Student Testimonials

There is only one word to describe my experience with the MPA program at JSU, Positive. From the moment that I started the admission process to the present it has been nothing but a positive experience. After being out of school for over 20 years, I decided to return to school to pursue a Master in Public Administration. I researched several programs, but JSU’s program just stood out to me. The admission process was simple and status updates were received throughout the admission process until I received my official notification of acceptance. Enrollment in the program has allowed me the flexibility to continue to work, yet be able to complete the program in a timely manner with convenient 100% online course offering options. The instructors are willing and available to assist in any manner. They have a strong interest for each student to succeed in the program. The price of the program is very affordable. The courses helped me in my current position as an employee with a local government organization while equipping me with knowledge, skills and experience to advance and pursue future career endeavors. As the director and adviser for the MPA program, Dr. Newton is the best. I would not have been successful in the program without her encouragement and support. From the beginning she promised me that she would be with me every step of the way leading, guiding and advising me and she has done nothing short of doing just that. The program has shaped me personally, professionally, and academically. My advice to any student considering JSU’s Master of Public Administration program, choosing JSU’s MPA program is a great start to building relationships, while gaining knowledge and experience that will preparing you to elevate your future career choices and endeavors.

Jaline P. Thomas – Class of 2023
Environmental Health Program Supervisor
Jefferson County Department of Health
The World Games 2022 Finance & Administrations Section Chief- Food Protection IMT

Prior to beginning my MPA journey, I had already been involved in the non-profit and governmental sector and felt that the program could help further my career and understanding of my role within the government workforce. Throughout the two years I spent in the program, I not only gained an understanding of my role, but I have a much better understanding of why certain aspects of the sector operate the way they do, how to decipher which actions are advantageous, and how to go about creating change when appropriate. The instruction I received from the JSU professors during each course was very interactive and incorporated an emersion of applicability, which is not always the case when taking online courses. Obtaining my MPA has already placed me in the conversation to move into a much larger leadership role in the near future, although I just received my MPA in May 2022.

-Lindsay S. Frey, MPA
Procurement Specialist
Jacksonville State Universsity

The MPA program at JSU allowed me to continue my full-time career while advancing my credentials in public sector leadership by studying 100% online. JSU's courses in public finance, public personnel management, public policy analysis, and more helped equip me with the knowledge necessary to advance that career in education advocacy and government relations upon graduation. I chose a concentration in Administrative Management, which consisted of graduate coursework from JSU's School of Business. These classes and the MPA core classes helped prepare me to be a more well-rounded nonprofit executive. Since graduating in 2020, I have stepped into leadership of a statewide civics education nonprofit, became appointed as a member of my local board of education, and became an adjunct political science instructor. Additionally, I am currently working toward a Ph.D. and expect to complete it in 2023. The research methods coursework and general course load rigor adequately prepared me to apply, become accepted, and to succeed in my doctoral program. All-in-all JSU's affordable MPA program has helped prepare me for personal, professional, civic, and academic success.

-Brett A. Johnson, MPA (2020)
Executive Director and President, Liberty Learning Foundation
Adjunct Instructor of Political Science, Jacksonville State University
Adjunct Instructor of Social Science, Snead State Community College

Undoubtedly, pursuing my MPA at JSU has been one of the most important decisions of my career in the public sector. Not only did the program provide me with the requisite knowledge to understand the intricate nuances and complexities of public policy administration, but it caused in me an increased passion for both the fields of public administration and academia. JSU provided a fantastic atmosphere that nurtured professional growth and academic success. Though I pursued the majority of my program online, I am local to JSU and participated in various University activities. In both realms, JSU lived up to its reputation as “the Friendliest Campus in the South.” My experience was very favorable and prompted me to join the JSU Alumni Association as a life member. In addition to my law enforcement career, I am active in various regulatory boards, advisory committees, and non-profit groups. My MPA has greatly improved my ability to create policies in any of these roles.  

Falon C. Hurst, MPA (2022), BS 
Lieutenant, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office
Secretary, Calhoun County Deputy Sheriff’s Association 
Member, Calhoun County Bingo Regulatory Commission
Member, Leadership Calhoun County Advisory Committee 

As an Army Acquisition Officer a heightened understanding of the political and public arena will allow me to better perform my duties.  Some of the most significant and helpful things I learned during my time in the JSU MPA program include: organization, writing style, how to research, and commitment.  These attributes not only make me more marketable in the Army, but also more sought-after when I part ways with the military. 

-CPT Kirby Derrick Rice '13, US Army

My MPA experience has certainly added to my ability to evaluate and understand ideas, think critically, argue concepts, resolve conflict and sometimes, simply agree to disagree without arguing.  I also believe that getting an MPA has helped provide me the ability to see the “bigger picture” associated with the programs I support.  Classes such as Administrative Law, Policy Analysis, Public Finance and Foundations of Public Administration have certainly provided me insight to better understand the big picture.  I have also learned to understand that change is constant and must be embraced.  These skills have allowed me to better adapt in order to lead organizations through changes as they occur instead of being part of the bigger group who waits for direction.  This has helped me contribute to my employers at levels beyond those associated with my positions.  I have been rewarded with additional responsibilities that have allowed me to gain even more valuable experiences and career advancement.  Naturally, the additional career opportunities resulting from these experiences have also added to my salary.

-Steve Downing
Project Manager – National Security Global Business Unit
Battelle Memorial Institute
MPA – 2011

I entered JSU's Master of Public Administration program after working in the field of journalism for a few years.  I had taken only a few political science classes when I began the program in the fall of 2009, but the department's caring faculty along with its practical and enlightening courses prepared me to push my educational goals beyond where I thought I could go.  I am now close to completing my coursework in Auburn's Public Administration/Public Policy doctoral program.  The strong foundation laid at JSU had a great amount to do with my success.

-Brandon Fincher '11
Administrative Vice President
Graduate Student Council
Auburn University

I knew that the public sector is where I wanted to use my talents. I pursued the MPA degree because I knew that it would help me to have a better understanding of federal, state, local and not-for-profit organizations and structures. The MPA department at Jacksonville State University equipped me with the educational framework to be able to be successful in the public sector. As a non-resident of Alabama, I was welcomed to the University and Department with resources and opportunities that would lead me to my first job post graduation.

My internship at the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, working as graduate assistant with the Department of Housing and Residence Life and alongside guidance from the MPA faculty helped me to solidify my niche in the public sector. Now working as a Project Coordinator, I appreciate the importance of public finance, policy development, conducting research and leadership development as I begin my career.

-Donta Council '14
Standards for Excellence Coordinator
Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama

I highly recommend Jacksonville State University to any individual looking to earn their Master of Public Administration degree.  Having attended a larger university for my undergraduate work, I really enjoyed the smaller size of the department and the opportunity to work closely with my professors on my coursework and research projects.  The campus has a genuine sense of community, and the faculty members really go the extra mile to see their students succeed.  The MPA program also gave me the flexibility to continue working full time and still finish in two years.  I think that any student that's interested in studying political science and public administration will find the course offerings at JSU to be just what they're looking for!

-Emma Tolbert '11
Campaign Finance Director
Sewell for Congress

I was in a very successful real state position but wanted to pursue a more fulfilling path. I discovered the MPA program at JSU. The course work was rigorous and challenging, yet it fully prepared me for a new career in government relations.

The professors brought to the classroom, care and concern for their students' success, along with a plethora of real-world experience that linked learning to practical application.  

I am proud to be a JSU MPA graduate!

-Jana Cordell '13

Attending JSU for studies towards my Master's in Public Administration was an exciting opportunity for me! I had just graduated and received my undergraduate degree and headed to Jacksonville with excitement, motivation and an expectation of excellence from the program.  I was met with nothing less!  My professors were the leaders in their field who took a personal interest in each of their students.  This was a surprise for me at such a big university!  I was able to speak with my professors during their office hours with any concerns I had regarding their course.

The classes offered were classes that I thought were not only appropriate to my major but also to me personally.  Overall, I think the decision to get my MPA through JSU was a great one and I'm glad to say I've received my degree through them!

-La Dawn Thomas '10