WCU MPA Program

WCU MPA Program Welcome to the Western Carolina University Masters of Public Affairs Program! This page is intended to build community among WCU MPA alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends, and prospective students. Follow us for job postings, upcoming events, and more

Welcome to the official page of the Western Carolina University Masters of Public Affairs Program! This page is intended to build community among WCU MPA alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends, and prospective students. Follow us for job postings, upcoming events, and more! Visit our website for more information: http://www.wcu.edu/learn/departments-schools-colleges/cas/social-sciences/poliscipublicaffairs/mpa/

Joseph Jamison, Director of Operations and Program Excellence for OpenDoors Asheville, stopped by our PA 693 (Collaborat...
07/02/2019

Joseph Jamison, Director of Operations and Program Excellence for OpenDoors Asheville, stopped by our PA 693 (Collaborative Governance) class last evening to share insights on partnering with local governments and other nonprofits to achieve greater opportunities for underserved members of the Asheville community. Many thanks to Joseph for sharing his knowledge and experiences. Please check out and support OpenDoors Asheville - a wonderful organization making a real difference in people’s lives!

06/28/2019

Congratulations to 2019 WCU MPA graduate Lilly Hatton for landing a fantastic position as Town Clerk and Associate Finance Officer of Lake Waccamaw, NC! We’re incredibly proud of you, Lillian!

06/04/2019

Congratulations to MPA student Lauren Stepp for being selected to represent the WCU MPA Program at the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association’s summer conference in Wilmington this July (complete with a scholarship to attend). We’re proud of you, Lauren!

05/31/2019

Congratulations to MPA alumnus Alison Krauss for being named Director of the Office of Research Administration at Western Carolina University! We’re incredibly happy for you, Alison. Well deserved.

05/21/2019

A big congratulations to MPA student Rachel Taylor on getting married this past Saturday! We’re always happy to see our students and alumni happy, and wish you and Lee all the best!!

Congratulations to our Spring 2019 graduates!  Your hard work, dedication, and commitment led to walking across that sta...
05/11/2019

Congratulations to our Spring 2019 graduates! Your hard work, dedication, and commitment led to walking across that stage. Celebrate it, enjoy it, and use your MPA well in service to others. We’re proud of you!!

Pictured (L to R) are: Steve Orr, Dorcas Munoko, Preston Blakely, Lindsey Prather, Tyler Morrow, Laurie Sickles, and Lillian Hatton.

Spring 2019 graduates not pictured: Connie Davies, David House, and Harper Spires.

Congratulations to all of our students who presented their capstone projects this past Friday!! They did amazing work wi...
05/05/2019

Congratulations to all of our students who presented their capstone projects this past Friday!! They did amazing work with local governments and nonprofits by conducting research, evaluating programs, developing surveys, and so much more. We couldn't be prouder.

Also, special shout-out to our MPA award winners at Political Science/Public Affairs Day. Preston Blakely was named Outstanding MPA Student (Public Management), Stephanie Krucher was named Outstanding MPA Student (Nonprofit) (not pictured), and Lindsey Prather and Tyler Morrow were both inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.

05/01/2019

Fantastic job opportunity with Appalachian Voices!

New Economy Program Field Coordinator

Appalachian Voices is seeking a Field Coordinator based in our Norton, Va., office to build local power and engagement in the Just Transition movement by recruiting, engaging, and activating community members in Southwest Virginia through our New Economy Program. The Field Coordinator will develop community leaders, support the strengthening of new and existing community-based organizations, conduct educational trainings on solar and economic development, and execute strategic campaigns focused around solar, coal-impacted land redevelopment, and land ownership issues in Southwest Virginia.

This position will foster the connection between community members and our work, making sure that local, diverse community voices and perspectives are informing the economic and community development decisions that are being made both within our organization and the region as a whole. Foundational to success is a well-developed understanding of community organizing in rural settings, as well as community and economic development within a Just Transition framework.

Appalachian Voices is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion both in our work and in our organizational structure. We seek applicants who share and exhibit these principles. As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other factor that is not related to the position. We understand people gain skills through a variety of professional, personal, educational, and volunteer experiences. We encourage candidates to review the primary roles and responsibilities below. If you believe you have the transferable skills necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of this role, we encourage you to apply.

Strong candidates will:

Demonstrate strong skills in community engagement and organizing including recruiting and stewarding volunteer leaders in rural and marginalized communities.
Understand, or be able to learn, state and federal policies and programs that impact Central Appalachia, particularly at the intersection of environmental justice and economic development.
Effectively facilitate dialogue and listen deeply to the perspectives of partners and stakeholders.
Thrive in a highly collaborative setting while being self-motivated and creative.

Specific workload includes:

Building relationships with community members and key partners;
Supporting the strengthening of new and existing community-based organizations;
Planning, organizing and executing public events including community meetings, presentations, workshops, town halls, petition drives, press conferences, etc.;
Implementing campaigns and supporting projects of our New Economy program;
Working closely with the communications team to develop digital materials for emails, newsletters, action alerts, blogs, social media posts and events, and other online communications tools to mobilize our membership;
Maintaining detailed databases and listservs for volunteers, community leaders, community partners, etc.
The New Economy Field Coordinator position is based in our Norton, VA office and will report to the New Economy Program Manager. This is a place-based employment opportunity within far Southwest Virginia, working out of our Norton office on a daily basis, without the option of telecommuting. Our office is located within walking distance of the Jefferson National Forest and has easy access to multiple incredible outdoor recreation opportunities and cultural assets. The region is in the midst of an exciting renaissance, and we seek an individual who is as excited about being a part of that—both professionally and personally—as we are.

Compensation and Benefits:

Appalachian Voices offers competitive compensation and benefits that includes employer-paid health care, vision and dental policies with options to include family members at a reduced cost; as well as generous paid vacation and parental leave, and an employer-matched retirement plan. This is a full time, permanent position. Targeted hiring range is between $32,000 and 40,000.

To apply:

Applications will be accepted until this position is filled and interviews may start by mid-May 2019. The start date will be July 1 or later. Apply now! Please send resume and a brief cover letter (one page) that addresses the questions below to [email protected]. Questions about the position are welcomed via email. No calls, please.

- What’s your connection to Appalachia and why do you want to work in Norton, Virginia?
- Share one example of your experience organizing with communities to achieve a goal: what was the objective, who was involved and what was your role?
- What does a Just Transition in Appalachia look like to you?

Look! A GOT meme! We're hip now, right?
04/29/2019

Look! A GOT meme! We're hip now, right?

The MPA Program welcomed Cris Weatherford, Development Director for Mainspring Conservation Trust, last evening as part ...
04/25/2019

The MPA Program welcomed Cris Weatherford, Development Director for Mainspring Conservation Trust, last evening as part of our Professional Development Lecture Series. Great turnout to hear Cris speak about his experiences working in the WNC nonprofit community, and how his Western MPA continues to guide him in his work. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us, Cris!

We’re so thankful to be sharing the WCU MPA Program with Rutherford County department heads in Rutherfordton this morn...
04/24/2019

We’re so thankful to be sharing the WCU MPA Program with Rutherford County department heads in Rutherfordton this morning! Thank you to County Manager Steve Garrison for the invitation. Always nice to bring the MPA Program to this gorgeous, patriotic place.

Good afternoon students, alumni, and friends!Some of our students in the PPI are assisting with a land use plan project ...
04/15/2019

Good afternoon students, alumni, and friends!

Some of our students in the PPI are assisting with a land use plan project in Cullowhee that requires public input. See the attached flyers for more info on how you can share your opinion on the Cullowhee Small Area Plan.

Keep an eye out for other posts sharing the Facebook events for more info as well!

04/13/2019

Special thanks to WCU MPA Advisory Board members (and alumni) Leslie Anderson and Caroline Rodier for serving as mock job interviewers for our nonprofit management students this morning. Leslie and Caroline also reviewed all job applicant materials for this professional development exercise, and provided valuable feedback on written materials and interview skills to our student applicants. Thanks so much for being deeply invested in public service and the development of our students!

Congratulations to our 2019 mock job process winner (**drum roll**)...Lindsey Prather. Well done, Lindsey, and thanks to all of our fine students who participated.

Job Opportunity Alert!!Union County is looking for a Budget Analyst. Read more about this position here:https://www.gove...
04/07/2019
Budget Analyst

Job Opportunity Alert!!

Union County is looking for a Budget Analyst. Read more about this position here:

https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/unioncounty/jobs/2408611/budget-analyst

The Budget Analyst, under general supervision, performs a wide variety of professional level budget development and analysis involving preparation, administration, maintenance, review and control of County-wide budgets. The position is responsible for performing managerial budget preparation and ana...

Helpmate
04/06/2019

Helpmate

Helpmate, Inc., a domestic violence agency in Asheville, NC, seeks a full-time Youth Prevention Educator to provide community education about healthy relationships and domestic abuse prevention. Primary responsibilities will include delivering abuse prevention curricula to students in middle schools, high schools and colleges, as well as maintaining partnerships with schools and other youth-serving organizations. This position will develop curriculum, facilitate trainings, gather data and represent Helpmate on key community groups and task forces. Strong communication skills required. Qualified candidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree or 2 years’ experience in social work or related field, with preference for experience in domestic violence or related field, or a commensurate combination of work and experience. Qualified candidates must also have experience working with youth and diverse communities. Diverse candidates are encouraged to apply. Benefits package available. Email resume and cover letter to [email protected] by April 8 at 5:00pm with “Youth Prevention Educator” in the subject line. No phone or in person inquiries – please.

Be sure to come to our next Professional Development talk on Wed. 4/24! 👨‍🏫 We've moved the time to 6pm to make ...
04/04/2019

Be sure to come to our next Professional Development talk on Wed. 4/24! 👨‍🏫 We've moved the time to 6pm to make it easier for people to come after work. We're also providing pizza 🍕 and drinks.

Cris Weatherford of Mainspring Conservation Trust will be speaking about rural WNC nonprofits 🗻

Join us!

Congratulations to our Dean’s Scholar Award recipient for 2019, Lindsey Prather!  A well deserved award for a fine MPA...
04/02/2019

Congratulations to our Dean’s Scholar Award recipient for 2019, Lindsey Prather! A well deserved award for a fine MPA student and wonderful public servant.

Wonderful job opportunity!  Assistant Manager - Buncombe County, NC.  https://buncombecounty.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US...
03/29/2019
Assistant County Manager

Wonderful job opportunity! Assistant Manager - Buncombe County, NC. https://buncombecounty.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/Buncombe_County_Careers/job/Asheville-NC/Assistant-County-Manager_R00498

Buncombe County is a caring community in harmony with its environment where citizens succeed, thrive, and realize their potential. Our mission is to promote a healthy, safe, well-educated, and thriving community with a sustainable quality of life; to provide effective and efficient government our ci...

Local Government students, alumni, and friends: Check out this fantastic professional development opportunity coming up ...
03/27/2019

Local Government students, alumni, and friends: Check out this fantastic professional development opportunity coming up next month!

Enjoy it while it lasts, students!!(Let's be honest- most of us are working, too.. but it's fun to pretend!)
03/08/2019

Enjoy it while it lasts, students!!

(Let's be honest- most of us are working, too.. but it's fun to pretend!)

03/01/2019

MPA Students, Alumni, and Friends,

I want to express my appreciation to everyone who has contacted me over the past two weeks and offered encouragement as I prepare to move into the MPA Director role this summer. Thank you for your support and your warm welcome to my new role.

At the close of this semester, I will have proudly served as an MPA faculty member here at WCU for four years, and I am enthusiastic about the next phase of my involvement with the program. I am passionate about improving public service, and I am honored to help equip public and nonprofit leaders to serve Western North Carolina and elsewhere. Thanks to all of you, the hard work of our excellent faculty and board of directors, and the tremendous leadership of Dr. Gerlach, our program has experienced exceptional development during Dr. Gerlach’s tenure as MPA Director.

I look forward to working with each of you as we pursue continued growth and development together. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the MPA program in an expanded capacity.

See you July 1st,

Heather Rimes

02/14/2019

Dear Alumni and Friends,

On June 30th, after four enjoyable years as WCU MPA Director, I will be stepping down from the position. I am not leaving WCU, and will remain an active faculty member in our MPA Program inside the classroom and out. I am merely moving toward other professional interests, including a research agenda which will require a lot of my time starting next fall. I am extremely grateful for my time as MPA Director, and very proud of all we have accomplished in my four years. With the help of so many of you, WCU administration, my colleagues, our wonderful MPA Advisory Board, and our fine students, we have raised money toward MPA scholarships at WCU, increased our Program’s exposure, built a tremendous Professional Development Series for students, placed students in numerous jobs in the local government and nonprofit sectors, successfully held our first MPA Reunion Weekend, increased outreach and engagement, and taken several other steps to enhance our impact in Western North Carolina and beyond. I am extremely appreciative of your support, guidance, and investment in our MPA Program and students over the past four years. Thank you.

Our MPA Program will be in great hands going forward. Dr. Heather Rimes will become MPA Director on July 1st, and I have every confidence she will move the Program forward in some amazing directions. Dr. Rimes is a respected current member of our faculty. She is a fantastic researcher, teacher, colleague, and mentor of students. We are excited to build on the Program’s successes over 38 years of service to Western North Carolina and beyond. The future of the WCU MPA Program is bright, and I can’t wait to be part of that future under the leadership of Dr. Rimes.

Thank you for the privilege of serving as MPA Director at Western Carolina University. Stay tuned to see how our Program and its students and alumni keep climbing. Go Cats!!

With gratitude,
Jay Gerlach

Congratulations, Amy!! We are very proud of you
02/08/2019

Congratulations, Amy!! We are very proud of you

Congratulations to Amy Brantley, Assistant County Manager for Henderson County for being awarded the Assistant Manager of the Year! Way to go Amy! Well deserved and so proud of you, your accomplishments and the fact you’re a Catamount!

From our director Jay Gerlach:"Some great news! Our WCU MPA Program is growing in student enrollment, job placements, pa...
01/31/2019
WCU sees growth in graduate programs

From our director Jay Gerlach:

"Some great news! Our WCU MPA Program is growing in student enrollment, job placements, paid internships, alumni engagement, regional and national recognition, and many other positive ways! Check us out, and consider a career in the local government or nonprofit sectors.

Go Cats!!"

Western Carolina University’s Graduate School saw an 18.2 percent increase in enrollment of new graduate students this spring, largely driven by programs preparing students for career growth in high-demand fields. Overall Graduate School enrollment climbed 3.7 percent.

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WCU Programs At Biltmore Park
Asheville, NC

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