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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Defense Worker Degree Path

The University of Dayton has launched a partnership with the Defense Acquisition University to help increase accessibility of a University of Dayton graduate degree for the defense acquisition workforce.

The new partnership allows U.S. Department of Defense workers taking graduate courses at the Defense Acquisition Midwest Region campus in Kettering to transfer some of those courses into the University of Dayton’s Master of Public Administration program, giving them credit toward up to nearly a third of their MPA degree requirements.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base acquisition employees and other defense acquisition workers can complete their MPA degree in a shorter period of time and at up to 30 percent less cost, said Paul Vanderburgh, University of Dayton associate provost for graduate academic affairs.

"UD wins by attracting excellent students in the acquisitions field who have committed to careers in government service," Vanderburgh said. "Their experiences and perspectives will be a welcome addition to the MPA program."

The MPA program is housed in the College of Arts and Science’s department of political science. The program serves students currently employed or seeking employment in the public and nonprofit sectors. The University of Dayton has offered a MPA degree since 1967.

Defense Acquisition University was authorized by Congress under the Defense Acquisition Improvement Act of 1990 and established by the U.S. Department of Defense in October 1991.

DAU provides certification training in more than 13 technical fields at no cost to military and defense personnel. The institution doesn’t grant academic degrees.

The DAU campus in Kettering serves about 22,500 defense acquisition professionals across 13 Midwest states, said Carl Hayden, associate dean of academics for DAU Midwest Region.

The campus is located near several of the Midwest’s largest acquisition organizations, include the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patt and the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, Michigan.

DAU Midwest Region has more than 32 strategic partnerships with universities and colleges, government agencies, professional organizations and industry. While each partnership is different, the goal is to maximize the academic accomplishments of defense acquisition workforce students.

"In most cases, students may apply credit for DAU courses toward a graduate, undergraduate or certificate program offered by a strategic partner," Hayden said.

Upon acceptance into the MPA program, DAU students may transfer between three and 12 semester hours of graduate credit into the program as elective credits. DAU courses in contracting, logistics, engineering, production and quality, information technology and program management are eligible for transfer.

University of Dayton MPA students who aren’t defense acquisition workers can’t take courses at DAU because those courses are funded by federal tax dollars.

The MPA degree consists of 39 semester hours, so DAU students can complete almost a third of the program at no cost, said Michelle Pautz, associate professor of political science and director of the MPA program.

"We are continuing to serve the public sector in this region," Pautz said. "One of the ways we can help and serve is making sure there are educational opportunities for our federal civil servants."

Pautz said MPA program tuition is lower than that for other University of Dayton graduate programs because public sector workers may not command the same salaries or have the same employer tuition benefits as private sector workers.

While the MPA program is the first to welcome DAU students, the agreement provides a template for other University of Dayton graduate programs to follow.

"There is hope that other graduate programs on this campus will decide they want to do this, as well," Pautz said.

Locally, DAU also has strategic partnerships with Sinclair Community College, Wright State University, Central State University and Wilberforce University.

– Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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