Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of the Missouri Public Affairs Academy?

The MPAA brings together talented and aspiring high school juniors and seniors from throughout the state to develop their understanding of public affairs: civic engagement through government and the private sector. It is a great opportunity to benefit from a talented and accomplished group of political and community leaders in the state. The Academy combines presentations by guest speakers with hands-on projects, field trips and service projects. The MPAA has three main goals:

  • To help students understand their role as citizens working “for the greater good”
  • To provide a forum for discussion with distinguished speakers including community leaders, government officials, the media, and university faculty
  • To provide students with the leadership skills necessary to become actively involved in their communities

When and where does the Academy convene?

The dates for the 2019 Academy are Saturday, July 13 - Saturday, July 20. The Academy convenes on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

How are students selected?

The Academy is open to Missouri residents who are current high school juniors during the 2018-19 academic year and who meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Must be able to attend the entire Academy dates

Students who meet these requirements are invited to submit the 2019 Application. With the application, students are required to submit the following:

  • A letter of recommendation from a school counselor, teacher or administrator
  • Two personal essays (3-5 typed paragraphs, double-spaced). One essay explaining their interest in public affairs and why they would like to attend, and the second regarding their collaborative experience(s) in working with others. See Applicaiton for full essay details.

The application postmark deadline is March 1, 2019. Applications may be submitted earlier than the deadline. Students will be notified no later than April 2, 2019 regarding their acceptance to the Academy.

What is the curriculum for the Academy?

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)
  • Environmental issues
  • Global issues (Focus issue: Humanitarian Relief and Social Entrepreneurship)
  • 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 Missouri government, the media, and political parties will meet with participants to engage in dialogue. A field trip to Jefferson City will include tours of major government buildings along with sessions with representatives from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government. The Academy theme of personal community involvement will be carried out as students plan, publicize, and implement a service project.

What is the cost to students?

A non-refundable $50 registration fee is due after students have been accepted to the Academy. All other funding, including room, board, and all Academy activities are provided for each attendee by Missouri State University. Travel to and from the Academy is not provided.

Based on need, a request to waive the $50 non-refundable registration fee may be submitted by school personnel, on behalf of the applicant, no later than May 1, 2019.

What supervision is offered for participants?

The MPAA staff consists of the Director, Assistant Director, and four Academy Counselors. The MPAA Director is Alex Johnson, who is also the full-time director of Community-Engaged Learning at Missouri State University. The four Academy Counselors (ACs) will be named in the spring. The ACs will be adult staff members who will supervise Academy participants 24 hours a day: through all classes, recreational activities, field trips, and in the residence halls over night.

What extracurricular and recreational activities are available during the Academy?

Extracurricular activities are an important part of the Missouri Public Affairs Academy. A full schedule of activities is offered during afternoons, evenings, and weekends to enhance the Academy experience. Each night a movie is shown in the residence hall before lights out. In addition, informal recreational times will be scheduled when participants may utilize a variety of MSU facilities.

Do students have unscheduled time?

Students have limited unscheduled time. The eight-day Academy boasts a full schedule of curricular and extracurricular activities.

Are participants allowed to leave the Academy or have visitors?

The Missouri Public Affairs Academy program is concentrated and intensive. Classes and enrichment activities are scheduled from morning through late evening for all eight days of the Academy, including weekends. Participants must be able to check-in by 1 pm on Saturday, July 13th at the beginning of the program, remain in residence for the duration, and will be dismissed by 12:30 pm on Saturday, July 20th, after the Commissioning Ceremony.

Departures from the Academy, as well as visitors, are not allowed as they may be disruptive and may compromise the safety and security of Academy participants. Participants are not excused to attend personal or family events, except in the case of extreme emergency, and only then with prior permission from the Director. It is impossible to accommodate requests for late arrivals or early departures, or for leaves of absence, without jeopardizing the quality of both curricular and extracurricular programs and the security of students. Students who are not able to attend all eight days of the Academy will not be accepted.

Are participants allowed to bring vehicles?

The private use of automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, and other kinds of vehicles is prohibited. Students who drive themselves to the MSU campus will be asked to surrender their car keys upon arrival and will receive them back at the Commission Ceremony. Noncompliance with this rule will result in expulsion from the Academy.

What health services are available during the Academy?

Missouri State University health services are available to Academy students, if needed. The Magers Health and Wellness Center, located on the Missouri State campus, will bill the student’s family for such services. Any charges from physicians, hospitals or pharmacies are the family’s responsibility. Contact information for university health providers is detailed in mailings to families of students who are admitted to the Academy. A medical release form is required for all participants. If a student has special health or dietary needs and/or medication requirements, Academy staff must be notified prior to the start of the Academy.

What can students expect from residence hall life?

Academy participants live one of MSU's residence halls within easy walking distance of all Academy sessions. Academy participants are assigned by gender to 6-person suites, with three 2-person rooms, a restroom, and a common living area. Each student shares a room with another Academy participant. Academy staff makes room assignments. Each student is issued a key to his/her room. Five staff members provide supervision of the residence hall. In addition, regular university security procedures ensure a safe environment for participants.

A coin-operated laundry and vending machines are available in the residence hall. The university supplies fresh bed sheets, pillow cases, and towels on designated days. A blanket and pillow for each bed is provided. Students are expected to keep their rooms in reasonable order. Room inspections are conducted periodically. Cooking is not allowed in the room, but small amounts of food may be kept in closed containers. There is a small refrigerator and microwave in student living quarters. Academy students are served three meals each day. Students may want to bring non-perishable snacks and/or small amounts of money for snacks. Dining hall and multiple menu selections will be available for most meals.

The Academy provides an identification badge for each student. The identification badge is required for meals, for using the university library, and for participating in other campus activities. Students are advised to bring one additional form of identification.

What personal items should students plan to bring?

Students should bring personal clothing to include casual dress (jeans or modest shorts are acceptable) for daily activities; a jacket/sweatshirt/sweater; swim wear and towel; at least one pair of closed-toed shoes; rain gear; nightwear; personal items; at least one set of dress clothes.

Each student will receive an Academy t-shirt.

Useful personal items might include:

  • laundry bag and detergent
  • shampoo and soap
  • postage stamps
  • radio
  • alarm clock
  • clothes hangars
  • hair dryer
  • extension cord
  • small personal sports equipment
  • camera, etc.

Academy students are NOT allowed to bring TVs, roller blades, or personal computers. Students will have access to computers each day in MSU computer labs.

Students may bring cellular phones to the Academy, but their use is firmly restricted during all curricular sessions. Cellular phones are NOT permitted in regular Academy sessions or curricular events where their use could disturb others. Details about the specific expectations regarding cellular phone use will be provided in the MPAA Student Handbook, and will be reviewed in house meetings.

Basic classroom needs such as pencils, paper, notebooks, etc., will be provided by the Academy.

The residence hall is air conditioned, but the Academy staff has no access to temperature control. Students are advised to bring an extra blanket.

What is appropriate dress for the Academy?

The Missouri Public Affairs Academy offers a quality learning environment. Student appearance is an important aspect of this environment. Casual dress is appropriate for most Academy activities, however, students are expected to dress tastefully. Students wearing inappropriate clothing will be asked to change. Professional-style dress clothes are required for a day-long trip to Jefferson City where students will meet with state elected officials including a member of the Missouri Supreme Court, a Congressman/woman, and a member of the Governor’s staff.

What unacceptable behaviors will result in immediate expulsion?

  • Possession or use of illegal drug, alcoholic beverages, or tobacco products
  • Possession or use of firearms, other weapons, or fireworks
  • Destruction or theft of property
  • Breaking any state or federal law
  • Use of motor vehicles
  • Leaving residence hall after lights out
  • Breaking Academy rules and regulation
  • Refusal to comply with Academy staff
  • Behavior that might place students at risk

A complete list of rules and expectations is provided in the MPAA Student Handbook.