Academics

The MPA program requires a total of 15 courses (45 credits). This includes 12 core courses (36 credits) and 3 electives (9 credits). Students may take a minimum of 2 courses and a maximum of 4 courses in any given semester. The program's core courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters. Students may begin taking electives after completing 3 core courses. They may take electives in the fall, spring, or summer semesters at CCNY or by e-permit at other CUNY campuses. Electives must be graduate-level, cannot duplicate core courses, must relate to public policy/administration, must align with student’s professional goals, and are subject to approval by the MPA Academic Advisor Janet Kyle.

MPA Courses take place Monday-Thursday in two time slots: 5:15 PM - 7:15 PM and 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM. The program sets the course schedule, so students do not choose their class times, but the evening schedule allows students to work part-time or full-time while completing their MPA degree. Some courses are entirely in-person, others are entirely online, and many combine in-person and online instruction.

Descriptions of Core Courses

Introduction to Public Policy
How does public policy contribute to social justice? This course develops the skills and in-depth understanding of how public policy is shaped, influenced, and debated. Special attention is placed on examining power and politics by looking into the processes, institutions, and social forces involved in reproducing and legitimizing outcomes that we may deem desirable, necessary, or unacceptable from the local to the national and international. 

Communication in Public Service
We need solid communication skills in public service to win hearts and minds. And with incredible skills in communication, students will be able to write that grant proposal, prepare that press release, pen that critical opinion editorial, present to colleagues, and distill and synthesize messy data into discernible and actionable material. Students will end the course better able to communicate in different settings, using various means. Thus prepared, they will be stronger in service to their communities and the nation in whatever area of the public sector they choose for a career.

Quantitative Methods
The first part in a two-course sequence, this course introduces students to basic statistical methods and their application to public service. The course covers the essential elements of descriptive statistics, univariate and bivariate statistical inference, and an introduction to multivariate analysis. This course will focus on both the theory and application of various statistical tools and an introduction to data visualization. The course will emphasize data analysis, using the software package, Stata. The course will also explore the pitfalls of policy claims made with data as well as how data can be harnessed to achieve equity. An emphasis will be placed on the practical applications of these methods in management and policy.

Economics for Public Policy
Uses economic analysis to delve deeply into many of the most important and controversial public policy issues facing governments at the federal, state and municipal levels. Each policy issue is examined from the perspective of legislators and members of executive branches who must make decisions on issues with economic roots and possible economic solutions. Ideally, each policy issue discussed will be approached as though it is a business problem. Using economic theories, statistical tools and logic, potential solutions to policy issues will look at strategies, tactics, potential outcomes and the potential consequences of each of those outcomes. By the end of the semester, students will be able to speak confidently about major economic policy issues.

Strategic Human Resources Management
The purpose of this course is for students – as managers in a world of increasingly scarce resources – to understand the challenges and responsibilities they have in terms of managing human capital. Students will learn how strategic human resource management is a critical system within an organization that can move any team towards excellence. The need to attract the best people - keep them motivated, engaged and able to make a significant contribution to achieving the organization’s mission- is fundamental to success. Managers are responsible for selecting their team, developing them, managing performance and ensuring that they are engaged and feel rewarded for their efforts.

Advanced Quantitative Methods
The second in a two-part sequence covering mathematical and statistical concepts and methods used to design and conduct policy research, synthesize and describe data of all types, and support management decision making. The course focuses on applications rather than on theory and mathematical development. Topics including the scientific method, Measure of Central Tendency and Dispersion, Probability Theory, Hypothesis testing, Correlation analysis, Linear regression and Multiple regression.

Program and Policy Evaluation
Daily searches for management positions requiring monitoring and evaluation knowledge and skills populate a host of new opportunities at some of the world’s smallest and largest organizations and agencies. Whether to satisfy funding requirements or to improve ongoing program operations, the demand for measuring progress toward delivering outputs and achieving outcomes is ever present in the nonprofit and public sectors. To meet the demand, this course will familiarize students with the fundamentals of monitoring and evaluation, including foundational concepts, designs, and methods; data collection and analysis methods; and designing logic models, surveys, and evaluation matrices. 

Strategic Management of Public Organizations
In response to the inequities exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and the global uprising for racial justice, we’ve witnessed transformative change on a variety of levels over these past two years – personal, political, and cultural. We saw a dramatic turnover at the highest level of government, grassroots organizers calling for a radical re-imagining of public safety, departments of education pushing for a curriculum re-vamp, Lebron James, Aaron Rogers and Naomi Osaka in “Liberation Now!” jerseys, and elementary school students striking for climate justice. In this course, students explore the social justice ecosystem – the many players, their roles, strategies and tactics – all designed to advance equity and justice. Students also look inside to better understand how to foster progressive and collaborative leadership and inclusive and equitable organizations.

Public Budgeting and Finance
In simple terms, budgets are plans covering income and spending. But they are much more than that. Budgets are a statement of priorities for a government or organization and indicate expectations about the future financial situation of those entities. Budget documents and websites are also repositories of large amounts of data that can be used to conduct analysis. And they provide an indication about the success or failure of policies and programs. Knowing how to construct and interpret such information will contribute to the success of future public and nonprofit leaders. Being able to find such information and explain it to others is a very useful skill. This class covers the terminology, components, practices, documents, and methods of public budgeting and finance at all levels of government and in the non-profit sector. It emphasizes policy analysis—thinking through the available data, drawing conclusions, and communicating that information to a non-technical audience. 

Mobilizing Finance for Justice
Aligned or adversarial, investment capital shapes so much of how our economy and society function. This course will focus on the broad spectrum of the rapidly growing “capital for good” industry - a complex ecosystem of philanthropy, community investment, and public and private equity - through the lens of impact investing and sustainable finance. Students will gain insights into what financial resources and incentives are available to leverage for social change. Students will craft their own strategies to mobilize capital actors and institutions to support their target areas for social impact. Many of our sessions will touch on funding sources and approaches, but the Course should not be viewed primarily as a fundraising class, its scope is much more expansive.

Leadership in Public Service
Leadership can be learned through the practice of skills, through guided reflection and discussion, and through observation and analysis of everyday leaders in everyday situations. By the end of the course, students will understand models and theories of leadership and leadership development, learn to identify authentic leadership skills in themselves and in others, and understand how leadership operates in different professional settings and contexts.

Capstone
The capstone is the culminating experience for MPA students. The course integrates students’ experiential and classroom learning into a single project. Students work directly with a public sector or community-based partner (‘client’) on an organizational challenge to complete a complex, semester-long project that is of direct practical use to the client organization. This experience presents students with a real-world client management exercise to further develop and hone their analytical, communication and project management capabilities. 

Faculty

Andres Bernal
Andrés Bernal was born in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to the United States as a child. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and an MA from the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Educational Sciences, where he was mentored by renowned scholar-practitioner Zachary Green of Group Relations International. Andrés has over a decade of experience in youth leadership development and community building. He previously worked as a policy advisor to the Congressional campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He currently serves as the Director of Political Education for the Young Progressives of America. He is also a Lecturer of Urban Studies at CUNY Queens College and a doctoral student at The New School, where his research focuses on the Green New Deal. Additionally, Andrés is a leading proponent of Modern Monetary Theory and serves as a Research Fellow at the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Missouri Kansas City Department of Economics.

Ofronama Biu
Ofronama Biu teaches Quantitative Methods. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute and a Research Affiliate with the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy at the New School. Her research interests include labor market and workforce development policies and racial stratification. Professor Biu brings extensive experience in project management, program evaluation, partnership building, employer engagement, and direct service to participants. Previously, she was a research manager for worker education at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. As a senior research associate at the Building Movement Project, Professor Biu worked on national projects focused on leadership, including Race to Lead reports, service and social change, and movement building, as well as place-based projects in Detroit and New Mexico. She was also a senior research associate at the NYC Labor Market Information Service at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she directed research projects on trends impacting the social services and middle-skill healthcare workforce. Meanwhile, she has co-founded a nonprofit organization that connects youth to media professionals for skill-building and mentoring opportunities. Professor Biu holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the NYU College of Arts and Science and a Master in Public Administration (MPA) degree from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and a PhD in Public and Urban Policy from The New School. Professor Biu can be reached at obiu@ccny.cuny.edu

Omar Freilla
Omar Freilla teaches Public Economics. Omar is a serial trailblazer, social entrepreneur, and movement builder with a passion for building structures for community self-determination and regenerative economies. His work is grounded in his experience growing up in the South Bronx, a child of Dominican immigrants, within a network of community organizers. He founded Green Worker Cooperatives, the oldest Black-led worker cooperative development organization in the US. He has pioneered multiple approaches to cooperative development that have resulted in New York City now having the largest concentration of worker cooperatives in the US. He is the creator of the Co-op Academy, the first business accelerator for worker cooperatives in the US. His latest initiative is Collective Diaspora, a new global network of Black cooperatives and Black-led cooperative support organizations from across the African diaspora.

Christina Greer
Christina Greer is currently a fellow at the Moynihan Center at The City College of New York. She is also an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, Lincoln Center (Manhattan) campus. Her research and teaching focus on American politics, Black ethnic politics, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. She is the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream and co-editor of Black Politics in Transition: Immigration, Suburbanization, and Gentrification. Greer writes a weekly column for The Amsterdam News, one of the oldest Black newspapers in the U.S., and is a frequent political commentator on several media outlets, primarily MSNBC, WNYC, and NY1. She is the co-host of the New York centered podcast FAQ-NYC, is a political analyst at thegrio.com and host of the podcast quiz show The Blackest Questions at thegrio.com. Greer is a member of the boards of The Tenement Museum in NYC, The Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, and Community Change in Washington, DC, and serves on the Advisory Board at Tufts University. She received her BA in Political Science from Tufts University and her MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.

Ryan Hallock
Ryan Hallock teaches Program Evaluation. Since being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, he has focused on helping nonprofit organizations build their monitoring and evaluation capacity, including at the World Federalist Movement and International Crisis Group. He currently works at Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the Research and Evaluation Department. Ryan holds an MPA from the City College of New York and an M.A. in program evaluation from Michigan State University.

Carl Hamad-Lipscombe
Carl Hamad-Lipscombe teaches Communications in Public Service. Carl is a policy strategist, organizer and movement leader who has worked at the intersection of immigration, criminal law reform and racial justice for nearly 20 years. Previously, Carl led national policy, communications and research initiatives as Deputy Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and managed philanthropic investments in prosecution reform, indigent defense and access to counsel at Arnold Ventures. A Bronx native, Carl’s vast experience also includes time as a public defender at The Bronx Defenders; leading advocacy and communications efforts for local and national coalitions focused on workers’ and immigrant rights; coordinating a citywide nonpartisan voter engagement table; and working as a security guard and street vendor. Carl earned a B.A. in philosophy and urban policy at Brooklyn College, a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and studied urban planning at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Jeff Holland
Jeff Holland teaches Public Budgeting and Finance. He worked in the Projections Unit of the Congressional Budgeting Office for 26 years, overseeing data compilation, writing, and production for a large part of CBO’s most widely read publications. He now serves as the Vice President of Research at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing long-term fiscal challenges to ensure a better economic future. Professor Holland received his MS in Public Administration and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and BA in Economics and Urban Studies from the University of Maryland.

Eric Horvath
Eric Horvath is an Adjunct Lecturer and Faculty Fellow at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. Eric teaches a course titled Mobilizing Finance for Justice within CCNY's MPA program. Currently, Eric works at Harvard Law School leading a program for labor pension fund trustees and responsible investing. Prior to that, he was the Director of Impact Investments at Common Future, a national nonprofit focused on eliminating the racial wealth gap and building an economy for all. Before Common Future, he worked at Transform Finance, where he launched several educational initiatives for activists, organizers and other social sector allies that explored paths for their communities to better engage with investments. Eric serves on the board and investment committee of the New York Foundation and the finance committee for the North Star Fund, New York City's social justice community foundation. He received his MBA from NYU, MPA from Syracuse and BA from Fordham. He calls Brooklyn home.

Cristina Jimenez
Cristina Jimenez Moreta is a community organizer and political strategist who recently joined the Colin Powell School as a Distinguished Lecturer. She is Co-Founder and former Executive Director of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. She migrated to the U.S from Ecuador with her family at the age of 13, growing up undocumented. Over the last decade, UWD, under Cristina’s leadership, has grown into a powerful network of nearly one million members and has played a pivotal role in shifting the politics and narrative about immigrants and immigration policy. In recognition of her work as a social justice organizer, Cristina received a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, the Four Freedoms Award, and a spot on the 2018 TIME 100 List. Cristina currently serves on the board of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the Hazen Foundation, Make the Road New York Action, and the Dream.US.

Janet Kyle
Janet Kyle has more than 20 years of experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors driving organizational change through strategic talent management. She holds a Master of Arts degree from The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies and a Master of Science degree from Pace University's School of Education. She teaches Strategic Human Resources Management.

Gara LaMarche
Gara LaMarche teaches Leadership. Gara is the former president of the Democracy Alliance (DA), providing overall leadership, strategic vision and management capacity for the organization. Prior to joining the Alliance, he served as Senior Fellow at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and previously, as President and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies. At Atlantic, he led the foundation’s efforts to embrace a social justice framework for grantmaking, and spearheaded the largest-ever grant made by a foundation for an advocacy campaign – over $25 million to press for comprehensive health care reform in the U.S. Before joining Atlantic in 2007, he served as Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations (OSF), launching the organization’s pivotal work on challenges to social justice and democracy in the United States. A longtime advocate for human rights at home and abroad, he has held various positions with Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Gara is also a frequent commentator on progressive issues in the news and has taught courses on philanthropy, public policy, and non-profit leadership.

Shanelle Matthews
Shanelle Matthews teaches the MPA Capstone course. Shanelle collaborates with social justice activists, organizations, and campaigns to inspire action and build narrative power for social justice and liberation. She recently completed her tenure as the Movement for Black Lives communications director. She founded Radical Communicators Network (RadComms)—a global community of practice for social movement communications workers, and is a former faculty of Resistance Narratives at The New School. Shanelle is a Distinguished Lecturer at City College at the City University of New York. She is co-editor of a forthcoming anthology that details world-building narrative campaigns and strategies led by social movement communications workers in the 21st century.

Last Updated: 01/30/2024 10:48