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A UT master’s program that has trained hundreds of Tennessee’s government and nonprofit managers has been expanded to better serve the industry.

This fall, UT began offering a new Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) through a partnership between the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and the College of Arts and Science’s political science department.

The new degree replaces the existing Master of Public Administration degree that has been offered for more than forty years.

“We found that our graduates were getting jobs in the public sector, but needed stronger skills in public policy and data analysis,” said John Scheb, head of UT’s Department of Political Science. “So we decided to broaden the program to expand students’ training and better meet the needs of our government and not-for-profit agencies.”

David Folz, a political science professor, now directs the program.

The MPPA’s core curriculum gives students the opportunity to explore the public policy track or the public administration/management track. The policy track adds a new focus to energy policy, environmental policy, and global security policy, which are the Baker Center’s primary areas of study.

The partnership with the Baker Center will enhance and broaden the curriculum, help grow enrollment, and provide access to excellent classroom facilities.

The MPPA’s administrative track includes existing courses in ethics, law, human resource management, and a new focus on nonprofit management.

“With increased government outsourcing, we are seeing more students interested in nonprofit or quasi-government management,” Scheb said.

Matt Murray, director of the Baker Center, believes the new MPPA program fits perfectly into the center’s mission to focus its efforts on traditional academics, teaching, and research.

“This new MPPA program is a great opportunity for the Baker Center to be a catalyst in bringing faculty across different departments together to support this academic initiative, and it will draw further attention to the Baker Center,” Murray said.

Folz said the program prepares men and women for public service, emphasizing the theory and practice of public administration and public policy analysis.

“Our goal is to equip our students with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective managers, responsible executives, and ethical public servants,” Folz said.

Scheb said most students who enroll in the MPPA program are Tennessee citizens with the desire to live and work in the state, but, he said, the new focus provides UT the opportunity to recruit on the national and even international level.

“With so many governments transitioning to democracy, there is a need for more international students to learn about public policy and public administration in Western countries so they can then go back to their home countries to help build the government,” Scheb said.

Several organizations are partnering with the department to offer internships to students in the program in order for them to gain professional experience, and many of these have translated into permanent jobs.

The Municipal Technical Advisory Service, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, various county public defenders, Knox County courts, and US Marshals regularly offer internships for students. The public policy focus opens doors for additional internship opportunities.

For more information on the MPPA program, visit the website.


Karen Simsen (865-974-5186,