Bloustein School News

August 2011


Bloustein School's Public Policy program receives NASPAA accreditation

NASPAA accreditation logoThe Master of Public Policy program at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

“The Bloustein School began the rigorous process of conducting a self-study of the public policy program to begin the accreditation process about two years ago,” said Stuart Shapiro, director of the program and a professor of public policy. “In addition to adding a layer of oversight and accountability, accreditation gives prospective students the assurance that our core curriculum is consistent with national standards, that our faculty meets the highest expectations, and that we are constantly monitoring and improving the program to provide the best opportunities for learning and networking.”

NASPAA’s mission is “to ensure excellence in education and training for public service and to promote the ideal of public service,” according to the organization’s website. Accreditation is voluntary, serving as a sign that a program meets a set of standards regarding curriculum, administration, mission, student admissions, faculty quality, student services and placement, and facilities. Currently, 170 U.S. graduate programs in public affairs, policy, and administration are accredited by NASPAA. NASPAA has accredited 11 programs in public policy, of which only seven — including the Bloustein School — are straight MPP programs.

The accreditation process is part of the school’s broader plan to grow the public policy program both in size as well as in national recognition. “The school’s strengths lie in the areas of social and welfare policy and in community development,” said Shaprio. “However, we are unique in that we are one of the few policy schools that can take advantage of a nationally ranked planning school. Our students have exceptional access to practitioners in transportation, housing, and the environment, which greatly expands the range of policy studies available to our students.”

In addition to the self-study, the school participated in an accreditation commission review and an extensive on-site campus visit by a team of experts earlier this year. The site visit report noted many of the strengths of the program, including:

— “a strong sense of common purpose across the school and clear collaboration associated with meeting the goals of the program,” highlighted by strong administrative support and an aggressive information technology support program;

— a strong student-centered community, having rich assistantship opportunities for students in the professional degree programs and an advanced system tracking the recruitment, admission, and progress of students in the programs;

— faculty who are deeply engaged in the world of policy practice, particularly in New Jersey state and local government and the nonprofit sector, providing students with opportunities for experiential learning, an understanding of professional practice, and access to viable career pathways;

— an enthusiastic alumni base supportive of the mission and values of the school; and

— location in an environment, both within Rutgers University and the larger policy community, that values the work being conducted at the school and recognizes the unique contributions the program makes.

The Bloustein School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program is typically a two-year degree for full-time students. “Students come to the Bloustein School hoping to make the world a better place, and a degree in public policy is the gateway to the world of public service,” said Bloustein Dean James W. Hughes. “Accreditation of the program reflects the school’s commitment to provide its students with an extraordinarily rewarding educational experience that will enable them to meet the growing challenges now facing the nation while directly addressing critical issues through the highest-level scholarship, cutting-edge research initiatives, and extensive public policy service.”


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