Gender competency in public administration education

Sex and gender are evolving identity categories with emergent public policy and administration needs. To respond to the diverse landscape of sex and gender issues in the public sector, greater competency is needed. This research will contribute to the body of work on sex and gender in public administration by asking the following questions: (a) what do graduate students in Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs know about gender competency, (b) have graduate students learned gender competency in their MPA coursework, and (c) how can gender competency in MPA education be further developed and promoted? This study provides a critical analysis of one MPA program, at John Jay College, City University of New York, to begin this line of research. Our e-survey results of a non-random sample of John Jay MPA students demonstrate that many students do not learn about gender competency through their MPA education and that gender competency skills otherwise obtained are limited. To address this, we emphasize the need for incorporating gender competency into MPA education as the first step in equipping future practitioners with skills to promote gender competency in public policy, administrative decision making, and workplace culture. We provide practical means of achieving greater gender competency in MPA curricula and programming and articulate the importance of expanding this research to other MPA programs, MPA faculty and directors, and geographic regions.