The undergraduate major in public and nonprofit administration is an interdisciplinary degree designed to bring students to a deeper understanding of their roles as public servants, broadly defined as employees of government and not-for-profits, elected officials, members of boards and communities at the local level, volunteers, philanthropists, etc., in the context of civic engagement and administration. The program provides students with 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.
The curriculum is rooted in the concepts of civic engagement and the common good, fosters an understanding of the spirit of service already evident among many students, and suggests a broad array of professional careers and voluntary pathways to public and nonprofit administration.
Public and nonprofit administration 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 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 it is a vocation that links them to the larger community.
Public and nonprofit administration embodies the ethical principles of the common good, service to others, and social equity. It 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, and science and universities.
Rutgers-Newark and the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) are steeped in the tradition of making a first-class college education available to bright, motivated, and industrious students of all origins, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. SPAA provides students with more than academics: the public and nonprofit administration major was intentionally designed to provide practical, experiential, and hands-on experience through its service-learning component.