The foundation for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program was laid in 1973 with the formation of the Master of City Management (MCM) program in the Department of Political Science. Then Department Chair, Dr. Shirley Chapman, believed a market existed for professionally trained city administrators and managers. The program struggled in the early years with small enrollments and a series of directors and faculty members.
Dr. Lon Felker was hired in 1986 and worked diligently to keep the program operational. In 1988, Dr. Felker met with Dr. Mike Marchioni in hopes to bring urban planning elements into the MCM curriculum. They worked together to actively recruit more students and formed the Public and City Management Association of Graduate Students, PCMAGS.
By the early 1990's, a few former students with careers as leaders in local communities, were invited back to ETSU as adjunct instructors. Internships were being offered year round and not being limited to summer semesters. The required credit hours for the program was reduced to 32 from 48.
In 1995, the program was moved to the College of Business and Technology (CBAT). While in the Department of Economics, Finance and Urban Studies, Dr. Paul Trogan became a part of the MCM core faculty. In 1999, the program broadened to include the Master of Public Management, which soon became the Master of Public Administration. Public Financial Management and Planning and Development concentrations were added in 2002 and the Not-For-Profit concentration was created in 2005.
The MPA program left CBAT in 2007 and returned to the Department of Political Science. In 2008, political science faculty member, Dr. David Briley, was recruited as as the interim program director. In 2010, Dr. Marchioni became the MPA director until his retirement in December 2011. Once again, Dr. Briley is the current director of the MPA program.