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Public administration degree returns fall 2019

LA GRANDE, Ore. – After a five-year hiatus, public administration is back in the academic catalog at Eastern Oregon University. The program returns as a fully online bachelor’s degree suited to those interested in public planning, city administration, nonprofit leadership and other public service careers.

The program is the only undergraduate public administration degree in the nation that’s fully online through a public university.

Political science professor Jeff Dense has overseen the revival, and sees the program as central to the university’s mission of being an economic and cultural engine in rural Oregon. Dense developed the original curriculum and rebooted it for online delivery starting in fall 2019.

He said students will experience hands-on learning through internships and mentoring from working professionals in the field. Topics for the course include social science research, public policy, budgeting, critical thinking and written communication.

“It’s all about seeing a problem and solving it,” Dense said. “There’s a small city and rural management focus, where we have a real need for this skill set.”

From negotiating with labor unions, to policy analysis and interacting with the public, Dense said the new degree program prepares graduates to “do the day-to-day work of government.”