Learning Objectives and Rubrics

The Educational Goals of the CSUN MPA Program: 

The educational goals of the MPA program focus on the skills, abilities, and habits of mind that a public and non-profit sectors professional would need to act in a leadership role in public sector and non-profit administrative service.  Through the MPA program a program graduate should:

Learning Objectives #1:

Gain the ability to critically analyze, create or improve, and implement, effective public policy in public sector programs and services.


  1. Show that you are able to conceptualize and specifically identify a substantively important policy or organizational problem (level 1).
  2. Identify specific policy alternatives and solutions (level 2).
  3. Describe and prescribe an appropriate policy recommendation (level 3).

Learning Objectives #2:

Acquire the foundation knowledge needed to understand the distinctive character and responsibilities of public sector administration in a democratic society.


  1. Discuss accurately and in details the theories in public administration and policy and their relevance to the real world policy and organizational problems (level 1).
  2. Use public administration concepts in meaningful and accurate ways to analyze distinctive character and responsibilities of public sector administrators (level 1).
  3. Discuss the specific public administration value conflicts and dilemmas that administrators encounter in decision making (level 2).

Learning Objectives #3:

Acquire the breadth and depth of knowledge about the challenges and model practices of contemporary public sector administration needed to be effective in that context.


  1. Make accurate and detailed social scientific observations about a series of public sector problems and issues (level 1).
  2. Using scientific or systematic analysis, describe leadership and management approaches to solving these problems (level 2).

Learning Objectives #4:

Acquire an understanding of the special challenges and opportunities of public sector administration in a diverse urban context.


  1. Through reliance on various social, policy and organizational variables, discuss emerging policy issues in the region (level 2).
  2. Linking these variables, provide a specific unitary approach in solving social, political, policy and organizational problems in the region (level 3).

Learning Objectives #5:

Develop the skills and theoretical knowledge needed to redesign public sector organizations, staff and delivery systems; as well as develop an understanding of the importance of cooperative and collaboration across unit lines and with external and community partners.


  1. Use various models and theories in organizational leadership to analyze effective management of a public sector organization (level 1).
  2. Show that you can identify specific public sector issues and problems across units (level 1).
  3. Show that you can link and interconnect these problems across different units and problems/issues (level 1).
  4. Show that you can develop specific solutions to these problems through cooperative and collaborative strategies across various organizational units and policy domains (level 2).
  5. Apply organizational management principles and models to develop a plan for managing small, midsize and large public and non-profit organizations (level 2).


Learning Objectives #6:

Refine the ethical reasoning skills needed to address the complex value challenges that face those in public sector administration.


  1. After clearly identifying an ethical issue in the public sector, demonstrate the systematic reasoning necessary for making decisions (level 1).
  2. Through reliance on ethical principles in public administration and collaborative reasoning with peers, develop an ethical model of conduct for particular public sector ethical dilemmas (level 2).
  3. Express your own ethical reasoning and justification of policy decisions and their impact on others (level 3).

Learning Objectives #7:

Develop foundation of financial management skills needed to critically analyze, develop, implement, and openly and ethically manage budgets and resources in the public sector.


  1. Use concepts, theories, and models of financial management for understanding budget documents as social and policy choices (level 1).
  2. Analyze different components of a budgetary document, and through ethical policy decisions present an alternative financial document (level 2).
  3. Working with diverse individuals, teams and organizational units develop a budget document incorporating others concerns and priorities (level 3).

Learning Objectives #8:

Develop the foundation skills and abilities needed to address the essential issues of human resources management to build a strong and effective team in the public sector through:  effective hiring, staff development, staff evaluation, staff discipline and performance correction and dismissal.


  1. Make accurate and detailed observations that will allow you recognize and outline patterns of human resources practice (level 1).
  2. Develop effective procedures for hiring practices while maintaining ethical standards and best practices in the public sector (level 2).
  3. Describe current practices as to how can human resources management resolve cultural conflicts within a public sector (level 3).
  4. Analyze the interdependence of people in a public organizational context; Identify potential issues and conflicts; propose specific solutions to these situations (level 3).

Learning Objectives #9:

Develop advanced communication skills needed for leadership in the public sector: strong oral communication skills in small groups and in larger public contexts.  Strong written communication and skills appropriate for writing reports, explaining issues and policies, persuasively presenting initiatives, corresponding with colleagues and clients, and media communications.


  1. As a professional, develop the ability to communicate observations and beliefs concerning public policy to others (level 1).
  2. As a professional, develop the critical skills to think clearly and critically to fuse experience, reason, and training into considered judgments (level 1).
  3. As a professional, assess and determine a problem and its causes, form strategies that work on different situations to solve the problem, and act on these strategies and evaluate their effectiveness (level 2).
  4. As a professional, facilitate communication to encourage a variety of ideas and opinions and write clearly and to the point as well as effectively present ideas and arguments orally (level 3).

Learning Objectives #10:

Develop a commitment to and a facility for ongoing learning through a variety of formal and informal modes.  Develop the ability to assess the credibility of various information sources.


  1. Show that you can relate previous experience and knowledge to a new situation and problem (level 1).
  2. Show that you can use a variety of arguments simultaneously to analyze a specific issue (level 2).
  3. Show that you can use and apply social science methods to verify the credibility of information (level 3).

Analysis of Rubrics:

  • Level 1: Show observational skills, Draw reasonable inferences
  • Level 2: Perceive and make relationships, Analyze structure and organization
  • Level 3: Employ multidisciplinary framework in order to analyze, establish linkages between theory and practice as well as between multiple policy problems and issues.

Program Outcomes Matrix

The matrix illustrates how the content and instructional strategies of all the courses in the MPA cover the 10 educational goals of the MPA program. View the matrix here.