IPS Partners With Campuses To Offer Academic Credit

Category: Features

By Susan Robertson

a group of people participating in an interactive activity

When it comes to the University of Tennessee System value of being united and connected, the Institute for Public Service’s (IPS) outreach model is a perfect example. In fiscal year 2021, the institute’s six agencies answered 69,530 requests for assistance, trained 31,352 state and local officials, law enforcement officers and business leaders. It also had a customer-reported economic impact of more than $1.2 billion.

IPS agencies’ mission is to provide technical consulting and training for cities and counties, state officials, law enforcement personnel and business and industry employees. However, its statewide collaborations do not stop there. Several IPS agencies have partnered with UT campuses to offer credit to officials who participate in some of its training courses.

The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) places students in the UT Knoxville Master’s of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) as interns with cities across the state. A summer intern who is working 40 hours a week with a city or town can earn six credit hours through UTK’s MPPA program. MTAS consultants also serve as guest lecturers for two of the UTK MPPA courses, including a financial course. Students in the financial course are eligible to take Certified Municipal Finance Officer (CMFO) tests and become certified. CMFO is a collaboration between MTAS and the Tennessee Comptroller’s office.

National Forensic Academy stidents at UT Martin

The Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) partners with UT Martin to host the Collegiate National Forensic Academy each summer. Undergraduate students, many of them criminal justice majors, from UT Martin and other universities spend three weeks in Oak Ridge participating in an abbreviated version of the center’s renowned 10-week National Forensic Academy.

“We fought for two years to get this thing going. We were told it wouldn’t work because UT Martin is academic and IPS is not,” said UT Martin Professor of Criminal Justice Brian Donavant, who founded the program along with former LEIC Executive Director Don Green. “Seeing it succeed has been phenomenal.”

The Master of Public Administration program at UT Chattanooga has agreements with both the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership and the Center for Industrial Services to offer credit toward the MPA degree. MPA students who complete the Naifeh Center’s Certified Public Manager program or the Center for Industrial Services’ Tennessee Certified Economic Developer program may apply for six academic credits to count toward the generalist track’s 12-credit elective requirement. The MPA students must complete all of the courses that are a part of each program as well as a capstone project for each.