Dr. Angela Pool-Funai is director of the Master of Public Administration program at Southern Utah University and an assistant professor of political science and public administration.
Her research interests include experiential learning, virtual currency, tax policy, and philanthropy. She serves on the board of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, and is a member of American Society for Public Administration, American Political Science Association, and National Society for Experiential Education.
Prior to joining the SUU, Dr. Pool-Funai worked with grants and research administration in the nonprofit sector and in higher education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and economics at Stephen F. Austin State University, a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Baylor University, and a Ph.D. in public administration at Valdosta State University.
Industry Expertise (6)
Areas of Expertise (13)
Professor of the Year Finalist
SUU Influencer Award
Stephen F. Austin State University: B.A., Journalism and Economics
Baylor University: M.A., Public Policy and Administration
Valdosta State University in Georgia: Ph.D., Public Administration
- American Society for Public Administration
- American Political Science Association
- National Society for Experiential Education
Media Appearances (1)
SUU appoints new director for MPA program
Deseret News print
Southern Utah University has appointed Angela Pool-Funai as the new director of its master of public administration program.
“Thanks to the dedication of those who came before me, our MPA degree already has a strong reputation among our peer institutions, and it is the fastest-growing graduate program at SUU,” Pool-Funai, said in a statement.
Around the world, demand for greater transparency in government activities has taken root and blossomed. One hot button, in particular, has become a focal point of discussion in recent years: public budgets. Democratic systems across the globe are faced with the dilemma of making fiscal administration more transparent to the public, and one tool that many local governments, in particular, have found successful is participatory budgeting.
Participatory budgeting (PB) is gaining traction worldwide as a best practice toward the goal of greater accountability in government, as it offers the public sector an opportunity to engage constituents in the budget process. Increasing pressure on democratic governments to be more transparent in their dealings begs the question: If government is a public good, then should not it involve the public?
Students become engaged in personal learning outside of the classroom environment by applying knowledge in practical, hands-on ways, and critical thinking plays an important role in learners’ success.
Kolb’s learning cycle encompasses four phases: Experience, Reflection, Thinking and Acting. Through each stage, students are encouraged to take an active role in the learning process. This participatory framework for education meshes well with the notion of experiential learning.
Faced with a potential upheaval of the precarious balance that had kept his little village in check for generations, Tevye the poor milkman (and narrator of “Fiddler on the Roof”) reminds the audience in the musical’s opening scene that tradition is the linchpin for a proper community. Although traditions dictate occupations, religious practices, gender roles and especially matrimony, Tevye even admits that he does not know the origin of many of the customs that he holds so dear.
Tradition reaches far beyond Broadway musicals. Our educational practices are deeply rooted in the practices of generations before, often for no other reason than familiarity. For example, do you know why the typical high school science curriculum in the United States teaches biology, chemistry and physics, in that order? The answer is simply because that’s the way we’ve always done it – at least since 1893. In the early 1990s, the Physics First movement began gaining traction to rearrange the sequence of courses, but tradition still rules in most schools across the nation.
The traditional classroom setting featuring rows of quiet, dutiful students taking notes from a dry lecture has trudged along for generations as a way for students to learn facts by rote memorization and grasp concrete theories. Remembering and understanding form a solid foundation for learning, but they are the lowest tiers of accomplishment along the continuum of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In order to achieve higher, more abstract levels of educational goals – such as application, analysis, evaluation and creativity – students need opportunities to put the information they are learning into practice.
Through project-based scenarios that may begin in the classroom but reach into the external environment, students can gain an understanding of and appreciation for the way government agencies and the nonprofit sector are at work around them.
As I tell my freshmen, though, questions are OK. Questions mean we are still learning and trying to find solutions. Let us continue finding ways to engage students—at all levels—to begin tackling some of those big questions together.
POLS 1100 American National Government
Source of democratic ideas and principles of the constitutional system. Cultural, group, party and governmental influences on the process of public policy making. The administration and impact of public policy.
POLS 3410 Public Administration
Examination of the mechanics and dynamics of government administration. Emphasis on the rise and impact of bureaucratic state, tasks of administrators, technical aspects of administration and administrative responsibility.
POLS 3500 Identity Politics
An examination of the role that race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender, and other "identities" play in the political arena. Students will explore the nature of race, racism, and ethnocentrism, sexism, etc., and their impact on political institutions and public policy.
POLS 3520 Civil Rights and Liberties
Origins and philosophic basis of the Bill of Rights; a case law approach focusing on the First Amendment, equality and privacy.
PDM 6200 Public Sector Economics
This course explores the theory and practice of public sector economics and decision making. This course provides an overview of basic economics, political influences, information management and requirements, and fiduciary responsibilities for public funds. Emphasis is given to sub national levels of government and nonprofit organizations.
PADM 6830 Readings & Conferences
This course provides graduate students with the opportunity to do extended readings on a specialized public administration topic. Students can also use this to launch or complete the major research project. Full-time graduate faculty in the department can approve enrollment.
PADM 6890 MPA Internship
The MPA Internship is a required elective for all students who have less than one year of professional experience in the public or nonprofit sector. Students must complete 300 internship hours.
PADM 6900 MPA Thesis
This is one of two options available to meet the experiential learning requirement. Students develop a proposal, complete the research, and write a traditional thesis. Students must form a thesis committee consisting of a chair and two members.
PADM 6950 Professional Project
The Professional Project is one of two options available to meet the experiential learning requirement. Students write a proposal for a project that benefits a public or nonprofit organization. Students complete the project and submit a final project report