MPA faculty, student and staff activities for March – April 2011

March – May 2011 Activities

  • Student Katerina Nikolova has just (May 2011) accepted a position as Executive Assistant to the General Manager of Human Resources for Chevron Corporation at its San Ramon headquarters.
  • MPA student Jenny Cohen was just selected (May 2011) for the summer internship with the San Francisco office of the Multistate Tax Credits and Incentives group of Deloitte and Touche.   Our student selected for last summer’s internship (Lesley Miller) was offered a full-time job after completing the program.
  • Melissa Lee (a student currently studying policy abroad in Amsterdam) has been selected for the IRS Exempt Organization Summer 2011 Graduate Internship Program with the Customer Education and Outreach Department– Exempt Organizations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  Congratulations to Melissa as she returns from Amsterdam and begins this interesting internship.
  • The Department recently reconnected with Phillip Vance (Class of 1986);  he is now City Manager in Martinez.   He has also been City Manager in Moraga.
  • PA faculty member Sheldon Gen was recently an invited speaker at San Antonio’s “Great Cities Dialog,” a community engagement effort hosted by the City of San Antonio and the University of Texas at San Antonio.  His talk was based upon a research paper he wrote with recent MPA graduate Erika Luger on public outreach.  They are sending their paper to a journal for publication.
  • On March 3rd, Dr. Eric Zeemering was invited to present an overview of special districts to a joint hearing on “California’s Special Districts: Efficiency and Alternatives” before the California Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review and the Assembly Local Government Committee.  This followed a February 15th  presentation by Dr. Zeemering at the University of California Sacramento Center on sustainability and cities.
  • The Department hosted a delegation of government officials from Xiangfan in March and April as part of a public administration training program.    All faculty participated by conducting interactive training sessions with the officials in their own areas of expertise.  In addition, the group visited San Francisco’s City Hall and the cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.
  • Professors Sheldon Gen and Jennifer Shea have both been awarded special grants to attend advanced statistical analysis workshops this summer.   SF State’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Research Methods Learning Community have granted them registration and travel funds to study new techniques such as social network analysis and how to get the most out of special data collections on education topics.
  • MPA grad Lesley Miller (‘2010), the recipient of last year’s (and the first) internship with Deloitte Touche was offered and accepted a position as an Analyst with their San Francisco Office in the State Taxation section.
  • The SF State Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha met up with the San Jose State Chapter to bowl for charity in early March, 2011.    As can be seen by the pictures on our Flickr site, a good time was had by all.   The money that was raised went to the Make A Wish Foundation.   Thanks to Amit Raikar and faculty advisor Eric Zeemering for organizing the event.
  • Professor Sheldon Gen’s PA 776: Environmental Policy class went to a wastewater treatment plant as one of their class activities.

Sheldon Gen's PA 776 Class at Wastewater Treatment Plant

MPA Students Building Community Resilience

This semester, several MPA students have been actively engaged in San Francisco’s Resilient Community Initiative, whose ultimate goal is a ResilientSF.  Part of a larger collaborative effort called the Neighborhood Empowerment Network University (NENu) that involves Bay area academic institutions, city agencies, and community groups, the Resilient Community Initiative involves students and faculty from several departments at SF State who work collaboratively to help communities build resilience by mapping assets, identifying collective priorities, and creating strong, inclusive networks with adaptive capacities.

Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Shea, three MPA students are interning with SF State’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) and are focused on specific projects that are part of the Resilient Community Initiative.  Two students, Lorelei Penera and Holly Szafarekh, have been working to identify and measure various dimensions of resilience – work which will ultimately be used to create an index of indicators of various dimension of resilience that will be available and accessible to San Francisco residents.  The index will be used to inform efforts focused on identifying and strengthening community resilience and to help assess the effectiveness of resilience-building efforts.  Another student, Ana Guzina, is working to identify the characteristics of active community groups, as well as the relationships among them, and to map the connections of up to five collaborators/community organization.

Several other MPA students have also been actively engaged in work related to NENu and the Resilient Community Initiative.  Charles MacNulty has been interning for the project at ICCE and in that role has served as a key liaison for students who took PA 705 (Research Methods & Data Analysis I) this semester.  PA 705 students interviewed community stakeholders in North Beach, as part of the Engaged Learning Zone initiative there.   Much of this work will extend past the semester and the Resilient Community Initiative will go into next year and beyond, so stay tuned for updates as we progress.

Adding Service Learning to Nonprofit Management Curriculum

Dr. Jennifer Shea was awarded a Community Engaged Faculty Scholar Grant from SF State’s Institute of Civic and Community Engagement, to support the development of a community service learning component for PA 745:  Administration of Nonprofit Organizations.  Amy Farah Weiss, who received an MA in Organizational Development & Training (Interdisciplinary Studies) from SF State, is serving as curriculum development consultant for the project.  Weiss is working to integrate a community service learning component with current course content, primarily organized around four broad topics that are particularly salient for nonprofit managers — organizational forms & structures; organizational culture & change; internal and external communications; and ethical management (including accountability and performance measures).  The service learning component will provide students with the experiential learning opportunity to focus in-depth on one or more aspects of nonprofit administration through a semester-long partnership with a local nonprofit.  Through this work, students will gain first-hand experience with issues commonly encountered by nonprofit administrators, consultants, and researchers.  In addition to the curriculum development component, the grant funds are: (1) enabling us to purchase key nonprofit management resource books that will be available as additional resources for students in the course and (2) allowing us to develop a web-based knowledge management site with the assistance of outside expertise.  PA 745 will be offered next in Spring 2012; stay tuned for more information on our progress.