. In her proposals, Sylvie explains what we can do to help our campus bridge necessary gaps with a ‘Better Bicycling Initiative'. "Bicycles, when used as a primary mode of transportation, are the intertwining link between resilient social, economic and environmental adaptation. They are instruments of social justice and revolutionize mobility. They solve transportation woes while providing economic freedom and environmental and physical health benefits.”Read more here!
Ebony Venson, a first-year MPA student, earned the award for her proposal: The Political Gender Gap: How to Win Elections in a System that is not ‘Set up for Us’. As an MPA student focused on local government, Ebony is passionate about pursuing change for black women interested in running for office. Ebony’s research describes how the under-representation of black women in office is due to the existing barriers to running, despite performing just as well in elections. “I aim to identify and analyze barriers that impact the electoral success of black women.Through examining these circumstances, I hope to gain insight on how to create a framework that will help advance black women’s political participation and attain a reflective representation in elected office at various levels of government.”Read the full article here.
Maintaining the Momentum:
"Diversity as an Action" Community Conversation on Diversity
February 28th, 2019 was an important evening for our MPA community. In response to the recent faculty search that took place to fill an MPA-focused political science faculty position, students, faculty and administrative leaders participated in a community conversation hosted by Dr. Judy Millesen, MPA Program Director. In attendance were approximately twenty MPA students, MPA faculty and Graduate School leadership.
The purpose of the community conversation was to create a space for inquiry, fill informational gaps between stakeholders, and share solution-focused dialogue to discuss faculty diversity at the College of Charleston.It was an opportunity for students and leaders to grow in knowledge and attitudes towards a stronger, more representative institution; yet, it must be recognized as a meaningful starting place. Let us use the momentum from the community conversation to create a seat at the table and to turn dialogue into action. Details and action items can be found here.
Sean Dove, concurrent MPA and MES student, is the Garden Manager for the Student Farm and Garden at Dixie Plantation. The garden educates students in a multitude of areas, from marketing strategies to the latest in sustainable agricultural techniques. It also provides dedicated research space for students to hone their skills in project management and field research. This position has also helped inform Sean's thesis project surrounding SC Food Policy.
"I have been very fortunate to work at the Student Farm and Garden at Dixie Plantation for three years. In that time I have been able to pick up countless skills and share them with the local community. Being able to work in an experimental space has allowed myself and many other College of Charleston students to explore agricultural through both traditional and urban techniques. This job has been one of the many highlights of my time in the MPA/MES program and I could not be more thankful for that opportunity."
"The goal of my thesis-internship is to provide the SC Food Policy Council and other agricultural related bodies and businesses with baseline data on the current state of the agricultural value chain. Using Geographic Information System (GIS), I will identify existing infrastructure (producers, packagers, distributors, storage, waste management) and markets (farmers’ markets and retail) to improve decision making throughout the agriculture industry in South Carolina. This information and data will be turned into county, regional, and state profiles and will be hosted online in the form of an interactive and educational ESRI Story Map. By consolidating this data and creating an accessible platform for it to be shared, we can have a stronger understanding of where South Carolina’s products are being produced, packaged, distributed, and sold. This will give the power to policymakers, businesses owners, and farmers to better plan and work together to expand and increase efficiency for one of the state’s largest economic drivers."
Emma Cregg, '18
Emma Cregg, 2018 MPA graduate, has recently accepted a position at the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as a Community Engagement Specialist. During her time at the College, she completed the Versailles Fellowship in Paris and interned for UNESCO's Department of Intercultural Dialogue. Recently, Emma and her husband bought their first home in Charleston and were featured on HGTV's House Hunters! Congratulations, Emma!
Share Your News
Have something you want to share with the MPA Alumni community? We are pleased to share alumni updates, job listings, interesting articles, and other announcements. We are also interested in what you would like to see from the Alumni Newsletter, send us feedback here!
The MPA Program is proud to offer support to our students through scholarships and grants. We are thankful for our generous alumni that help support these efforts by giving to the program's Foundation Account. Interested in contributing to these efforts? Please consider donating to the MPA Program by clicking on the button below.