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The online Executive Master of Public Administration program (eMPA) at Texas Southern University and the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., have partnered to develop a new experience for students.

Amid the pandemic, the eMPA Study Abroad program was paused. According to the eMPA program director, Dr. Michael O. Adams, “The study abroad program enhanced the academic experience of our students and we were committed to pivoting to ensure that they could still benefit from immersive experiences beyond the online classroom.”

Adams describes the nation’s capital as the “linchpin for both local and international politics,” adding that GSPM’s commitment to diversity and experience in training practitioners made them an excellent partner for the effort.

From March 20-25,  the inaugural group will travel to Washington, D.C. The itinerary will include meetings, panel discussions and guest speaker events with former members of Congress, current Capitol Hill staffers and nongovernmental organizations organized by GSPM.

Topics covered will include climate change, political campaigns and foreign policy. In addition, students can take part in cultural activities that highlight the historical contributions of African Americans in the District and students will attend a special reception and networking event that will feature the president of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and Congressional Black Caucus staff.

Adams said the benefits for participating TSU students are twofold.

“There’s a teaching and learning experience where they will meet and speak with former members of Congress, and also their exercises in terms of becoming more familiar with the opportunities that the GSPM offers and to see how they may intersect or become involved in terms of leadership positions at the federal, state and local level.”

“The other part of that is a cultural experience because now during the daytime hours, we will be on the GWU campus. But in the evening, they will be with my connections in Washington, D.C. They’ll meet with members of the Forum of Black Public Administrators during a day one reception. We’ll also tour the African-American Museum. And certainly, that’s a tremendous opportunity for the group. They’ll also hear from members of the Congressional Black Caucus.”

Adams hopes the experience will also make inroads in increasing the number of Black congressional staffers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and said there’s a shortage that needs to be addressed.

For more information about the eMPA Program or the eMPA-GSPM partnership, contact Adams at michael.adams@tsu.edu or 713-313-7760.