Roundtable: Joint APPAM/Naspaa Session: The Market for Master's and Doctoral Students in Public Policy/ Administration/ Affairs: What Skills Are in Demand, and How Well Are We Preparing Students for the Market of the Future?

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Grand Pavilion IV (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Moderators:  H. Brinton Milward, University of Arizona
Speakers:  Brian Jacob, University of Michigan, Carolyn Heinrich, University of Texas, Austin, Nicole Darnall, Arizona State University and Ross Rubenstein, Syracuse University

This panel will focus on the job market for our master’s and doctoral students in public policy/administration/affairs and how well we are preparing our students for different segments of the market. Thus, we will focus on both demand and supply side issues important to our NASPAA and APPAM member institutions. Some of the demand side questions we will pose in this panel include the following: • Is the market for our master’s and doctoral students in public policy/administration/affairs growing? Is supply keeping up with (or outpacing) demand? • What skills in particular are in demand in various sectors—the public sector, academia and research institutions, and the private sector? • Who do our students compete with for jobs in these different sectors (public, private, academia/research)—that is, what other degree programs graduate students with similar skills, and how well are we competing with these programs? • Is there expanding or tapering demand for our doctoral students in the academic market? • What do we see as future limiting (or galvanizing) factors on labor demand (e.g., the aging of the public sector workforce)? Some of the supply side questions we will address include: • What types of feedback do we get about the skills or training received through our programs—that is, what are the most valued features of our degree programs in terms of their preparation of our students for the job market? • What are weaknesses of our degree programs compared to competing programs? • How are our programs developing or innovating to meet changes in the labor market for our students? • Are differences between public management/administration and public policy degree programs fading, or do employers see them as distinct and look for particular skill sets from graduates of one type of program vs. the other? • Are our career/placement services tracking market and future skills needs well and adequately serving students in their job search efforts? We intend for this session to have very limited time allocated for panel members’ comments and to use the great majority of the time for facilitating discussion with the audience. Panel members will assemble some information on the demand and supply sides of the market to present at the session, but we also ask those planning to attend the session to bring their data and experiences to share, so that the discussion draws in a variety of experiences from programs of different size, structure, foci, student bodies and geographical areas.
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