This semester, students in the Spring 2016 M.P.A. Capstone class completed a project to study refugee integration challenges across six countries and to develop recommendations for municipal governments and NGOs to enhance capacity and ability to respond effectively to needs of this newcomer population. The students wrote for both Associate Professor Thomas Bryer, Ph.D., but also for Jolanta Vaiciuniene, the director of the Municipal Training Centre at Kaunas University of Technology. Vaiciuniene wrote a response to the students, providing critical feedback.
The purpose of the project was to provide high quality analysis that assists the Municipal Training Centre and its partner agencies to develop a high-impact education and training program that prepares communities to welcome and successfully introduce refugees into communities.
Students in the M.P.A. program produce a portfolio that provides evidence of their learning as it relates to the program’s core competencies. The project requires students to reflect on both their academic and professional work.
To create the portfolio, students collect and organize materials they’ve accumulated during their studies. This includes class assignments, class notes and self-assessments (using core-competency rubrics). Students also include an essay in which they summarize and reflect on what they’ve learned in terms of theory or skill development. In addition, they provide a biography, resume and copy of their LinkedIn page.
The completed portfolio provides evidence that the student has met the five major learning competencies (minimum threshold for compliance) set forth by the accrediting body, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).