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University of Tennessee: DAU assists Cal State, San Bernardino, in developing new graduate degrees for AT & L workforce.

California State University, San Bernardino, will begin offering a media-rich and completely online executive master's in public administration (MPA) program tailored for the acquisition, technology, and logistics workforce next fall. Through funds appropriated by the 108th Congress, the university has been charged to develop several Web-based master's degree programs in public administration, criminal justice, and health administration; the programs are intended to serve Department of Defense employees and designed to ensure that graduates satisfy, at a minimum, requirements for the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level II training certification in program management. The executive master's degree in public administration will begin a pilot test program in spring 2006, with an official program launch scheduled for the fall. Because these programs are not operated through state university funding, they will be available to any qualified person for the same cost, regardless of residency status.

The executive MPA and the degrees to follow are unique in that they are the first of their sort to be developed in close cooperation with the Defense Acquisition University. With DAU's guidance as the project administrator, the executive MPA will be a student-friendly, convenient, yet high-quality pathway toward professional advancement for the AT & L community. The degree represents a coming of age in distance learning and boasts a variety of cutting-edge media enhancements, while incorporating acquisition core competencies that will result in DAWIA Level II certification in program management for graduates.

These degree programs come in response to needs expressed by Department of Defense and Department of the Navy officials to build a workforce that is flexible and agile in the way it manages resources. Above all, the educational priority is to create a learning organization exemplified by analytical, strategic thinkers who are focused on future needs. Given the downsizing of DoD in recent years, the workloads, and the impending retirements, Cal State, San Bernadino's public administration department chair Dr. Montgomery Van Wart anticipates that the online executive MPA and others will play an important role in DoD's succession-management planning. "Quality online instruction is the wave of the future," he says. "I am deeply gratified that we received congressional funding to produce a program that is not only the most technologically advanced, but also the most media-enhanced in the country."

The many media enhancements not only enrich the learning experience, but they cater to various individual learning styles. Courses are presented in modular formats, with features such as streaming audio and video, simulations, and interactive Web pages to facilitate surveys and testing. Program planners adhered to the principles of good practice as set forth by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, in addition to internally developed quality control measures to ensure consistent outcomes from course to course. A minimum of 120 hours of consultation between instructional designers and each faculty member takes place to adapt courses to Web-based presentation. According to the campus director of distributed learning, Dr. Jim Monaghan, the result is "the best in instructional design and production values. For example, the face-to-face simulations using actors achieve more than text-based approaches ever could. The use of multimedia allows us to tailor content to different learning styles, and research shows that it has a greater impact on learning."

Beyond the technological sophistication, the executive MPA and follow-on graduate programs will embody the same core curriculum as the campus-based residential programs, with elective course customization for the AT & L workforce. They will draw upon the same campus faculty as instructors and will require students to interact with peers and professors for a complete graduate experience. Students will progress through their courses in sequence as cohort groups, enabling a sense of community and national professional networking that will last well beyond graduation.

Cal State, San Bernardino, now celebrating its 40th anniversary, is one of 23 campuses that comprise the largest public university system in the world--the California State University system. Created expressly for working professionals, the executive master's degree in public administration holds prestigious accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Public Administration, and the online degree has recently received full approval by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which is the university's regional accrediting body.

For more information on Cal State, San Bernardino's executive MPA program, including admission and curriculum, visit <http://online.csusb.edu> or contact Michael-Anne Barner in the College of Extended Learning: mbarner@csusb.edu or (909) 537-3907.

Summers is associate dean, College of Extended Learning, California State University, San Bernardino.
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Title Annotation:Spotlight on DAU Learning Resources
Author:Summers, Susan
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:741
Previous Article:University of Tennessee: Defense Acquisition University 2006 Catalog.
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