What is Public Affairs?

Community Engagement | Cultural Competence | Ethical Leadership

The public affairs mission...a noble cause, a call to action.

The public affairs mission defines a primary way in which an education at Missouri State University is different from that of other universities.

Public affairs is primarily a perspective and, therefore, is intended to be pervasive in the experience of students. It is about cultivating civic virtues and strengthening the bonds that unite people. Campus members work to create a learning environment where:

  • citizenship obligations are explored and encouraged,
  • the capacity and the commitment to think about the public implications of private behavior is cultivated, and
  • the capacity to recognize and reflect on public issues is nurtured.
This is accomplished by focusing on three broad pillars:
  • ethical leadership
  • cultural competence
  • community engagement

The public affairs mission remains a "live question" with many perspectives and limitless possibilities.

Ethical leadership

"The process of volunteering changes you. Instead of focusing on the prize, you're focused on humanity, on helping others when they need it the most."

Ethical leadership is striving for excellence and integrity as one continually develops ethical and moral reasoning while contributing to the common good. Ethical leaders have the courage to live by their principles in all parts of their personal and professional lives.

Cultural competence

"Due to the many opportunities to participate in service learning and volunteer hours within the Dietetics Program, I have been given the opportunity to grow and mature in ways I never knew were possible."

Cultural competence begins with cultural self-awareness and expands to knowledge of, respect for and skills to engage with those of other cultures. Culturally competent individuals respect multiple perspectives and are able to successfully negotiate cross-cultural differences.

Community engagement

"I learned a lot about my civic identity and the part I need to be doing in the community. It is my duty as a citizen to give back the community."

Community engagement is recognizing needs in the communities to which one belongs, then contributing knowledge and working with the community to meet those needs. Community engagement requires reaching beyond one's self for the betterment of the community – a process that fosters greater awareness and personal growth.