UAlbany student masters theory and practice of public administration
With an abiding interest in politics and government, Brian Cechnicki found UAlbany’s combined BA/MPA (Masters in Public Administration) program an ideal choice. Not only does the program tap the many advantages of the University’s location in New York’s capital city, Albany, but it also offers students an accelerated track to a master’s degree.” And in Cechnicki’s case, the lessons he’s learning in the classroom will soon prove helpful in his new role as an elected official.
The combined program allows students to finish a B.A. in political science and simultaneously work on a master's in public administration. Graduate courses taken during senior year count toward both the B.A. and the M.P.A. “It’s seamless,” says David McCaffrey, Distinguished Teaching Professor in Public Administration & Policy. “Students at the undergraduate level can begin to transition into their graduate program early on and that provides some real benefits for both degrees. It’s also great from a faculty standpoint to be able to see wonderful students like Brian, go all the way through the program
Since beginning the program, Cechnicki has been on the political fast-track outside the classroom as well. He had an interest in politics since high school when he served on the Governor’s Task Force on School Violence as one of two high school representatives on Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act.)
More recently, in addition to course work, he has been a legislative aide to New York Assemblyman Paul Tonko, for whom he handles constituent concerns and assists with legislative initiatives. This experience, coupled with the budgeting and policy analysis components of his degree, gave him the confidence to undertake a move into the local government arena. “I’ve always been interested in politics and public service, and have only grown more so over the years, especially as a result of my years here at UAlbany,” said Cechnicki.
Feeling that he could have a positive impact, Cechnicki decided to put his experience and commitment to the test, and ran for the office of Town Supervisor of Root, NY, (Montgomery County.) On November 4th he beat out the local incumbent with 30-years experience in town government. Cechnicki will serve a two year term while he finishes up his degree at UAlbany this coming spring. “It will be difficult to balance my schedule--between classes, work, and meetings, but I know my capabilities and I believe I can handle it.”