Julie Heaton


  • Baucus Institute's Stockman Bank Speaker Series presents John Kerry. On April 21, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, was in conversation with Max Baucus. 
  • Spring 2022 Highlights of MPA alumni and students Both current students and alums are achieving great things in their careers and communities.  
  • UM Earns Top-Tier R1 Research Status The University of Montana achieved R1 status this year, and DPAP's research contributed to this achievement. 
  • Meet the 2022 Baucus Leaders Montana! Seven University of Montana undergraduate, graduate, and certificate students enrolled in DPAP will serve as the second cohort of Baucus Leaders Montana this summer. 
  • UM Public Affairs Graduate Program Improves Ranking. The University of Montana again has the top graduate program for public affairs in Big Sky Country, according to new rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
  • New UM Department of Public Administration Programs Address Workforce Needs. New programs include a dual Master of Public Administration and Master of Social Work degree program, an undergraduate certificate in public policy, a graduate certificate in poverty policy, and a graduate certificate in law, public administration and policy.
  • DPAP Hires New Faculty
  • Spring in His Step: UM Student Recognized With Volunteer Award. University of Montana student Mark Spring is a volunteer who gets things done. His commitment was recognized recently when he became one of 14 college students to receive the Montana Student Volunteer Award from the Office of the Governor and the Campus Compact board. 


  • Fall 2021 Student Spotlights: These MPA students have been making impacts in their communities and advancing their careers. 
  • DPAP hires two new faculty in 2021. The Department of Public Administration & Policy hired Blake Emidy, who began teaching in fall of 2021, and Josephine Hazelton-Boyle, who will begin teaching in summer of 2022. 
  • Former Vice President Al Gore visits UM. Former VP Al Gore joined former MT Senator and Ambassador to China Max Baucus in "A Climate Conversation" presented by the Baucus Institute in October of 2021. 
  • Dr. Christina Barsky Receives National PAA Award The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) selected Dr. Barsky to receive the 2021 Pi Alpha Alpha Chapter Advisor Award of Excellence.
  • 2021 Baucus Innovation Challenge Prize Goes to Columbia Conservation Commission. Cassidy Bender of the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission, part of the Montana Department of Resources and Conservation, submitted the winning pitch for this year’s Baucus Innovation Challenge during the recent third annual Public Service Academy at the University of Montana.
  • UM Employee-Student Uses Internship to 'Connect Montana.' Like many University of Montana employees, Julie Heaton considers lifelong learning critical to her success. For the past year, in addition to serving as director of UM’s highly successful Financial Education Program, she’s been enrolled as a graduate student working toward a Master of Public Administration in UM’s Baucus Institute of Public Administration and Policy. And, this summer, she is sharpening her interest in global and societal issues – notably those surrounding inequality – working as an intern for the Montana World Affairs Council, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering global awareness in Montana classrooms and communities.
  • UM Master of Public Administration Ranked No. 1 in Montana. The University of Montana has the top graduate program for public affairs in Big Sky Country, according to new rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
  • UM Student Places Second in International Simulation Competition. A University of Montana graduate student led her team to a second-place finish recently during an international, public-policy simulation contest involving students from 30 countries around the world trying to combat a fictional pandemic.
  • UM Student with Passion for Public Service Named 2021 Newman Civic Fellow. Mia McKinney's passion for social justice, dedicated volunteerism, and excellent academic record earned her a spot in the prestigious 2021 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows
  • UM's Master of Public Administration Earns Another Top Ranking. Best Value Schools has awarded a second top ranking this year to the University of Montana’s Master of Public Administration program, placing it fourth nationally out of the Best 25 Masters in Public Administration Schools in 2021.
  • UM's Master of Public Administration Ranked Fifth in the Country. The University of Montana’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) was recently featured by Best Value Schools in its 2021 Best Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs, ranking fifth out of the top 30 programs in the country.
  • UM Institute Selects First Cohort of Baucus Leaders for Montana. Modeled on its successful predecessor, Baucus Leaders--which places students in summer internships with congressional offices and committees in Washington, D.C.--students in this program will have the opportunity to make a difference closer to home as they participate in project-based learning with offices throughout the state in the summer of 2021.   
  • Missoula Survey: County Voters Confident in Vote by Mail. Researchers from the University of Montana’s Department of Public Administration and Policy recently asked nearly 698 Missoula County residents, “Are you confident Missoula County is free of voter fraud?” Eighty-nine percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with this statement.


  • Dr. Sara Rinfret, DPAP Chair, awarded Montana Ambassadors' Educator of the Year. The Montana Ambassador Awards honor individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to economic development in Montana.
  • UM Student Mia McKinney Wins Prestigious Montana Student Volunteer Award. Only 12 students throughout the state of Montana receive these awards, and we're proud to have a DPAP student representing UM. 
  • New Micro-Credential in Nonprofit Leadership and Development. Beginning Summer 2021, the Department of Public Administration & Policy will offer a new, fully online micro-credential in nonprofit leadership and development.
  • UM Announces New Certificate of Nonprofit Administration. Montana is home to more than 7,400 nonprofits, a sector that has grown 20% in the last decade across the country. Responding to the need for a pipeline of talented professionals, DPAP launched an undergraduate certificate in nonprofit administration this fall.
  • Grizzlies will Have Their Voices Heard. In September, the Department of Public Administration & Policy Chair Dr. Rinfret worked with UM Athletics to help eligible student-athletes learn how to register to vote and find resources for understanding the political process.
  • 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 Wins 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.”
  • 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.


  • 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, the poll is directed by Sara Rinfret, Associate Professor & MPA Director, and Justin Angle, Associate Professor of Marketing.
  • 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


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