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Creating Solutions: UT Tyler Provides Professional Development for City Leaders Through MPA Cohort Program

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September 18, 2013

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

September 18, 2013

The University of Texas at Tyler has created a program to provide graduate education to City of Tyler leaders, Dr. Martin Slann, College of Arts and Sciences dean, announced.

The new instructional format to bring the master of public administration degree to city leaders was created with a partnership between UT Tyler and the city last fall. UT Tyler launched the City of Tyler Cohort Program in spring 2013.

Under the plan, UT Tyler instructors travel to downtown Tyler to deliver courses to key leaders at the City of Tyler’s “City University” facilities on North Bonner Street. Courses are taught in the early evening so students can attend class where they work.

Dr. Kenneth A. Wink serves as coordinator of the MPA program at UT Tyler and was instrumental in the City of Tyler Cohort Program’s development.

“The city and the university have been wanting a program like this for some time. Eventually we were able to work out the details, using the city’s educational facilities in the downtown Tyler area,” said Wink, who also serves as the college’s associate dean. “City manager Mark McDaniel, who himself has an MPA degree, believes in the program because he knows it will enhance the professional development of his workforce and offer them opportunities for advancement.”

The program is indicative of UT Tyler’s efforts to be more innovative, as well as to achieve its mission to make life better for the citizens UT Tyler serves, Wink added.

“We think this cohort program will attract other City of Tyler employees, and perhaps employees in neighboring cities and counties, to UT Tyler. We also are excited knowing that our degree will aid these city leaders in their efforts to continue their careers in local government,” he said.

Current key leaders (department heads and managers who serve as city administrators) enrolled in the program are:

  • Carter Delleney, city engineer (manager of the division of engineering and building services)
  • Guillermo Garcia, manager for innovation and leader of lean six sigma
  • Susan Guthrie, assistant city manager
  • Greg Morgan, managing director of utilities and public works
  • Heather Nick, city planner
  • Stephanie Rollings, director of parks and recreation
  • Keidric Trimble, finance director
  • ReNissa Wade, managing director of administration

“There is something special about your own group of employees moving through this program while applying theoretical and academic knowledge to real life issues and challenges in our own community,” said McDaniel.

The master of public administration degree is the terminal degree most often chosen by executives and middle-level managers in the public and non-profit sectors.

For more information, contact Wink, 903.566.7434 or kwink@uttyler.edu.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 7,500 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

UT Tyler