Master of Public Administration program gets national recognition

Angie Lopez-Yepes
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne’s Master of Public Administration Program earned the national ranking place of 111 in the U.S. News and World Report for Public Affairs 2022. 

The U.S. News rankings released last month, also named the ULV program sixth among programs in the greater Los Angeles area. 

The MPA program was similarly recognized for excellence by U.S. News and World Report last year. 

 “The national ranking is a testament of the program quality” said Abe Helou, dean of the College of Business and Public Management.

The peer evaluation process comes from schools that are members of the global organization Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration, or NASPAA.

Professor of public administration and MPA director Marcia Godwin said the MPA program lives its mission.

“You can count on ethical responsibilities, civic engagement, diversity, inclusivity,” Godwin said.

Godwin added that the program helps graduate students to build the necessary skills to be successful.

“We have a very strong mission about preparing professionals for socially responsible roles,” Godwin said.

A relatively small program, the MPA program aims to build the students’ skills to be ready to advance in public service.

“We also really emphasize on communication so any graduate of our program is able to do a professional-level presentation and they have a deep foundation that is really practical,” Godwin said.

“Our ranking is one of the highest in the region,” professor of public administration, Jack Meek said, when compared to bigger schools with bigger programs.

Meek said many alumni have become leaders in governmental positions or non-profit positions that are serving the public.

“We call that the Leo public service nation,” Meek said. “We’re quite proud of our alumni.”

The students in the program are dedicated to working in public service, Meek said. 

“It’s great to be around conscientious professionals who want to get in the workforce and make a difference for their communities,” he added.

Justine Garcia, a  2020 graduate from the program said she managed to work full time while studying in the MPA program.

Garcia chose the La Verne program because it fit with her ability to be a working professional but still further her career on the educational side, she said.

“It was really convenient for me to make the decision to go back to school at the La Verne program because it had that flexibility, and they really do place that importance on having that work experience which is very valuable,” Garcia said.

She said she was glad to hear that the MPA program is being recognized.

“I think it’s really important to be able to continue to build up recognition for the La Verne program…because the program was a good blend on the educational historical side, yet have that needed on-hand experience,” Garcia said.

The program is designed for about two years, but the average student takes three to four years because as working professionals they tend to extend their units.

When the MPA program was started in 1974, it was built to support professionals who want to advance in their careers. 

“It’s so important at these times when we are faced with challenges… that we have public servants that we can trust and carry out our public will,” Meek said.

 Angie Lopez-Yepes can be reached at

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