Columbia College introduces new public administration degree

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 | 4:42 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A new public administration program at Columbia College offers students career opportunities in the public sector.

When Columbia College starts classes Monday, the class of 2017 will have the option to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in public administration.

The addition of the public administration program is a response to rising enrollment numbers at the college, both on campus and in online studies.

“We’re growing as a school and we’re trying to offer more options to the students that we think will be valuable to them as employees,” said David Roebuck, interim dean of academic affairs.

Roebuck, who has worked at Columbia College as a political science professor since 1996, was approached by a faculty and staff-based committee a year-and-a-half ago about developing the public administration program.

“There’s a real need in the American economy and society for students who are prepared to work in the public sector,” Roebuck said.

Public administration graduates qualify for a multitude of public service careers, ranging from positions in nonprofit organizations to careers in hospital administration or parks and recreation.

“We believe this will be really attractive to both traditional and non-traditional students,” Roebuck said.

With 35 locations nationwide, Columbia College caters to an expansive network of online students, some of whom are already working in public administration fields.

“They need that degree and they want that knowledge so that they can move forward in their careers,” Roebuck said.

Both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in public administration will be traditional programs with 120 credit hours, more than 50 of which have their core in public administration policy and ethics. 

“Almost every course for this degree has been prescribed,” Roebuck said.

Though students are encouraged to pursue minors related to public administration, only one or two spaces are set aside for elective classes. 

Columbia College has also added six new faculty members for the upcoming year, bringing them to 71, the largest faculty they've had. Some of the new faculty will contribute to the college's new master's degree program in education.

Supervising editor is Shaina Cavazos.

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