Master of Infrastructure Planning and Management (MIPM) A Distance Learning Program Qing Shen Department of Urban Design and Planning University of Washington, Seattle [email protected] ACSP Administrators Conference, Columbus, 11/15/2013 I. Introduction to the MIPM Program II. What Makes the Program Viable? III. What Are the Challenges? I. Introduction to the MIPM Program II. What Makes the Program Viable? III. What Are the Challenges? The Predecessor: The MSPCI Program After 9/11, Professor Hilda Blanco led the effort to create the Master in Strategic Planning for Critical Infrastructure (MSPCI), an online program focusing on the protection of critical infrastructure 2004: First class Partnership agreement with the Washington National Guard did not materialize; enrollments fell 2008: Change in department/program leadership 2009: Graduate School review; program on hiatus Creation of the MIPM Program Autumn 2009: Review Committee recommended continuation of MSPCI after a strategic planning effort to improve it. Winter 2010: Department Chair and College Dean responded to Review Committee report, expressing the wish to revive the program; Chair appointed a strategic planning committee. Spring 2010: Department faculty voted to support strategic planning committee’s proposal for launching a new version of the program; A curriculum committee was formed. Autumn 2010: UW PCE conducted a questionnaire survey of demand; Graduate School and UW Board of Regents approved the revised and renamed MIPM program; MOA signed. Autumn 2011: MIPM program was launched with an enrollment of 30 students. The MIPM Program Mission and Curriculum An online master degree program that provides professionals with an understanding of infrastructure systems and core skills required to ensure resiliency of major infrastructures against both man-made and natural disasters (climate change, terrorism, etc.) The degree requires 45 quarterly credits (15 courses) and takes two years to complete on a part-time basis (2 courses per quarter). Teaching and learning is done via Internet. The MIPM Program Mission and Curriculum (continued) The curriculum consists of four sets of courses: 1. Four core courses introducing key concepts about infrastructure, systems thinking, sustainability, financial planning, and policy analysis. 2. Four methods courses—geospatial analysis, epidemiology, emergency management, and business continuity planning 3. Six systems courses (each student chooses five) on key infrastructure systems (energy, water, transportation, communications, and more) 4. Two capstone courses aimed at synthesizing and applying knowledge to a real-world project The MIPM Program Faculty MIPM faculty consists of over a dozen experts in diverse fields, including planning and policy analysis, infrastructure finance, public health, emergency management, transportation and communications systems, and cybersecurity. They are from 5 colleges at the University of Washington. The MIPM Program Students The program is designed for mid-career professionals; virtually all students work full-time. The program attracts public-sector planners, private company employees, as well as military personnel and veterans. About 75% of students are from the Pacific Northwest; there are a few international students. The program currently has about 40 students. The MIPM Program Students (continued) In June 2013, first class of 21 students graduated. Examples of capstone projects: • Cloud Computing Considerations for Municipalities • Formulation of Research Continuity Best Practices • Virtual Planning for Disasters (focusing on medical information management needs at hospitals) • Incorporating Resiliency along the Seattle-Everett Rail Corridor Graduation ceremony with capstone presentations by the students: Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wq741iHAe0&feature=youtu.be Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU49mEs893Y&feature=youtu.be I. Introduction to the MIPM Program II. What Makes the Program Viable? III. What Are the Challenges? Demand There is a real demand for the program (because of its content and its flexible schedule). It is not an online duplication of our MUP program; rather, it captures a niche market. (In some ways it is complementary with our existing programs, e.g. MUP students are allowed to take MIPM classes, and additional faculty can be supported.) Faculty Resource and Curriculum There are qualified faculty who can meet the demand by designing and delivering a multi-disciplinary curriculum. In this case a large public research university shows its comparative advantages, because the program faculty are from many colleges and departments. By filling a significant gap in pre-existing education offerings, the program adds value to students and society. Institutional Support and Leadership There is institutional capacity for making financial investment and managing financial risks. e.g. PCE covered the initial costs of developing the program and courses, and absorbed the financial loss of the sunset program. There is institutional capacity for market research, program management, and technical support, so that the program can take full advantage of distance learning while minimizing its disadvantage. Relevant administrators and faculty are committed and devoted. Incentives Schools and departments retain any net revenue after expenses are covered. In the case of MIPM, the Department achieved a modest net revenue after two years. The funds are used for faculty conference attendance and student financial support. Faculty are adequately compensated, or given an equivalent relief from their regular teaching load, for teaching MIPM classes. I. Introduction to the MIPM Program II. What Makes the Program Viable? III. What Are the Challenges? Remaining Challenges Declining applications: Number of applicants decreased from over 50 to fewer than 30; enrollment dropped from 30 to 17. Impact on faculty workload: MIPM program (initially) draws from existing faculty for teaching and student advising. Weak social network and academic community for students in MIPM program because it is a distance learning program? Department’s Responses Greater efforts in recruiting students, such as marketing, involving advisory board members in distributing program information, and exploring partnerships with relevant government agencies. Developing specialization tracks to expand the market, while generating economies of scale for the existing core and methods courses. Improving coordination and faculty resource allocation among programs in the Department. Encouraging MIPM students, especially those living in Seattle metropolitan area, to participate in Department activities. I. Introduction to the MIPM Program II. What Makes the Program Viable? III. What Are the Challenges? Thanks! Questions?