Master of Public Service Administration (MPSA) Capstones
During their second year, MPSA students participate in two semesters of capstone research courses. These courses allow students to tackle a problem or project in the real world, often working in conjunction with a government agency or nonprofit organization. Designed to test the knowledge and abilities students have developed through their previous classes and experiences, capstones necessitate strong teamwork, careful research, writing ability, and often a large amount of ingenuity in identifying ways to approach an issue or find a solution.
Envisioning a Bright Future for New Braunfels Children: A Community-Based Approach to School ReadinessFanomezantsoa, Herilala; Hopkins, Elizabeth; Tooley, Kathryn (May 20, 2015)[more][less]
Abstract: This report provides an overview of a qualitative, participatory study conducted by a capstone team from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. The McKenna Foundation of New Braunfels, Texas enlisted the help of this capstone team in August 2014 to help ascertain how best to support the approximately 5,000 children under the age of 5 in New Braunfels, Texas (United States Census Bureau, 2010), many of whom are not adequately prepared to enter kindergarten. The Morrison Consulting Capstone Group (MCCG) mission was to provide the McKenna Foundation with informed recommendations regarding school readiness, so that they could effectively serve and advance the well-being of the New Braunfels community.
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Social Service Availability & Proximity And The Over-Representation Of Minority Children in Child WelfareBathman, Jake; Foster, David; Ingels, Laura; Lee, Chongmyoung; Miramontes, Claudia; Youngblood, Jo ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: The capstone group assessed whether child welfare services were available and proximal in predominantly low income, black areas with high foster care rates in three southern cities. GIS mapping of services contained in a State 211 community services database revealed that there were no treatment services and/or no public transportation and/or lengthy public transportation times in nearly 25% of the identified areas in the three cities combined. The authors suggest that increasing child welfare service availability and proximity could reduce the overrepresentation of black children in foster care by making services available and proximal to black parents. The authors recommend that child welfare administrators perform annual GIS analyses of State 211 community services databases to assess child welfare service availability. The authors offer a number of recommendations for increasing child welfare service availability and proximity in high foster care areas.
Files in this item: 1dorch_2010.pdf (837.8Kb)
An, Seung-Ho; Carchidi, Arielle; Johnson, Eric; Lester, Sean; Liversidge, Jeremy; Mathis, Lindsey; Vannerson, Andrew ( 2014)[more][less]
Medina, Gabriella; Leichtle, Stephanie; Garraway, Charlotte (May 20, 2015)[more][less]
Abstract: The project is an analysis of Dallas Challenge’s current image through a stakeholder assessment. Following the assessment, we will provide strategies and tactics that Dallas Challenge can incorporate in order to successfully complete the rebranding process. This project is important to our client because they want to remain a competitive service provider in the Dallas--‐Fort Worth area. They want their image to portray their services and mission more accurately so that they can better serve at--‐risk youth. By providing rebranding strategies, Dallas Challenge stakeholders will have a more concrete perception of the client’s identity and the scope of their program services.
Files in this item: 1Dallas Challenge Final Full Report.pdf (5.862Mb)
Aho, Andrea; Harris, Amanda; Kessel, Kendall; Park, Jongsoo; Park, Jong Taek; Rios, Lisa; Swendig, Brett ( 2010)[more][less]
Abstract: The stability of the nonprofit sector and its ability to meet our nation‘s needs in an era of unprecedented challenges requires a solid nonprofit infrastructure (Brown, et al., 2008). These organizations that comprise this infrastructure system work behind the scenes to provide nonprofit organizations with capacity-building support. However, little is known about the actual infrastructure system, especially at the state and local levels. In order to better understand this system, student researchers from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University were asked to replicate Dr. David O. Renz‘s 2008 study, ―The U.S. Nonprofit Infrastructure Mapped.‖ The Bush School study focused specifically on the nonprofit infrastructure structure in Texas by categorizing and mapping selected nonprofit organizations using the 11 roles and functions identified by Renz (2008). This report provides a literature review of nonprofit capacity building and organizational infrastructure. In addition, the data collection and classification using Renz‘s 11 roles and functions are detailed and mapping methodology is described. Finally, the researchers offer findings, questions to consider, and recommendations for further research. Findings from this study include: o Urban areas had the largest concentration of infrastructure organizations. Of the 389 nonprofit infrastructure organizations, the largest concentration of organizations was located near Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Several non-metropolitan regions in the state are lacking similar concentrations, even after consideration of the size of the nonprofit sector or general population in the respective regions. o Many organizations performed multiple roles and functions. In one case, one organization performed 10 functions. Many other organizations that were studied performed more than one of the 11 functions. o A large number of infrastructure organizations provide financial support to nonprofits. More than half of the organizations analyzed were categorized as Renz‘s Function Three-Financial Intermediaries because they facilitated the collection and distribution of financial resources to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, 40.4% of the organizations were categorized as Renz‘s Function Four-Funding Organizations because they provided financial resources to nonprofit operating organizations through the distribution of funds from asset pools that they own, manage, and allocate. Future research needs to be Page 4 conducted, however, to determine what proportion of funding is devoted to funding of the other nine Renz categories versus funding to nonprofits providing direct services. It would be useful to consider and respond to categories lacking in such funding, relative to the infrastructure needs of Texas nonprofits generally and also in particular regions of Texas or nonprofit subfields. o Some infrastructure functions were not as apparent. Researchers found that two of Renz‘s functions (Function One-Accountability and Regulation and Function Ten-Research) were performed by less than 5% of the organizations that were analyzed. Recommendations that emerged from this study were: o Regular updates of nonprofit information are important for future research. Nonprofit managers need to be educated about the importance of updating their organization‘s publicly available information. If their website or GuideStar reports are not current, researchers,practitioners, and other constituents cannot accurately analyze the organization. o Nonprofits need to clarify their roles using Renz’s 11 roles and function. Organizations with a mission to support the nonprofit sector should clarify their focus based on the definitions of capacity-building and infrastructure developed by Renz (2008). Do the organizations intend to support the entire nonprofit infrastructure in Texas or only support Function Nine-Capacity Development and Technical Assistance? o Strengthen associations of nonprofit infrastructure organizations throughout the Texas. This action will benefit nonprofit organizations through improved communication among infrastructure organizations, as well as economies of scale and scope. o Facilitate the creation of a network of representatives from each Council of Governments (COG). This organization can serve as a point of contact for matters about the nonprofit infrastructure of that COG.
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