Article Authored by SFSU MPA Faculty

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 2.41.50 PMCurrent SF State MPA students and recent alumni are likely familiar with hybrid courses, which combine face-to-face and online instruction; the MPA program first piloted hybrid courses in Spring 2014. Drs. Shea, Joaquin, and Wang conducted a study of their hybrid courses in order to contribute to their own (and the field’s) understanding of hybrid pedagogy. Read their most recent article on the topic; it proposes a conceptual framework that can be used to inform learning and promote student success in hybrid courses. The article is published in a featured symposium on interactive learning in the Journal of Public Affairs Education. You can read it here



Speed Mentoring Event for Student with an Interest in Justice Administration


CJ SA Speed Mentoring SP 16 009On April 19, 2016, The Criminal Justice Student Association and the School of Public Administration and Civic Engagement (PACE) hosted its first annual Speed Mentoring event. At the event, current and former members of criminal justice professions met with students to discuss their career paths and offer advice and opportunities for student to jump-start their justice careers. Students were offered a broad range of experiences and approaches from which to draw lessons, and SFSU Alumni graduating between 1971 to 2003 were represented. The Mentors career experience ranged from Retired Captain of the San Francisco Police Department to Chief of Investigations with the San Francisco District Attorney. In service, the Mentors represent a variety of experience including the Vice President of the International Police Association, Board Member of the San Francisco Housing Authority and an SFSU CJ lecturer. Speed Mentoring is not a job fair, but rather provides students the chance to learn directly from current and former members of criminal justice organizations about what it takes to be a success in the varied and exciting professions represented. The Speed Networking event is the first of what will become an annual tradition for the School of PACE as it strives to connect current students with alumni and community members to further their professional development. We thank all those involved in making this inaugural event so successful.


PA 790: Administering Tax and Debt Policies: Prevailing Issues Class Visits SF City Hall


IMG_8041Dr. Wang took her PA790 students to the City Hall Tax Collector Office in March 2016. They met Treasurer, Jose Cisneros, and Tax Collector, David Augustine. They shared the history of the SF Office of Tax Collector, a number of detailed tax regulations, the change of tax from payroll to gross receipts, “sharing economy” (or “gig economy”) and challenges of a modernizing and decentralizing economy for local government revenue in addition to taking questions. The Public Administration Program is grateful for the investment in time from the Office of the Treasurer, as it has shaped our students understanding of the role of different departments in municipal government and the power of those bodies to improve the standard of living for all residents.

Working in Local Government: Which public(s) do we serve

local govOn February 4, Public Administration students attended a Career Development workshop: “Working in Local Government: Which public(s) do we serve – how and why” The Panelists reflected on their path to the current position, their challenges and what skills they use the most.

The Panelists included:

  • Greg Crump, SF State MPA Alumnus, Communications & Public Affairs, Department of Public Works, City & County of San Francisco
  • Danielle Lee, MBA, Deputy Director, Office of Sustainability, San Mateo County
  • PJ Moore, SF State MPA Alumnus, Outreach Coordinator, Planning and Capital Management Division, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

The Panelists discussed their pathway to their current position. Volunteering, then an internship and leadership in a special project was the most common pathway.

The Panelist faced many challenges in serving the public. Skepticism and distrust were the biggest challenges faced. Building trust and working to show that their agency is genuinely working to meet the public’s needs is a priority.

The skills that have been most instrumental to the panelists are writing and communication skills. The ability to explain complex situations in a simple way and for different audiences is very important as well as the ability to put things in perspective, view the services the agency provides and choices its makes with a broad lens.

Some advice the panelist had for current students is to obtain an internship with an agency which you would like to pursue, get involved and set yourself apart, and learn every departments’ system of operation.


Spring Semester Professional Development Opportunities

The Public Administration Program at SF State will be offering Spring Semester courses that are perfect for professional Development.  Non SFSU students may register through the College of Extended Learning.

Course Descriptions and Information are below.

PA 709- Logistic Regression (AKA Advanced SPSS) (1 Unit Course)
Saturday, April 16, 23 and 30 from 9:00am- 1:30pm
Instructor: Carol Silverman
SF State’s Downtown Campus, 835 Market Street, Room 677, SF, CA
Course Description:This course provides an introduction to advanced functions in SPSS, designed to get users familiar with basic functions “to the next level.” Topics include variable transformations, simple macros, file management and merges, writing syntax statements and logistic regression techniques. No advanced mathematical or statistical knowledge is required for this section, but basic familiarity to SPSS is required.

P A 747: Organizational Ethics: Doing Good, Being Good (1 Unit Course)
Saturday, March 9 and 15th from 9:00am –– 5:00 pm
Instructor: Joel Mackey
SF State’s Downtown Campus, 835 Market Street, Room 677, SF, CA
Course Description: This two-day course examines ethical behavior in nonprofit organizations.  Starting with an overview of ethical theories, the course provides a forum for students to discuss a range of ethical values and principles that surface in nonprofit management.  The course engages public sector ethical concerns by exploring issues relate to the regulatory environment, the concept of public trust, and broader accountability concerns.

 PA 763-Personal Leadership Development (1 Unit Course)
Saturday, March 12, April 9 and May 7 from 9:00am-1:30pm
SF State’s Downtown Campus, 835 Market Street, Room 677, SF, CA
Instructor: Troy Liddi
Course Description: In this course, students will begin a personal leadership journey, starting with a self-evaluation of their current leadership practices. It guides students through a set of exercises meant to develop their personal leadership goals with one of five levels of leadership. At the end of the course, students will have created a personal leadership development plan and identified practices to help guide their leadership journeys. 

PA 790- Special Topics: Administering Tax and Debt Policies
Hybrid Class-Meeting days: Wednesday, February 10, February 24, March 9, April 13, April 27, and May 11 from 6:00-8:45pm
SF State’s Downtown Campus, 835 Market Street, Room 677, SF, CA
Instructor: Janey Wang
Course Description:
Students in this course will learn how the California tax system will be more appropriate for the 21st century economy and less susceptible to the recent recession. Throughout the course, students will gain knowledge of how the government can shift the cost of its infrastructure from General Fund to debt financing, and how tax and debt policies impact nonprofit organization.




Students Visit Affordable Housing Complex for Urban Policy Course

PA783_1Professor Ayse Pamuk’s Urban Housing Policy class (PA 783) visited 474 Natoma– an affordable housing development built by BRIDGE Housing in the SOMA neighborhood.  Completed in 2014, the nine-story multi-family complex offers 60 affordable one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. PA783_3Kristy Wang (SPUR Community Planning Policy Director) and her two BRIDGE Housing colleagues led the tour. The building has a spectacular landscaped terrace at the top floor and a community garden for its residents. The financing involves Low Income Housing Tax Credits.The units are affordable for families below 60% of Area Median Income (AMI).


Careers in Local Government: Possibilities and Strategies for Success

On October 20, 2015, the MPA Program hosted the first in a series of career development panels focused on careers in local government. Three seasoned professionals shared their experiences and insights related to how students can best prepare for careers in local government. Here are a few highlights from their comments:

IMAG00387[1]Glen Rojas, Advisor, International City Manager Association & Former City Manager, Cities of Menlo Park & Chino, CA, spoke about the importance of interpersonal skills and trust-building in an environment where shared services are increasingly valued. He emphasized that those entering the workforce will benefit from being able to self-manage and adapt to change. Three tips he gave to students were: (1) don’t resist entry level positions; you don’t know where they may take you, (2) strive for a work-life balance throughout your career, and (3) work to add value to any organization you belong to.

Bryan Montgomery, City Manager, City of Oakley, encouraged students to develop a vision for their careers, the story to help narrate that vision, and to take steps to move towards it. He noted that MPAs are often generalists, making them well-suited to leading across agencies and across sectors. In those roles, being able to engender trust from individuals and agencies with diverse perspectives is especially important in being able to successfully negotiate group dynamics. He defined trust as being combination of competence and character and urged students to pay attention to all three.

Chet Overstreet, Supervising Management Analyst, Personnel Division, County of San Mateo, noted that students ought to aim to be purposeful yet flexible in planning their career paths. Having taken a non-traditional career path, he said there was a ‘little bit of providence’ behind his story. He encouraged students to take advantage of growth opportunities as they are presented to them, even if the fit to their interests isn’t immediately apparent (the flexible part), while still be judicious about the positions they accept, to ensure those positions offer appropriate challenges that align with their longer-term goals (the purposeful part).

In the end, the panelists agreed that elements of the nature and locus of work in local government are changing. They expect that skills like negotiation, consensus-building, and teamwork will continue to be important as regionalism and shared service delivery continue to increase. They also noted that work is more likely to be project driven, reflecting an agile workforce model and emphasize the value of having a Master’s degree in that environment.


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