Truman School and City of Columbia Create Student Opportunity

The Truman School of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, in collaboration with the City of Columbia, announces a new assistantship program designed to provide students with hands-on experience in local government starting in fall of 2024.  Through this opportunity MPA students will use their skills in public policy and public administration to help the Mayor and City Council improve policy and governance. Lael Keiser, Professor and Director of the Truman School, remarked, “We have been seeking improved methods to train and expose our MPA students to professional opportunities, and this partnership is a clear step in that direction.”

Barbara Buffaloe, Mayor of Columbia, sees this initiative as advantageous for the city, the school, and the students. Buffaloe stated, “The graduate assistantship program will enable students to gain experience that sets them apart as they enter the workforce. They can refine their skills, and our community will reap the benefits.”

The assistantship structure fosters greater collaboration and engagement between the City of Columbia and the Truman School. Kathleen Miller, Director of the MPA program, emphasized, “It’s more than an internship; there are higher levels of engagement and accountability. Students get to tackle current city challenges while drawing on faculty expertise for problem-solving across various topics.”

The scope of work for the assistantship will be collaboratively developed each year between the school and the city. Tasks may include policy research, public relations work for the mayor and council, managing undergraduate internships, policy analysis, assist with city planning, and other assigned responsibilities.

Columbia City Manager De’Carlon Seewood is enthusiastic about preparing students for the evolving landscape of local government. He stated, “As the climate around working in local government changes, programs like this will ensure the next generations are prepared to serve the communities they call home.”