Presentation on theme: "Three Rocks & a Well-Worn Keyboard: Gaining Competencies in the NIU MPA Program Dr. Kurt Thurmaier Professor and Director Northern Illinois University."— Presentation transcript:
Three Rocks & a Well-Worn Keyboard: Gaining Competencies in the NIU MPA Program Dr. Kurt Thurmaier Professor and Director Northern Illinois University Division of Public Administration
Three Rocks for a Successful MPA Theory AND Practice Work Experience IS a Classroom Take Time to Invest in Yourself
Theory AND Practice The Portfolio Approach Build a collection of achievements Self-assessment at beginning and end of MPA Competencies-based Curriculum Collaboration is a Key Competency Writing is a Key Competency
Writing in the NIU MPA Program One of the most important value-added competencies of the MPA degree at NIU. Still most effective form of communications Still most highly prized competency of employers
Writing in the NIU MPA Program Difficult to write for different audiences Efficiency of writing top value of decisionmakers Read/Write, Listen/Speak Look at memos, professional articles (PM), scholarly journals Mimic the styles Just in time writing is often poor quality Need gel time Need proofing time
NIU MPA Writing Framework Chicago Manual of Style, 2007, for all courses. In bookstores under PSPA 699 Perfection is NOT a weakness! Every blemish, every sloppiness, each degrades the integrity of YOUR work.
Multiple Types of Writing Short Memos Case Papers Term Papers Capstone Paper Follow the format guidelines in the course syllabus Good practice for grant applications. Different writing than other papers
Writing Resources The MPA Website: Current StudentsMPA Website: Current Students The NIU Writing CenterNIU Writing Center Free NIU or online citation software (such as RefWorks) for citations/bibliographies USE THEM!
Work Experience IS a Classroom A 2 Year Internship Program Mid-career Enhancement Our capstone program Theory AND Practice Systems view of problems Recommend practical solutions Teach the professor something Writing is different than for most course papers
Take Time to Invest in Yourself Writing Takes Time Thinking is Hard Work…It Takes Time Reflection Time is Essential
Summary Learn how to balance practice and theory. On the job and in the classroom. Your internship or your job is not a viable learning experience without classroom learning—especially reading the assignments. Make sure you use your internship and job experience as a classroom. Find a mentor—we can help. Reflect on how the theories you learn in the classroom can help you do a better job. Take time for yourself. Protect thinking time. Exercise regularly to stay healthy.