This week, Whitworth added a new program in the continuing studies department: public service administration. The 39-credit major was approved by the university on Monday, Sept. 29. The degree is for students in their third and fourth year of their bachelor’s who are at least 23 years old and work. The classes are held in the evening. Continuing studies can fit perfectly with a schedule of someone who works but who still wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
“[The] School of Continuing Studies is a nontraditional school for students who work and couldn’t finish their studies. They go back to school to have a bachelor’s,” the Associate Dean of Continuing Studies Christie Anderson said.
Courses in the program include Introduction to Public Service, Law and Society, Human Behavior in Organizations and Community Intercultural Relations.
Whitworth accepted the new program because it fits the ideas of the university.
“There’s a need in the community, combined with Whitworth service. It fits perfectly,” Anderson said.
Public service is something that is done to help people rather than to make a profit, such as governmental and non-profit work. The creation of such a program was not easy.
“I was watching the news and I kept hearing several people talking about public service. So I did some research and then a focus group met at Whitworth to talk about it,” Anderson said.
The goal of the focus group was to create a program that gave students the opportunity to gain a combination of quantitative and qualitative skills that are needed in the public sector.
“This degree is designed for public sector such as government or non-governmental organizations,” Anderson said.
The program brochure says that the program is a perfect fit for those who work in the public sector or who may be interested in how government works.
“It is designed for students to get a job in the government as an administrator for example,” Anderson said.
The government is an important employer in Spokane and this sector is second in total jobs concerning health and social assistance, according to the Spokesman-Review.
The degree is available at two other universities, Rutgers University and Arizona State University. According to the ASU website, the program is designed to create strong leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors through comprehensive coverage of topics in public policy, public leadership and management and urban studies. The group of focus at Whitworth took this idea to create their new degree.
The School of Continuing Studies wanted the degree to be unique but also wanted it to mirror the goals of the two other universities: to prepare students for a career in the public sector, and to seek positions that are administrative rather than service delivery.
Students will have full opportunity to participate in this new program, as it will be permanent.
“Faculty approved it on Monday so yes, it will be permanent and it’s good because students have been very interested in it,” Anderson said.
Contact Elodie Potier-Roudil at