Influencing policies for change

Theory and Practice of Public Administration class with Dr John Wiens, Assistant Deputy Minister Jean-Vianney Auclair, and Superintendent/CEO Kelly Barkman, leaders in the Manitoba educational governance community.

Theory and Practice of Public Administration class with Dr John Wiens, Assistant Deputy Minister Jean-Vianney Auclair, and Superintendent/CEO Kelly Barkman, leaders in the Manitoba educational governance community. Photo supplied.

Imagine if you could make a difference in government by identifying and influencing policies for change. UWinnipeg offers a joint Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree that includes courses that gives students hands on experience where they can apply theory to practice. The Theory and Practice of Public Administration course uses the diverse expertise of the students in the program. The course is designed to harness their knowledge to create relevant policy based on current trends facing governments today.

Ten* graduate students presented policy recommendations to three senior members of Manitoba’s public education community** regarding Manitoba school boards. Their goal was to persuade the committee, which was created for the course, to consider their evidence-based proposals toward better school boards for better education.

Beyond the literature and research, the exercise required that students also explain their recommendation based on the interests of government, the research-based needs of school board good governance, and within the general policy direction of the department of education in Manitoba.

“These students have been researching all term and have pulled together communication for this ad hoc committee and have put their findings into the language government hears, “ explains Dr. Laura Reimer, who teaches the course. “This is timely and exciting work.”

All three committee members said that the recommendations were worthy of consideration.

“As MPA students, we know the intersection of theory and practice helps us understand the material we learn in class and the real life workings of the public sector,” shared Mitchell Francoeur, one of the students who presented. “Through this class, Dr. Reimer has given us the opportunity to take the learning of our classroom seminars and present to leading scholars and practitioners in the field. The feedback and suggestions that come from an experience like this helps students grow and foster new abilities before getting into the workplace. Not only do we learn about our own strengths, but we learn about those of our colleagues and the expectations of potential employers.”

The joint MPA program with UWinnipeg and UManitoba provides students, both full- and part-time, with a sound knowledge of Public Administration. The approach is interdisciplinary, although courses in Political Science (Political Studies) are emphasized. The core program exposes all students to a common set of courses designed to encourage both innovative and integrative perspectives. For more information on the MPA program please visit UWinnipeg.

* The  graduate students in alphabetical order, Anderson Agbugda, Christina Beyene, Katherine Devine, Mitchell Francoeur, Celene Ganske, Jason Klainchar, Chris MacNeil, Kyra Moshtagha Nia, Nanditha Murugeshan, Nicholas Ruta

** Mr Jean-Vianney Auclair, Assistant Deputy Minister Organization: Manitoba Education and Training; Mr Kelly Barkman, Superintendent and CEO of River East Transcona School Division; and Dr John Wiens, Dean Emeritus, University of Manitoba and author of the famous Wiens Report, which was officially “the Governance Review on Winnipeg School Division .”

 

 

 

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