Skip to Navigation
Skip to main content
Grand Valley State University    
 
    
 
  Oct 18, 2017
 
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public and Nonprofit Administration - Program Description


For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Community and Public Service  section in this catalog.

Director: Hoffman. Professors: Balfour, Jelier, Mast, Payne; Associate Professors: Agard, Borders, Hoffman, Robbins, Schulte; Assistant Professors: Alaimo, Cline, Kimoto, Ramanath.

Web site: www.gvsu.edu/spna

Grand Valley State University offers both baccalaureate and master’s programs in public administration. The programs are housed in the College of Community and Public Service.

The mission of the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration is to educate students for lives of active citizenship as contributing members of their local, regional, and global communities, and for professional careers in public and nonprofit organizations. We are committed to developing in undergraduate and graduate students the capabilities for ethical judgment, critical thinking, and the core competencies necessary to fulfill multiple roles as effective managers and public servants. We advance this mission with a faculty committed to teaching excellence and actively engaged in research and community service.

Career Opportunities 

Public administration graduates find employment in government, health administration, criminal justice, and nonprofit and private organizations. Advancement into executive-level positions usually requires previous experience and/or a master’s degree.

Examples of positions in public and nonprofit administration include city manager, village manager, county administrator, assistant city manager, executive director, development director, membership coordinator, event planner, grants manager, donor services director, community organizer, department head, city planner, downtown development manager, program manager, environmental impact analyst, historic preservationist, zoning administrator, building inspector, program evaluator, policy manager, budget officer, human resource manager, program evaluator, public information officer, equal opportunity officer, and management consultant.  Graduates may qualify for similar positions in business, higher education, journalism, consulting firms, nursing homes and hospitals.

Graduate School Opportunities

Various professional master degree programs are available to students interested in public service with government or nonprofit organizations. These include a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.), Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.), Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.), Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.), Master of Nonprofit Organizations (M.N.O.), Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies (M.A.P.S.), Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.C.J.) and Master of Social Work (M.S.W.). Grand Valley offers an M.P.A., M.H.A., M.S.C.J., and M.S.W.

Internships 

All undergraduate and graduate students without responsible degree-related experience or those seeking new careers are required to enroll in an internship class in the latter part of their studies. The internship provides an opportunity for the student to sample prospective employment and for the agency to observe potential applicants for employment. A major objective of the program is to establish a mutually beneficial and reinforcing experience for the student to “learn by doing” and for the sponsoring organization to use the apprentice in studying problems and testing new ground.

Interns work under the direct supervision of agency staff on assignments that help them gain meaningful understanding about the nature and functioning of the organization. Throughout the internship, the intern’s field service is evaluated by the agency supervisor, while the academic component (written reports, a paper, or both) is evaluated by the academic coordinator.

Student Organizations

The American Humanics Student Association (AHSA) provides students of Grand Valley State University with an opportunity to connect with other students interested in the field of nonprofit/youth agency administration.  AHSA provides its members with cultural, social, and educational co-curricular opportunities with the intent of enriching the student’s professional leadership potential in the important service field.

Honor Organization

Pi Alpha Alpha is the national honor society for the field of public affairs and public administration.  The purpose of this society is to encourage and recognize outstanding scholarship and accomplishment in public affairs and administration.  The society seeks to promote the advancement of quality in the education and practice of the art and science of public affairs and administration.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Public and Nonprofit Administration 

Master of Public Administration 

Public Administration Minor 

Nonprofit Administration Minor 

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership