Do Students with Experience Know That Much More? Assessing In-Service and Pre-Service Differences in Public Administration Students

Meagan Van Gelder, George W. Dougherty
2012 Journal of Public Affairs Education  
This paper explores how public administration pre-service and in-service students solve problems using a park planning exercise. With Mark Moore's framework from Creating Public Value, we used the interpretive approach and analyzed respondents' solutions through the operational, substantive, and political contexts. We find that in-service students approach the problem differently than pre-service students by drawing upon known protocols and providing richer and more flexible approaches. These
more » ... approaches. These findings support the special treatment of in-service students allowed under the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration's 2009 Standards suggesting this special treatment is appropriate for in-service experiencebased experts. Furthermore, we recommend that instructors emphasize the "publicness" of work in the public sector through increased use of case studies and experiential learning techniques for pre-service students. Graduate degree programs in public administration (MPA) and public management (MPPM) often enroll students who bring with them a wide range of experience and knowledge. For example, students may be "pre-service," meaning they have little work experience in the public sector and may have recently completed their undergraduate degrees. In contrast, other students JPAE 18(2), 349-374
doi:10.1080/15236803.2012.12001688 fatcat:vxjkmhtyjvbq3cj7i6gkwe673a