MPA: City/County Leadership Program
The City & County Leadership Program offers public sector management and leadership education with specific emphasis on local government and community building. There are two options in this program: intern and career.
The intern-option is designed for those who have little or no public administration experience and who are willing to commit one year of full-time study and a second year in a full-time internship to prepare themselves for careers in city or county management. Click here to learn more about the structure of this program.
The career-option is open to those who wish to continue to to work, typically in city or county government, while completing the degree part-time. While some of these students may aspire to work as a city or county manager, most pursue the degree for management education to open opportunities in departments such as police, fire, public works, human resources, etc. Click here to learn more about the career option in the City & County Leadership Program.
Intern-Option: Preparing Future City and County Managers
The city or county manager is an official appointed as the administrative manager of that jurisdiction, in a council-manager form of government. In this role s/he is responsible for the day-to-day administrative operations and supervises all departments in carrying out the policies set by the elected officials.
The video below offers the perspectives of respected city managers who are working in diverse cities across the nation. Members of the intern-option class of 2011 interviewed them at the 96th annual ICMA conference in San Jose to share information about careers in the field to encourage students and young professionals to consider this profession. To view the longer interviews with each individual go to http://www.kupa.ku.edu/resources/city.shtml.
Admission is competitive and limited to 12 to 15 students per year. The program begins with the summer semester at the beginning of June. Students complete their first full year on campus. During this time they complete most of the coursework for the MPA and may also participate in a part-time internship. During the second year, each student has a full-time, paid internship which may lead to a permanent job. MPA program academic advisors provide substantial guidance and support for students to find internships suited for their career goals. This has resulted in a placement rate of 100 percent in the past ten years with students placed around the nation. Students have secured positions as budget analysts in local government, assistants to city managers, analysts in state government, and personnel specialists.
Our full-time internship plan remains a distinctive feature of the KU experience. During the second year (the internship year), students meet three times with faculty for week-long professional development seminars designed to help link theory and practice. During these seminars, students review, compare, interpret, and scrutinize their own work experiences while alumni and other practicing administrators assist them in the transition from academic life to professional career. The first professional development seminar is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), generally in October. The second professional development seminar is a week-long program held on the Lawrence campus in January. The third is in April, again in Lawrence, in conjunction with the annual Kansas City & County Management Conference.
- Profiles of current intern-option students
- Comments from a City & County Leadership intern-option graduate
- View a video put together by the class of 2012 where they introduce themselves and talk about their experiences in the program.
The City & County Leadership Program is also open to students who do not wish to make a full-time two-year commitment to the program; most career-option students continue to work in their occupation and complete the degree by taking one or two classes per semester.
Applicants for the career-option should have experience or a strong interest in local government management. Admission to the program is heavily weighted toward students with experience in local government or non-profit organizations that focus on the local level.
Students may enter the program in the fall or spring semester. The career-option City & County Leadership Program students take the MPA program core courses and 12 additional hours of electives. It is suggested that students include PUAD 851 Infrastructure Management as one of their electives.
Recent career-option graduates from the City & County Leadership Program include:
- Jodi Andrews, Lieutenant, City of Shawnee, KS Police Department
- Ashley DeVilbiss Bieck, Student Interest Manager, American Academy of Family Physicians
- Eric Ely, Recreation Coordinator, City of Shawnee, KS Parks and Recreation Department
- Tanner Fortney, Planner II, City of Olathe, KS
- Jim Green, Sergeant, Lee's Summit, MO Police Department
- Paul Kramer, Public Information Officer/ Assistant to the City Manager, City of Leavenworth, KS
- Doug Norsby, Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector for the City of Lenexa, KS
- Mahesh Sharma, Assistant City Engineer for the City of Lenexa, KS
- Amy Warkentin, Child Care Facilities Specialist, Johnson County, KS
- Kevin Weyand, City of Olathe, KS Fire Department
- Terry Ziegler, Major/ Staff Support Commander, Kansas City, Kansas Police Department