Department News

News and Highlights

2020

  • Montana Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division Wins Baucus Innovation Challenge. Participants in the 2020 Public Service Academy voted on their colleagues' video pitches of innovative work. The MVD takes home a $500 cash prize to re-invest in their innovation.
  • UM Student Winst Prestigious Udall Scholarship. Jonathan Karlen, part of the inaugural cohort of 4+1 Wildlife Biology and MPA degree program students, is one of just 50 students nationally to receive this award.
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Administration alum Jason Emery promoted to Chief Information Officer. Missoula County created this new position to protect the county’s digital assets in the modern age.

2019 

  • UM Develops First Joint Wildlife Biology and Master of Public Administration Degree in the U.S. The new "4+1" program will allow students to earn a BS in wildlife biology and MPA in just five years.
  • MPA Student Kat Cowley Featured on A New Angle Podcast Cowley discusses her pioneering leadership to establish the Food Pantry at UM. 
  • UM MPA Grad Ben Hamman on Jeopardy! A viewing party is happening at Flippers in Missoula to watch Ben Hamman on Jeopardy on October 7. 
  • UM's Master of Public Administration Earns Prestigious Accreditation After a lengthy and rigorous process, UM's MPA program received accreditation from NASPAA, making it the only accredited program in the state. 
  • UM and Carroll College Partner on Accelerated Graduate Degrees. 
    The School of Law at UM and Carroll College are offering a "3+3" dual-degree program for a juris doctorate degree and a "4+1" dual-degree program for a master of public administration degree. Both programs will help students obtain graduate degrees in less time and at a lower cost than traditional paths. 
  • UM Earns Montana’s First Nationally Accredited MPA Program. The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana now offers the state’s only nationally accredited master’s degree in public administration (MPA). UM’s Department of Public Administration and Policy’s MPA program recently received accreditation for the first time in program history. The University’s MPA Program is accredited by the NASPAA Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation and listed on the Annual Roster of Accredited Programs in conformity with NASPAA standards. UM’s MPA program is housed within UM’s law school under the Max S. Baucus Institute.
  • MPA Graduate Kali Wicks Receives The Independent Record's 20 Under 40 Award. As the newest Helena city commissioner and senior management in government relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield Montana, Wicks is making positive change in both the private and public sectors.
  • Head of University of Montana VETS office leads a 'cultural change'. MPA program alumnus Shawn Grove has worked as the Director of UM's Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) since 2013 and led a culture change for veteran students. 
  • Expanded Baucus Leaders Cohort for Summer 2019 includes MPA students. After an extremely competitive application process, MPA students Shelly Scotti and Rebecca Power were selected as part of the 11 UM students who will intern in Washington DC this summer as Baucus Leaders.
  • Two MPA students receive prestigious Bertha Morton Scholarships. Congratulations to Michele Scotti and Kyle Roberts on receiving this award for the 2019-2020 school year! These scholarships are given to approximately twenty students each year who are "among the top five percent of the University’s graduate students in academic performance, research and creative activities.”
  • UM Launches New Department Focused on Public Administration and Policy. Senator Max S. Baucus spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 19 celebrating the launch of a nationally unique model for the integration of law, policy and public service.
  • UM Releases Results from First Big Sky Poll. Chair of the UM Department of Public Administration, Sara Rinfret, said the 293 poll respondents provided a wide variety of responses on President Trump, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Steve Daines, Representative Greg Gianforte, the U.S. Congress, Governor Steve Bullock, and the Montana Legislature.
  • MPA students partner with the City of Missoula's Office of Housing & Community Development to gather feedback from area residents regarding local affordable housing needs:
  • Sierra Farmer, a UM Master of Public Administration student, has been selected as the student representative for the inaugural cohort for the City of Missoula’s Local Citizens Academy. The Academy was spearheaded by City Council representatives Heather Harp and Gwen Jones to provide a hands-on way for citizens to learn about city government.

2018 

  • Shelly Scotti, a UM Master of Public Administration graduate student, is a recent recipient of the inaugural cohort of OCHE Research Fellows. As one of the three research fellows, Scotti will work on three initiatives: transfer; academic planning, approval and assessment processes; and development of a new Montana Science and Technology Plan. “I am honored to be an OCHE Research Fellow and contribute to initiatives aimed at promoting student and faculty success within the Montana University System,” Scotti said. “I hope that my contributions to academic research, planning and outreach will have a positive impact on higher education for all Montanans.”
  • UM Master of Public Administration Program Earns National Ranking
  • University of Montana’s Master’s in Public Administration Program Recognized for Online Learning Excellence
  • Attorney General Tim Fox Now Cancer Free, Set to Graduate in May with MPA from UM
  • MPA Program Director Publishes New Book:
  • Professor Johnstone in the News: University of Montana law professor: New justice will be younger, more conservative
  • MPA Public Service Award Recipients: 
    • Shane St. Onge
    • Colleen Piluso
    • Alyssa Probst
  • MPA student Shane St. Onge is highlighted in UM's Measures of Success, a compilation of stories and aspirations of 2017-18 graduates.
    Go Griz. Go Anywhere.
  • MPA Program Director Receives 2018 Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award
    2018 UM Employee Appreciation Week Awards

2017 

  • University of Montana prepares to launch Big Sky Poll
    The University of Montana Big Sky Poll collects and reports information about Montanans' perceptions of local, state, and federal issues. Available at www.umt.edu/bigskypoll, the poll is directed by Sara Rinfret, Associate Professor & MPA Director, and Justin Angle, Associate Professor of Marketing.
    Missoulian
  • Professor Vernon selected for the United States Department of State Professional Fellows Program, Thailand and Laos
  • Professor Panarella published, A Bird in the Hand: Shotguns, Deadly Oil Pits, Cute Kittens, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, University of Virginia Environmental Law Journal
  • UM's online MPA Program ranks as the 18th most affordable in the nation for 2017
    AffordableColleges.com

2016 

  • UM's MPA Program ranks tenth best in the nation for its online MPA Nonprofit Administration track
    Top Management Degrees

UM's Master of Public Administration Alumni Newsletters