I am in the middle of my final semester of graduate school. At SPEA this is marked by a unique rite of passage – the capstone course. Each MPA student is required to take a capstone course to graduate. This course is meant to be a final culmination of the skills we have learned in our time at SPEA.
A project with the Governor of Indiana
My capstone course is with Professor Leslie Lenkowsky. We have all been assigned to a project with the Governor’s office. This projected simulates a “real-life” work environment and project. We work in teams of five on a specific policy analysis project. My group is working on assessing Indiana’s regional economic growth strategies. Since this is a rather large topic, we narrowed the focus by selecting one region of the state. We feel this will enable us to provide a more useful and detailed report.
What we are doing
Thus far, we have completed our work plan. This document describes the problem we are looking at, how we intend to gather information and data about this problem and what tools we intend to use to develop a solution. After we completed this initial phase of the project we began data collection. Primarily this has involved a series of meetings with stakeholders in the policy development in Indianapolis and Columbus. In addition, we are reviewing current economic development literature and an analysis of best practices in regional development.
After we have collected a sufficient amount of data and information we will proceed with both qualitative and quantitative analysis to develop our strategic recommendations – which is probably too boring to discuss in a blog 🙂 Feel free to comment if you are wondering about the details of our analysis.
The capstone has been my favorite course so far at SPEA because it really ties all the knowledge, skills and abilities that we have developed over the last year and a half into a hands-on, practical experience. It’s an opportunity for us to realize how far we have come and how much we have learned since we started our masters degree program. And it is a great selling point to talk about in our job interviews!