The Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy at The American University in Cairo are the first two graduate programs in the Middle East and the third outside the United States to receive accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). AUC is also the first institution outside of the United States with two accredited programs from NASPAA. “NASPAA accreditation is one of the most respected and sought-after acknowledgments for any public policy and public administration program around the world. Achieving such recognition — secured by only a few universities outside the United States — in less than a few years since the school's founding is a real testament to the quality of education offered at AUC’s Global Affairs and Public Policy School, “ said AUC President Lisa Anderson commending both the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the Department of Public Policy and Administration. “It is a critical component of the work being done at the school to build a strong culture of public service for graduates who work in Egypt and the region,” she added.Considered as the “authoritative accrediting body in the field of public policy, affairs and administration,” the U.S.-based NASPAA is a membership association of nearly 300 schools of public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public and nonprofit management, located across the United States and in 15 other countries. NASPAA is also the recognized global accreditor of master’s programs in these fields.
Ambassador Nabil Fahmy, dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, reflected on the importance of this recognition for AUC. “NASPAA’s accreditation of both the public administration and public policy master’s programs offered by the Department of Public Policy and Administration just five years after the founding of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) reflects the highest standards of academic recognition for these programs and is a testimony to the unwavering commitment and professionalism of the faculty and administration at the departmental, school and University levels,” said Fahmy. “This stellar and exceptional recognition of programs outside North America provides further impetus for excellence at the department, at GAPP and at AUC, including many of our exceptional students who are already establishing themselves as insightful academicians and leaders in their communities.”
Laurel McFarland, executive director of NASPAA, noted, “The American University in Cairo has been a long-time member of NASPAA and has contributed greatly to our understanding of international public affairs education by convening panels and other NASPAA activities over the years. It is with great pleasure that I congratulate AUC for achieving NASPAA accreditation.”
NASPAA accreditation is a rigorous peer review process that requires years of self-study, peer review and a demonstrated effort to improve quality. Accredited programs measure student knowledge and their preparedness to be successful public service professionals. AUC’s Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Administration programs train students for leadership in upper management positions in public service and for careers as policy analysts. According to Hamid Ali, associate professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, NASPAA’s Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation had more than 35 meetings with faculty, students and alumni, as well as the dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and AUC president and provost.
“The site visit team from NASPAA inspected our records to ensure the existence of mechanisms for supporting faculty on issues related to teaching, research and student engagement,” Ali explained. “NASPAA is strict on the program’s support and supervision of students. It analyzed evidence of student learning on the required competencies and used that evidence to guide program improvement. It was a very intense institutional process, but was also a good opportunity to evaluate and assess the quality of our academic offerings, as well as improve our mechanics and deliverables. What this accreditation shows is that even though the public policy and administration program is only six years old, it has reached a level of maturity that makes it on par with peer programs in the United States and abroad.”
During the 2009 - 2010 academic year, Ali noted, the public policy and administration program underwent a major structural transformation, through which the separation of the public policy and public administration programs –– a process that began in 2007 –– was completed. A new Master of Public Policy was established, and the Master of Public Administration was reinvigorated as a separate degree. Each of the two degrees offered two concentrations, and new courses were introduced. Additional faculty members were also hired to support the growing number of students. In addition, the program has expanded its research activities and outreach, improving its ability to meet the complex needs of Egypt and the region for excellence in public governance.
“The public policy and administration program has continued to grow and is now one of the largest graduate programs on campus, as measured by the number of students enrolled,” Ali said. “Our strategy has always been focused on expanding interest in the programs, increasing the size of the student body and being competitive at a local, regional and global level. The NASPAA accreditation has raised the international profile of the public policy and public administration graduate programs.”
Emphasizing the contributions of students, Ali noted, “This accreditation, tells more about the quality of students the School of GAAP has attracted throughout the years. There are many to credit for this, including Youssef Jameel, whose generous Youssef Jameel GAPP Public Leadership Fellowship targets students who would be able to take on leadership roles in the areas of public policy and administration in Egypt’s government and nonprofit sectors.”
Ali added, “The Department of Public Policy and Administration and the School of GAPP have now joined a diverse global network of more than 190 programs to advance the agenda of public service and to build a better future for the people of Egypt and the region. We are telling the world that despite the turbulence in our region, we are working to transform individuals for the common good. We will keep broadening our curricula and introducing a global perspective in order to present the Middle East and Africa’s narrative to the rest of the world.”