News from the Bush School

Bush School Graduates Record Number of Executive Master of Public Service and Administration Students

December 13, 2019

Dean Welsh with the 2019 fall graduating class
Dean Welsh with the 2019 fall graduating class

Twenty-two Bush School executive students received their Master of Public Service and Administration degree from Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.  Some ninety-three students are in the Executive Master of Public Service and Administration (EMPSA) program, which began in 2016.  The graduates of the EMPSA hail from a broad range of professions, including city government, emergency management, federal government, industry, and the military.

The online program offers full-time professionals the opportunity to pursue a degree that will develop advanced skills in public service leadership and decision making as well as critical investigative and evaluative methods.  In addition to the online coursework, students attend two intense one-week academic sessions on the University campus, where they also discover Aggie traditions and make long-standing friendships.

The fall graduation speaker for the 2019 class is Thomas Pledger, a member of the United States Army.  Pledger currently serves as the Executive Officer for the Director of the Army National Guard Staff. Having earlier completed a Certificate in Advanced International Affairs at the School, Pledger says he chose the EMPSA program because of its focus on public service. He noted that for professionals with full-time careers, the flexibility that the EMPSA program allows, along with the understanding and respect the staff and instructors have for students’ careers, was a benefit of the program.  Pledger also said the ability to support arguments and conclusions with data to back them up was one of the most crucial lessons he learned as an EMPSA student.

In addition to the executive degree recipients, six Bush School students received Master of International Affairs (MIA) degrees, and one received a Master of International Policy (MIP).  The MIA program is an in-residence, non-thesis program designed to equip students interested in public service with the skills and knowledge critical for successful careers in government or nongovernmental organizations. The MIP degree is a non-thesis degree program offered fully in-residence on the Texas A&M campus and is focused on either national security and diplomacy or international development and economic policy.

“We are extremely proud of our graduating Bush School students, who now join other Bush School graduates who are already making a difference in this rapidly changing and very challenging world,” said Dean Mark Welsh.  “I know they will be remarkably successful!”