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Critical Social Analysis and Service Learning Methods: Investigating Social Class and Inequality through MPA Courses

Author: EDWARD J. MARTIN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 33 No. 4

In the fall of 2000 at their annual meeting the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) identified the need for Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs to better prepare managers for public sector careers by providing them with enhanced critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of social class and inequality. This essay will address one approach in which public policy and administration educators have attempted to enhance the critical thinking skills of their students through a form of social analysis which utilizes critical theory (critical social analysis) and experiential knowledge (praxis). This paper will analyze these methods through two graduate MPA courses: Race, Inequality, and Public Policy (PPA 533); and Urban Affairs (PPA 610).

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