The Martin School and the Department of Political Science at the University of Idaho offers the Master of Public Administration degree for students interested in careers in the governance and management of local governments and communities. Students can expect to leave the program with intellectual and analytical skills, and the practical experience needed to enhance their ability to serve local governments and communities. The program is public service oriented, and is delivered in partnership with communities in Idaho and Washington.
Practitioner involvement in this program provides students a more relevant and practical education than that found in more traditional programs. Academic faculty members work closely with local government professionals to deliver courses and professional development opportunities. In addition to internships, all students are required to complete a practicum designed to deliver the skills needed in professional communication and employment.
The program requires 36 hours of coursework and offers two tracks. The internship track is designed for students who have little or no public administration experience while the in-service track is designed for working professionals who seek to strengthen their leadership skills. Internship track students complete a 3 to 6-hour internship to gain hands-on experience in the governance of local government and communities. These students are normally full-time students. Most in-service students attend part-time.
Both tracks share a core curriculum of 18 hours:
- PolS 555: Seminar in Public Administration, Theory, and Practice
- PolS 572: Local Government Politics and Administration
- PolS 575: Public Personnel Administration
- PolS 557: Governmental Budgeting
- PolS 504: Research Methods for Town and Community Administration
- PolS 504: Practicum in Public Administration (1.5 hours per semester)
Students may then develop their specific interests in local government by choosing 12 to 15 hours of elective courses. These courses may be chosen in alignment with the bioregional planning and community design graduate program, or other graduate programs on campus with the approval of their advisor.
Although no specific undergraduate preparation is required for the M.P.A., all students must complete the following prerequisites before completion of the program: three credits in U.S. national or state Government and three credits in a statistics course such as Statistics 251.
Academic and Clinical Faculty
James H. Bennett, CM, AICP, City Manager, Lewiston, Idaho
Jim Bennett is the city manager of the City of Lewiston, one of only three council-manager forms of government in the state of Idaho. He has more than 25 years experience in local government management and has worked as a city manager in California, Oregon and Idaho. He served for three years on the ICMA Board of Directors as West Coast Vice-President for Oregon and Washington. He received his MPA from California State University Stanislaus in 1988.
Juliet Carlisle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Idaho
Juliet Carlisle is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Idaho. Her research substantively deals with political participation, public opinion, and political socialization. Her most current projects include a co-authored book manuscript, The Politics of Energy Crises, and work exploring public attitudes toward large-scale solar developments in the United States, funded by a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. She’s taught courses in public opinion and political behavior, legislative process, and research methods.
Matt Dorschel, MPA, Executive Director of Public Safety, University of Idaho
Matt Dorschel is the executive director of public safety & security at the University of Idaho. He served the U.S. Air Force as an officer and aviator for more than 29 years, retiring in the rank of colonel in 2011. From 2008 – 2011, he served as chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies at the University of Idaho and Washington State University as well as Commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 905. Previously, he commanded two large military installations – Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and Ali Airbase – the largest airbase in southern Iraq. He also directed the Pacific Air Operations Center during Operation Unified Assistance, a tsunami relief operation, coordinating more than 3,400 flights and providing relief supplies to 400,000 displaced individuals.
Brian A. Ellison, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science; Director of the Martin School, University of Idaho
Brian A. Ellison is a professor of political science and director of the Martin School at the University of Idaho. He previously served as chair of the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University, as director of the Joint MPA Program at the College of Charleston/University of South Carolina, and as Director of the MPA program at Missouri State University. His primary fields of study are environmental politics, public administration and policy, and federalism. He has published on these topics in Public Administration Review, Policy Studies Journal, Natural Resources Journal, Administration and Society, International Journal of Public Administration, State and Local Government Review, Environmental Management, Publius, Policy Studies Review, Society and Natural Resources, American Review of Public Administration, and various chapters and essays. Professor Ellison has also taught as either a visiting professor in China, Russia, and Armenia, and as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Bulgaria.
Brett Morris, Ph.D., Clinical Professor; Director, Presidential Communications, University of Idaho
Brett Morris serves as a clinical professor and the university’s director of presidential communications. He worked in the media, in city government and in education before joining the U.S. Air Force where he served for nearly 25 years. He retired in the rank of colonel in 2010. He served in several operational and support roles on five continents. He has also served on detached duty with the White House and U.S. State Department in crisis communication, heads of state support, and negotiations. In his last assignment, he served as the director of research at Air Command and Staff College. His primary fields of study are public administration, political communication, political psychology, and international relations.
Gary Reidner, J.D., City Supervisor, Moscow, Idaho
Gary Reidner received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1981 and a Juris Doctorate in 1984 from the University of Idaho. He served as prosecutor for Bannock and Kootenai Counties, and became Moscow City Attorney in 1992, before being appointed city supervisor for the City of Moscow in 1995. He is a member and past president of the Idaho City Management Association, a member and credentialed manager of the International City/County Management Association, and is also a member of the Idaho and Washington State Bar Associations.
Manoj Shrestha, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Idaho
Dr. Manoj Shrestha is an assistant professor of public administration and policy. His academic background includes M. A. in Economics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal, M. Sc. in National Development and Project Planning from University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, and PhD in Public Administration and Policy from Florida State University. His teaching and research interests include local government, research methods, public policy and program evaluation, collaborative governance, social networks, and public organization theory and management. His research focuses on understanding the problems of developing and sustaining collaborative solutions to institutional collective action problems, emphasizing the role of self-organizing networks in the governance and management of local public goods and water systems. His other research interests include inter-local collaboration, social-ecological networks, and community sustainability. He is also affiliated with Bioregional Planning & Community Design, Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program in water resources, and the Jerry Collins Local Governance Research Laboratory at Florida State University.
Mark Workman, BS, PE, City Supervisor, Pullman, Washington
Mark started working for the city of Pullman in 1985 as the assistant city engineer. Working his way up through the city engineer position, he was appointed public works director in July 1988, after a six-month assignment as the interim director. In October 2012, he was assigned the additional position of interim city supervisor, following the retirement of long-term (31-year) city supervisor John Sherman. In January 2013, he was appointed permanently to the city supervisor position, leaving the public works department after 28 years of service. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Idaho and is a registered professional civil engineer. He enjoys fly-fishing, hiking, and biking, particularly in the upper St. Joe River country of north Idaho.