Cumberland University

Advising & Courses

Each student enrolled in the (MSP) degree program at Cumberland University is assigned an on-campus liaison who is a faculty member.  For (MSP) students, the Program Advisor will serve in this capacity.  This faculty member may be contacted by telephone/e-mail and will be available for scheduled on-campus appointments.  The purpose of this individual is to assist the enrollee in inter-facing with the institution, and to serve as the faculty advisor for the student.


Three (3) weeks prior to the beginning of each term, a student may obtain a Class Schedule (Timetable) from the Office of the University Registrar or from the (MSP) Program Advisor.  (MSP) students will be able to complete the pre-registration process with their advisor at a teaching location in Nashville-Davidson County.  Payment of tuition and fees may be done in person or on-line.


Course Descriptions

MSP 5000 - Human Development 3 SEM. HRS.
This course will present an overview of both human physical and psychological development with emphasis on how individuals are programmed as well as how behavior can be changed.  Emphasis will be placed on adult development.  The influence of culture, ethnic background, and environment on individuals and groups will be three (3) of the primary discussion areas.  Additional topics which will be explored are gender roles and the influence of family, peers, and the employment of the individual.

MSP 5010 - Contemporary Community Issues 3 SEM. HRS.
The course examines a number of contemporary community issues.  Practicing professionals who are civic and governmental leaders may be used as resource individuals in assisting the student to identify, analyze, confront, and solve a specific community problem.  Case studies, group presentations, in-class discussions, and structured research are designed to enhance the learning environment.  The role and use of power in problem solving by community and/or governmental leaders will be discussed.  A secondary goal of the course is for each student to develop an understanding of how he/she can become a community problem-solver.

MSP 5020 - Organizational Behavior 3 SEM. HRS.
The course focuses on the behavioral processes in organizations, motivation, leadership, decision making, communication, behavioral consequences, group behavior, informal organizational structures, politics, and change.  Theories dealing with interpersonal relationships and authority related to organizational behavior are also included in the course content.  Additionally, students examine the concept of situational leadership and its practical application in the work setting.

MSP 5030 - Leadership and Conflict Resolution 3 SEM. HRS.
The course features a hands-on approach to the development of a personal leadership and conflict management style.  Students are given an opportunity to explore major theories of leadership and of conflict resolution and to understand the practical implications of each theory.  Exercises, role-playing, and discussion of personal experiences are used to aid students in developing their own leadership and conflict management styles.

MSP 5040 - Seminar in Understanding Community Service Agencies 1SEM. HR.
The course reviews the community’s greatest health and human service needs and how non-profit organizations provide services to build a healthier community and meet those needs through effective problem-solving strategies.  Interviews with agencies and written summations will be used to acquaint the individual and the class with agency services.

MSP 5050 - Seminar in Ethics 1 SEM. HR.
The course identifies how individuals make choices and decisions guided by ethical frames of reference.  Through readings, case studies, class discussion, and written assignments, the course will explore some of the ethical frameworks which guide both personal and professional decisions.  Attention will be given to the relationship between personal and professional ethics.

MSP 5060 - Seminar in Understanding Cultural Diversity 1 SEM. HR.                 
The course begins with the premise that American society is built by people from diverse cultural backgrounds.  This requires citizens to develop an understanding about a wide range of values, beliefs, and actions.  The course seeks to develop an awareness and sensitivity toward others by examining some of the stereotypes which hinder the understanding of diverse people and groups, including those which shape our attitudes and actions toward racial and ethnic minorities, gender and age-based groups, and those with alternative lifestyles.  Certain class sessions will be devoted to exploring the stereotypes which shape behavior toward a specific group.  Some of these sessions will often include speakers from the various groups who will relate how these misperceptions can cause communication difficulties and hamper effective interaction.

Management Component

MSP 5200 - Professional Communications 3 SEM. HRS.
The course focuses on defining personal and organizational communication in a broad-based manner and on aiding the public service manager to examine, analyze, and use a variety of communication forms including verbal, non-verbal, and written.  Both individual and group exercises are part of the course.  Focus activists include developing communication team building exercises; sharing defining moment exercises; acquiring and using data; developing written materials such as house organs, press releases, resumes, communication trees, electronic mail pieces, as well as writing descriptive narrative.  Further, the class introduces the graduate student to methods of collecting data, writing, and presenting research.

MSP 5210 - Legal Environment 3 SEM. HRS.
The course will begin with the fundamentals of how the law has evolved and its importance in society.  Attention will be given to the Tennessee and the Federal court systems as well as petit and grand juries and the anatomy of the trial process itself.  The second phase and the majority of the course will focus on legal issues in the workplace and employment law such as discrimination, harassment, violence in the workplace, employment at-will, and workplace privacy issues.  Additional topics to be discussed concern negligent hiring and supervision, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), general agency law as it impacts employees and employers, and business torts.

MSP 5220 - Human Resource Management and Labor Relations 3 SEM. HRS.
The course addresses contemporary issues facing public service professionals including: personnel selection, training and development, rewards and discipline, motivation and morale, plus performance evaluation; team building; problem solving; management theories; implementing community policing and the delivery of other public services; dealing with unions and labor issues; and, managing for the future.

MSP 5230 - Public Administration 3 SEM. HRS.
This course examines historical and current topics of governing and governance focusing primarily on state and local political entities.  A variety of governmental models are examined.  Contracts between the public and not-for-profit sectors are explored.  Other topic areas include budgeting, current governmental issues, developing public policy, duties of elected and appointed public officials, interagency coordination and cooperation, personnel hierarchy and management, role(s) of public officials, as well as taxation policies and procedures.  Focus is placed on historical and current public administrators and their leadership styles.  A research project and paper are required.

MSP 5240- Seminar in Media Relations 1 SEM. HR.
The course will address key issues in communicating effectively with various constituents through print and broadcast media and will review topics such as internal organizational relations, external community relations, and relationships with representatives of the media.  Emphasis is placed on planning communication of routine information and developing an understanding of how to use media proactively as a community problem-solver.

MSP 5250 - Seminar in Understanding the Judicial System 1 SEM. HR.
This course will examine the anatomy of both a civil lawsuit and a criminal prosecution, with emphasis on the tactical, strategic, and ethical decisions made by judges and attorneys throughout the process.  The seminar will include discussion of the jurisdiction of many courts, the appellate structure, both procedural and evidentiary rules of the courts, and demonstration of particular trial skills exercised by attorneys.  Students will gain a knowledge of the judicial process from the occurrence of an event until the final adjudication of the corresponding legal actions arising from the event.

MSP 5260 - Seminar in Environmental Interaction 1 SEM. HR.
The course is a broad overview of current environmental issues affecting the community and how public service officials develop policy to manage these concerns for the good of both the citizens and the community.  Primary emphasis will be on reviewing how population density affects the environment, along with the traditional topics of litter, air, water, and waste pollution.
Research Component

MSP 5400 - Research Design 3 SEM. HRS.
Research conceptualization and methodology are emphasized in this course.  Of particular importance is the ability to create, develop, conduct, analyze, evaluate, and communicate research.  Students will have ample opportunity to increase their competence as research developers and practitioners in the public service arena through hands-on experiences.  Issues involving ethical and multicultural aspect of research are also addressed.

MSP 5410 – Statistics 3 SEM. HRS.
The course focuses on the understanding and use of concepts and statistical methods in public service.  Students will review and interpret descriptive statistics as well as graphical representations.  The class also infuses the basic principles and methods of statistical inference including probability, hypothesis, testing, t-tests, analysis of variance, and regression analysis.  Students further are introduced to and use at least one statistical package, as well as Excel, for statistical work.
Research Elective Component