The MPAA is designed to provide students with intensive instruction on public affairs. To this end, Academy topics include:

  • The social contract
  • Social issues in American society (Focus issue: poverty)
  • Global issues (Focus issue: International humanitarian relief and social entrepreneurship)
  • The role of media and public opinion
  • Leadership skills
  • Community partnerships
  • Developing a personal commitment to civic engagement

The Academy curriculum is taught through a variety of highly interactive methods. Guest speakers from the Missouri government, media, not-for-profit organizations and the Missouri State University faculty meet with participants and engage them in dialogue.

Sample Curriculum

The theme of each year's Academy follows Missouri State University's public affairs theme for the year.  The curriculum and activities will focus around this theme. In addition, students will plan, publicize and implement a service project to reinforce the theme's concepts.    

Academy public affairs themes:

2022   From Words to Deeds: Creating Collaborative Communities

2021    Bridging the Divide

2020   The Power of Voice

2019    Unity in Community

2018    Sustainability in Practice:  Consensus and Consequences

2017     Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Perspectives on Self-Government

2016     Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind, Spirit

2015     The Ethical Citizen: Can You Make A Difference?  

Sample Academy Itinerary
Date Unit Description
Days 1 and 2

The Social Contract


The Social Contract Project is designed to provide participants with ownership in the MPAA experience. Mirroring the social contract upon which modern democracies are established, participants will formulate their own social contract for the MPAA.
Days 1 and 2 Addressing Poverty Participants will consider how to work "For the Greater Good" by exploring issues surrounding poverty in the American society.
Days 3 and 4 Community Engagement This day will continue the exploration of issues surrounding poverty in American society and will culminate with service projects benefitting local agencies like Ronald McDonald House Charities in the evening.
Days 3 and 4 A Sustainable Environment — Issues and Opportunities Students will explore environmental issues of water quality and locally sourced food, and will have the opportunity to participate in a service project at a neighborhood garden. Participants will engage in hands-on activities to begin planning their own personal "For the Greater Good" project.
Days 3 and 4 International Humanitarian Relief This day’s activities will focus on issues surrounding international humanitarian relief. Guest speakers will lead students in learning and discussion as they consider the complexities of sustainable relief efforts.
Days 3 and 4 Citizen of the World—Participating at Home and Abroad The focus of this day of the Academy will be on the importance of civic engagement and how citizens can influence issues both at home and abroad. Projects and speakers will emphasize citizen activism. This day will include time to work on students’ "For the Greater Good" projects as well as a service project.
Day 4 Commissioning Ceremony—Personal Commitment to Civic Engagement Student will finalize and present their "For the Greater Good" projects. Sessions on leadership skills and goal setting will be presented. Students will participate in the Commissioning Ceremony at the conclusion to the Academy.