Source: City of Oak Ridge  | Release | May 24, 2021

Oak Ridge City Manager Dr. Mark Watson was recognized this month and inducted as a University of Tennessee (UT) Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) Fellow in Professional Practice.

The purpose of the “UT MPPA Fellows in Professional Practice” award is to recognize in a more formal, public way, the tremendous contributions that distinguished practitioners make to the advanced professional education and training of UT MPPA students.

“This honorary designation is conferred by majority vote of the MPPA faculty and signifies that the individual inducted is an accomplished, experienced professional and skilled communicator whose career exhibits the highest standards of performance and ethical excellence and is worthy of emulation by our students in public administration, public policy, and public affairs at the University of Tennessee,” UT MPPA Professor and Director Dr. David H. Folz said.

Watson received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Tennessee in May 2019.

“The UT faculty recently surprised me and honored me with the Fellow in Professional Practice award. As I go about the business of Oak Ridge, it sometimes takes others to bring attention to the impacts you are having. I enjoy the aspects of coaching new students on the merits of public service. The ability to use their talents for the City of Oak Ridge is something that benefits everyone including the students, graduates, University of Tennessee, the City of Oak Ridge and myself personally,” Watson said.

Watson was recognized at the 2021 MPPA Hooding & Awards Ceremony that included Fall 2019 graduates. Among those graduates was Assistant to the City Manager Eric Ault who received his Masters in Public Policy and Administration. He joined the City in February 2020.

Some of the City’s former interns and assistants include Bruce Applegate, ACM Covington, KY; Athanasia Senecal-Lewis, ACM Cambridge, MN; Lily Seabolt, City of Knoxville; and Aaron Gold, associate professor Coast Guard Academy.

According to the University of Tennessee, the MPPA is a professional degree program designed to prepare students to assume responsible positions in public service through a program of study that integrates the theory and practice of public administration and public policy. The program aspires to produce graduates who are literate in the fields of public administration and public policy, have the skills to be effective managers of organizational resources, and possess the analytical abilities to be creative problem solvers.