Education for Public Administration: Graduate Preparation in the Social Sciences at American Universities

By George A. Graham | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9 THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

TRAINING for public administration was a major activity of the Institute of Local and State Government in the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. An attempt was made to prepare people for work in state and local governments, especially in Pennsylvania. Training was given on both the undergraduate and the postgraduate levels, although the latter was emphasized; and students were selected with their fitness in mind. The postgraduate program leading to the degree of Master of Business Administration covered a twelve-month period. The program consisted of a combination of formal courses and part-time work in local governments during the academic year and full-time work during the following summer including study of a government problem leading to a master's thesis.1 Students were given financial assistance during training and an attempt was made to aid them to find positions in Pennsylvania local governments after finishing their formal training.


Purpose and Philosophy of Training

Three features of the training program were clear: concentration on Pennsylvania government, emphasis upon field work, and utilization of existing courses of instruction except when it was thought necessary to emphasize differences between government and business administration and to give a realistic view of government.

The institute's training program was directed almost exclusively toward Pennsylvania state and local government. The course of study was laid out with that end in view. The subject matter was drawn from that field. Field work was done exclusively in local governments, and students were not only encouraged to seek employment in the state and local service but were even discouraged from looking toward the federal service. They were taught to be "realistic" about their opportunities and were warned not "to aim too high."2

At the same time it should be recognized that the university and the Wharton School were engaged in training persons in the federal

____________________
1
Stephen B. Sweeney, "The University's New Service to Government", reprint from The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, XLII, 8.
2
The concentration upon local and state government was in accord with the intent of the donor who provided funds in 1937 to finance the training program for six years.

-245-

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