New Draft of new Mission Statement– More Input Needed!

New Draft of Mission Statement from Discussion Forum on May 2 (we ran out of time for the last sentence)!  Thanks for all the input on the last draft of the Mission Statement.  We had lots of alums and students emailing us, talking in class and coming to our Discussion Forum– and we appreciated it all!  At the Discussion Forum, we took the input and tried to put it into a new draft, seen here:

The mission of the SF State MPA Program is to enhance individual and organizational capacity to serve the public and nonprofit sectors through engaged and innovative teaching, research and service.
•    We strive to teach effective policy analysis and program implementation by enriching students with the highest standards of knowledge and effective skills to inspire innovation and motivate continuous improvement.
•    As faculty and students, we work to provide applied research and service to the broader community.
•    We instill an appreciation for public service values like civic engagement, effectiveness, sustainability, inclusivity, accountability, equity and social justice.
They also suggested providing you with the actual text of the NASPAA Standard about values– so here it is:  NASPAA Standards re values: “The mission, governance, and curriculum of eligible programs shall demonstrably emphasize public service values. Public service values are important and enduring beliefs, ideals and principles shared by members of a community about what is good and desirable and what is not. They include pursuing the public interest with accountability and transparency; serving professionally with competence, efficiency, and objectivity; acting ethically so as to uphold the public trust; and demonstrating respect, equity, and fairness in dealings with citizens and fellow public servants. NASPAA expects an accreditable program to define the boundaries of the public service values it emphasizes, be they procedural or substantive, as the basis for distinguishing itself from other professional degree programs”.

Sooo now– we need more comments, please!


MPA Students Provide Deliverables to SF CBOs

Eight teams of MPA students delivered presentations about their semester-long CBO (community-based organization) Support Projects in class on May 2.  Each team was paired with a CBO partner at the beginning of the semester and assigned to work with their CBO Partner to identify a project, develop and refine a scope of work, and deliver a final report, complete with recommendations for implementation, to the CBO Partner (these partners were selected using an on-line portal (  The projects ranged from conducting literature reviews on specific topics related to a particular program, to reviewing performance measurement indicators for a specific field and recommending a set to adopt, to designing, refining, and testing a range of program evaluation tools, to identifying issues thwarting a CBO’s ability to effectively manage and implement their programs.

We invited the CBO Partners to attend tonight’s class and hear the student presentations; six of the eight CBOs were in attendance.  Even though I haven’t read the final reports yet, after hearing the presentations – and more importantly, after hearing the CBO Partners’ reactions to those presentations – I am confident in saying that these student teams will have made substantial contributions in helping these CBOs more successfully manage and measure the outcomes of the programs they deliver.  Below I paraphrase just a few comments the CBO Partners made in response to the findings and recommendations the student teams made:

  • This is exactly the information I need to advance conversations we need to have within our organization, to ensure we are tracking the right outcomes.
  • I was just talking about these issues with my Director earlier today; we’ll implement these recommendations within the month!
  • Our organization has undergone so much transition recently and we are trying to adapt and implement a program here that has been successful overseas.  But we had no model and limited capacity for doing that.  These recommendations will help greatly as we move forward.
  • I submitted a letter of intent to a funder earlier today.  If we get invited to submit a full proposal, I’ll be able to use the findings from this report in that proposal.

In short, these student teams did an effective job at creating quality, evidence-based final reports that include recommendations (including some words of caution about potential pitfalls) for their CBO Partners that are feasible for these organizations to implement almost immediately.  This is no small feat!  But, in looking over at the MPA’s new draft mission statement (on this blog), it seems to be in line what we are aiming to achieve.

Many thanks to Amy Farah Weiss for the vision and support, as well as to SF State’s Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, which provided some grant funding to develop the community service learning component of this course.

155 Attended the Navigating the IRS Workshop

On Thursday, April 26, 2012, 155 nonprofit professionals and board members – primarily those responsible for nonprofit accounting, tax preparation, and legal compliance – attended the Navigating the IRS Workshop for Public Charities at Seven Hills Conference Center on SF State’s main campus.  A partnership between the IRS Exempt Organizations division and the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, the purpose of the workshop was to educate those in attendance about recent changes to filing requirements for the IRS 990 form, the tax information form nonprofits must file each year.  Led by IRS specialists from the Exempt Organizations division, the workshop reviewed the changes to filing requirements and related compliance issues.  The speakers were impressed with the quality and quantity of questions from those in attendance, and many attendees said this was “the best” training they had taken part it, both in terms of the quality of information and the creativity and styles of the presenters.

Several MPA students were in attendance as participants in the workshop and several others were instrumental in making the event run smoothly.  A special thanks goes out to our Director of Academic Services, Bridget McCracken, and MPA students (all soon-to be graduates) Charlie MacNulty, Trever Pearson, and Regina Gieler, who joined us at Seven Hills and help set-up, clean-up, and get the attendees registered in a timely fashion.  Another MPA student, Holly Szafarek, was vital to the success of the workshop and worked closely with me (Dr. Jennifer Shea) and my colleagues in the College of Extended Learning to plan the workshop and coordinate the related details.

For those of us who are interested in partnership and the roles of intermediary organizations in helping large governmental agencies reach small and mid-sized organizations, the success of this workshop has even greater meaning.  I’ve mentioned a few individuals and institutional partners that were essential to the workshop’s success, but there are too many to name them all here.  Thanks goes out to all who helped make the partnership successful!