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Creating an Accelerated Joint BA-MPA Degree Program for Adult Learners

Jennifer M. Kohler and Robert A. Cropf
Journal of Public Affairs Education
Vol. 13, No. 2 (Spring - Summer, 2007), pp. 383-401
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40212737
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Creating an Accelerated Joint BA-MPA Degree Program for Adult Learners
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Abstract

The increase in the number of adult learners in higher education has been dramatic in recent years. However, traditional MPA programs have done little to attract and accommodate these nontraditional students. This article discusses a collaborative effort between a school for professional studies offering B.A. degrees for adult learners and a department of public policy studies offering a traditional MPA degree to create an accelerated BA-MPA degree. The accelerated degree program was designed to address the need for the undergraduate program to expand its program offerings to include graduate degrees in order to tap an unfilled market. The graduate program wanted to address the need to bolster its enrollment and to increase the diversity of its student body. The article discusses several factors that have contributed to the early success of the accelerated BA-MPA program, including institutional merger, leadership support, market need, internal support, adult student support mechanisms, streamlined application process, and program liaisons. The effort to create a new program and implement it has not been without challenges, however. Chief among these have been cultural and programmatic differences between the collaborating department and the school, including traditional versus nontraditional student populations, undergraduate versus graduate education, a business versus public and nonprofit orientation, and a quarter versus semester format.

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