The mission of the Department of Public Administration at Binghamton University is "to develop individual and institutional capacity for community-based public practice." The focus of the Master of Public Administration program is "to prepare individuals for management in public and nonprofit administration." More specifically, the program seeks to prepare students to become informed leaders and responsible citizens who: are well-versed in public administration; think critically, creatively and ethically; possess analytical and technical skills to be creative problem-solvers; can adapt to changing political and social environments; and remain actively involved in professional and community service.
Within the context of the departmental and program mission statements, this course serves as the final project for the MPA program. The course is intended to provide a synthesis of all previous coursework and professional and/or internship experience directed toward the production of a professional administrative or policy analysis paper. The Master of Public Administration Capstone Project is the culmination of a student's academic experience. Students work on a 300 hour internship and then use the internship experience to write a Capstone paper addressing management or policy issues that were identified during the internship experience. Students work closely with both faulty and practitioner committee members in the design and delivery of the projects.
In the capstone course, students extend and build upon the internship experience by conducting research and producing a professional quality analytical paper that addresses a demonstrated managerial or policy issue confronting the public or not-for-profit organization at the internship site or at the student's place of employment. The paper, oral presentation, and course participation will demonstrate that the student is able to draw upon MPA coursework and current research to address specific workplace issues. Students should expect this course to be intense, even grueling. The final paper is presented to an audience of MPA students, faculty and practitioners, and must be accepted by a committee consisting of two MPA faculty and one agency representative.
Jennifer Turck, MPA'09 in the Binghamton University Magazine