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Doctorate in Public Administration to Begin This Fall

In response to both student demand for graduate courses in public administration and to employers' projections of need, West Chester University will implement a new degree program this fall: the Doctor of Public Administration in Public Administration (DPA). The 43-credit program will be delivered entirely online.

"The DPA is designed for working professionals who seek to contribute to the highest levels of leadership and strategic direction of organizations in the public, nonprofit and private sectors," notes Jeffery L. Osgood, Jr. chair of West Chester's Department of Public Policy and Administration. The new degree will serve regional needs and enable the University to expand community services, professional networks and collaborations with regional governments, nonprofit organizations and private sector entities in order to foster collaborative research, create entrepreneurial endeavors and create new revenue streams.

Like WCU's doctor of nursing practice, the DPA is as rigorous as the Ph.D., but instead of a focus on the production of research, students are trained to seek answers to problems they encounter in practice. Osgood, who is also director of both the University's master of public administration program and the Center for Social & Economic Policy Research, says the new doctorate is a natural and supportive extension to the MPA, which is becoming the expected entry credential in related fields.

A feasibility study conducted by the WCU Center for Social & Economic Policy Research indicated that the market has shown a need for this program: In the five-year period between 2009 and 2014, there has been an 82 percent increase in course enrollments in WCU's master in public administration program. Notes Osgood, "This speaks to the student demand for public service education."

In addition, a 2014 Hanover Research market analysis determined that on average, all Pennsylvania occupations served by a DPA are expected to grow 7.7 percent through 2022. Those fields correlate with such departments within WCU's College of Business and Public Affairs as Criminal Justice, Geography and Planning, and Graduate Social Work, leading to a number of possible DPA concentration elective areas.

The curriculum focuses on the development of core competencies in strategic management and governance; public sector economic and financial decision-making; policy advocacy and leadership; and performance management. Regional employers can partner with program faculty and students in capstone projects for the execution of applied ventures and are invited to deliver colloquia and engage in problem-solving practica on campus.

For more information, contact Jeffery Osgood.