Anthony Molina: Online MPA Coordinator

Faculty spotlight: Anthony Molina

Anthony Molina comes from a public service background. His father was a Cleveland police officer, and his mother was a nurse. After graduating from high school, he went into the Air Force and got a taste for public service.

“I got into public administration because I’m attracted to public service,” Molina says. “I grew up in a family where public service was highly valued.”

Molina is the coordinator of the Master of Public Administration program at Kent State. He also teaches several courses in the program as an assistant professor.

Molina says Kent State’s MPA program is different from others because it’s geared toward nontraditional students who may already have careers in public service.

“I think what makes the Kent State MPA program unique is its focus on serving public service professionals,” Molina says. “Our program is directed towards mid-career, nontraditional students, people who are already working full-time in a public organization or in a nonprofit organization.”

To accommodate those nontraditional students, the program is designed so that students take one seven-week class at a time. Molina says the courses are designed in an “asynchronous” fashion, meaning that there’s not a set time students have to be logged on to take the course.

Molina says the MPA faculty come from a variety of backgrounds and each brings their unique experience to the classroom.

“I was a practicing public administrator for many years before I switched over to faculty, and so, I know that when you have those personal experiences of leading and managing public organizations that can help to situate the academic material in a context that makes sense to people who are working in the same kind of setting,” Molina says.

Molina notes that another unique aspect of the program is its focus on the nonprofit sector.

“A focus on the non-profit sector is important for anybody that’s going to be working in public service, whether or not they’re in a nonprofit organization or they’re in a public organization.  The way government operates today is largely through partnerships and collaborative relationships with people in the nonprofit world.  This ties into a set of what are called ‘universal competencies’ that the [Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration] has identified as being important for leading and managing public organizations,” Molina says. “Even for those people who won’t necessarily find themselves working in a nonprofit organization, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how nonprofit organizations operate, and what sort of things drive nonprofit organizations.”

Molina says he hopes students in the MPA program come away from it with a sense of pride in being a public administrator.

“Public administrators are the people that are living in their neighborhood, they’re the people that are working hard every day to help improve quality of life for our communities and for our country as a whole,” he says. “This is very important work, and so, what I hope students leave our program with is a sense of pride in the profession and a sense of what it means to have a public service perspective, and to be able to communicate that effectively to their fellow citizens.”