About MPA Program
As the flagship public service program for Oklahoma’s metropolitan university, the University of Central Oklahoma MPA serves diverse communities by preparing ethical, transformational leaders who creatively and analytically inform public dialogue and manage policy through collaborative action by preparing graduates for careers in government, nonprofit organizations and other public service fields. Our vision is to be the graduate program of choice for Oklahoma’s public servants.
Professionalism in the UCO MPA program is an overarching public service principle encompassing all other values that guide indispensably neutral agents of democracy who carry out the decisions of the elected representatives of the people. In addition to neutrality, other standards are loyalty, transparency, diligence, punctuality, effectiveness and impartiality.
Ethical Leadership is the ability to exercise evidence-based judgment and discretion when carrying out official duties. It is the duty of MPA graduates to foster communities that are inclusive and that allow all individuals to pursue and fulfill their needs and meet their highest potential.
Diverse and Global Perspectives charge the faculty to teach MPA students to see the world from perspectives other than their own by developing cognitive, affective, behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural, social and religious contexts.
Social and Environmental Justice calls for the development of conceptually viable connections between personal life and the planet by banishing beliefs that people are different and, therefore, disposable and that the environment is exploitable rather than sustainable.
Upon completion of the M.P.A. degree, students should be equipped to:
1. Provide transformative learning experiences that effectively prepare our students for public service careers.
- Integrate diverse and inclusive perspectives
- Network with practicing public servants
- Apply professionalism and ethics in the public and non-profit sectors
- Collaborate with colleagues on research-informed public service projects
2. Provide visible and meaningful service to diverse communities.
- Develop educated, informed graduates to meet the needs of Oklahoma communities
- Engage with local organizations through collaborative application of faculty and student expertise
- Promote pride in public service throughout the extended UCO M.P.A. community
3. Inform public debate and address critical policy issues.
- Mentor students in research, scholarly, and creative activities
- Support faculty scholarly initiatives
- Encourage civic engagement and public advocacy
UCO M.P.A. Core Faculty
- Ken Kickham, Ph.D., Professor and Chairperson, Department of Political Science
- Deborah Ferrell-Lynn, M.P.A., Lecturer
- Loren Gatch, Ph.D., Professor
- Jan Hardt, Ph.D., Professor
- Elizabeth Overman, Ph.D., Professor, Co-coordinator, MPA Program
- Alyssa Provencio, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
- Brett Sharp, Ph.D., Professor
- John Wood, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Co-coordinator MPA program
Other Affiliated Faculty
The UCO M.P.A. is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)—the global standard for public service education. The NASPAA standard ensures programs promote public service values, bound in the pursuit of programmatic improvement and educational quality. Accreditation puts UCO's MPA in an elite group—Central is one of only two institutions in Oklahoma to be accredited, and one of 208 programs globally.
The University of Central Oklahoma is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an entity recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The Masters of Public Administration Advisory Board is a group of highly-qualified and diverse professionals that brainstorm, recommend and give general guidance to the UCO MPA program on activities including curriculum development, program improvement , liaison and networking for program graduates, internships and career development.
The advisory board is composed of public service and non-profit leadership from across Oklahoma and includes representatives from three levels of government - local, state and federal.
- Maurianna Adams: Chief Community Investment Officer, CCIO, MetaFund
- Janetta Cravens: Vice President of Programs, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OCNP)
- Darrell Davis: Mayor of the City of Edmond and Tinker Air Force Base
- Sara Jane Delmonte: Director of Engagement | Nonprofit Professional | Relationship Builder-Ok Center for Community and Justice
- Joe Dorman: CEO, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
- Mike Fina: Executive Director, Oklahoma Municipal League (OML)
- Audrey Hathorn-Daniels: Consultant, Amplify; AAR organizational development veteran, LinkedIn Learning partner and facilitator for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
- Chris Hooper: Executive Director, Federal Executive Board (FEB)
- Kirsten Michelle Lindsay: Assistant Director Workforce and Economic Development, Francis Tuttle Technology Center
- Mark Mishoe: Administrative Coordinator for the Oklahoma City Planning Director
- Carlos Moreno: Graphic Designer, CAP Tulsa (Oklahoma's largest anti-poverty nonprofit organization and a national leader in early childhood education)
- Jeanette M. Nance: Executive Director, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful
- S.E. Puett: Program Manager, Project Management Consultant PwCat
- Natasha Riley: Director of Talent Management, Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES)
- John Martin Sharp: Executive Director, Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG)
- Andy Conyers: Assistant City Manager, City of Edmond, OK
- Richard Paul Swigart: Administrative Service Manager, Transportation, Oklahoma Corporation Commission
- Bill Tackett: Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group (OMAG) - Risk Assessment
- Steven Whitlock: Executive Director, City Management Association of Oklahoma (OKMMS) & Executive Director, City Management Association of Oklahoma (CMAO)
- Tiffany Williams: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, Chickasaw Nation Industries
- Kendra Wilson-Clements: Founder and CEO, We The People Consulting
- Mel A. Woodrow: Deputy Director, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics