Imagery of Regent people and campus

New MPA Director Lays Out Program Distinctives

By Amanda Morad | October 4, 2012

Dr. Jim Slack

Having just launched this fall, the new Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Regent University's Robertson School of Government (RSG) is already creating a buzz. Dr. Jim Slack, the program's director and an RSG professor, explained that several of Regent's distinctives make the program one of a kind.

"Any master of public administration degree will give certain managerial skills that are useful in the public sector," Slack said. "What makes us unique is that we're going to be with the student from the moment they walk through the door until the day they retire."

Slack plans on keeping students and alumni connected, creating a network of graduates in both the public and private sector, and increasing job placement for new graduates. "We're going to be with them for a long time, and we're going to help them network," Slack explained. "Our students will be just as important to us the day they graduate, the day they get their first job or promotion and on the day that they retire."

Another important aspect of the MPA is its generic, non-linear career utility. "We're going to encourage students to think creatively," Slack said. "If they're interested in theater, an MPA will help them with theater management; if they're interested in church, an MPA will help them with church management; we're going to have a focus on faith-based service organizations." According to Slack, the list goes on and on, and the national network of resources students will have access to when they graduate makes the possibilities nearly endless.

"This is the first Christ-based public administration program that's recognized by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration," Slack explained. "That puts us in the top 20 percent of all NASPAA schools to start with. That puts us on par with Harvard's Kennedy School, with the University of Texas LBJ School, and Texas A&M's Bush School."

A large part of what sets the program apart right out of the gate is the faculty teaching its classes. In addition to Slack, Associate Professor Dr. Gary Roberts and Assistant Professor Dr. Bob Dyer bring more than three decades of local government and public administration experience to the table.

"We are destined to make a name for this program and do so for the glory of God," Slack explained. "Students will be limited only by their own creativity."

"The job [current students] will be doing doesn't exist yet," he continued. "We can't predict the issues and crises, but we can provide them with a set of management skills and empower them to deal with what lies ahead."

Having spent most of his career in secular state universities, Slack has a deep appreciation for what Regent offers. Other programs, he said, provide students plenty of skills, but no moral compass: "Secular codes of ethics don't work. They simply provide avenues for loopholes, as opposed to following Christ."

Slack's major areas of research are in death and life policy with emphasis on the sanctity of life. His newest book, Abortion, Execution and the Consequences of Taking Life, focuses on the relationship between public morality and personal action in the American political community on the issues of abortion and capital punishment.

Slack came to Regent on the recommendation of Roberts. "I did not want to finish my career at a state university," he recalled. "I really want to give something back to the Lord. I didn't know that gift would still be in education, but it is and it's a blessing to be able to bring Christ into the classroom .... Public administration should be filled with Christian leaders trying to change the world for Christ."

Learn more about the MPA program.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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