Buffalo City Hall

Advanced Certificate in Public Management Approved

Buffalo State added a new graduate-level advanced certificate in public management in July. The interdisciplinary program is designed to provide skills for administrative and leadership positions in government and not-for-profit sectors and is the first of its kind in the Buffalo area.

Graduate students must complete 15 credit hours to earn the certificate. Three courses are required: PSC 500: Public Administration; ECO 650: Public Finance; and EDF/BUS/PSY 715: Management Practices and Techniques. The other two courses may be chosen from a list of electives that includes topics such as leadership, human resources, creative problem solving, communication, and economics.

The new program provides a service and fills a community need, said Kevin Railey, interim provost.

“Many people in government in Western New York don’t have this background,” he said. “It makes sense for Buffalo State to offer this applied program. It’s another way for us to help the region and partner with the community.”

The certificate program will be housed in the Political Science Department under the direction of professor Keith Henderson. He and Laurie Buonanno, department chair and professor, worked together during the past few years to develop the curriculum from existing classes across several academic departments.

According to Henderson, students with the certificate will find it useful for management careers in the fields of public relations, human services, finance and accounting, not-for-profit organizations, and government departments at the city, county, state, and federal levels. He said Buffalo State’s program will focus on Western New York issues and that the nearest institution with a degree program is SUNY Brockport.

“This region is one of the few urban areas in the country not served by a master’s or certificate program in public management,” Henderson said. “It’s working elsewhere and has value.”

Henderson is confident that the program will draw new graduate students as well as graduating students at Buffalo State who are enrolled in a similar public administration minor. He believes the timing is right to offer the certificate.

“We’re in a changing political climate,” he said. “With the increasing federal oversight of industries and new positions created by bureaucracy, the government needs people with skills who can help get the work done. The advanced certificate gives students the skills to function effectively as administrators and managers.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, ’83, has offered his support of the program. The city developed a memorandum of understanding with Buffalo State to enroll city workers in classes and subsidize tuition. Currently, three city officials are taking classes. Henderson taught a section of PSC 500 last fall in the mayor’s conference room at City Hall.

Railey hopes the advanced certificate will serve as the basis for a new master’s program in public administration. Lawrence Flood, professor of political science and former dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences, recently spent part of a sabbatical developing the groundwork for such a program, which would require a few new course offerings and professors. The Political Science Department hopes to submit a proposal for the master’s degree to the College Senate by the end of 2009.