Public Service attracts a special kind of individual and is often based on a sense of duty or an intense inner commitment to a cause that extends beyond the exigencies of the moment. These people are “public servants” – those individuals who achieve internal satisfaction by making a contribution to a society as opposed to a self-serving commitment to achieving personal goals. Those who enter public service do so out of a desire to serve the public interest and is a vocation that links them to the larger community.
Public Service embodies the ethical principles of the common good, service to others, and social equity. Public Service is important because the essential components of our society are largely carried out in the public sphere: public education, public health, justice and security, environmental protection, museums, business and administration, science and universities.
The Bachelor of Arts degree at Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) is an interdisciplinary degree designed to bring students to a deeper understanding of their roles as public servants, broadly defined: employees of government and not-for-profit organizations, elected officials, members of boards and communities at the local level, volunteers, and philanthropists, etc., in the context of civic engagement. The program provides students with the substantive knowledge, analytical skills, and perspectives needed to respond effectively and fairly to major contemporary social problems with a particular focus on urban issues that affect the community within which we live, work, and educate students at Rutgers University-Newark. It is not an undergraduate degree in public administration or public management. Rather, the curriculum is rooted in the concepts of civic engagement and the common good, and will help foster an understanding of the spirit of service already evident among many students, and suggests a broad array of career and professional pathways to public service.
Our faculty provides our students with the theoretical underpinnings for public service by focusing on these learning outcomes. Coursework enables students to: