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Posted on: July 13, 2022

PLF Director completes “intensive” WSU course


McPherson – Attending 16 sessions over four months, Wayne Burns recently was recognized for his completion of the MiniMPA Professional Development in Local Government course. The program is offered through the Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs at Wichita State University. 

Burns, in his eighth year as Director of Public Lands & Facilities for the City of McPherson, was acknowledged Tuesday morning (July 12) at the City Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting. 

Mercy O. Umeri, Ed.D., Assistant Teaching Professor at Hugo Wall and the MiniMPA coordinator, attended the meeting to present Burns with his certificate of completion as one of 29 graduates this year. Also attending was Melissa Walker, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Hugo Wall

The all-encompassing course — promoted as “intensive” — is designed for working professionals in local government and covers topics ranging from politics and human resource management to strategic planning, teamwork and community engagement. The course included a capstone project where the class collaborated on how to address mental health needs in their respective communities. 

Participants in the course learned to address complex problems with limited resources, including how to: 

  • make tough budget decisions for a department, a city or a county
  • effectively communicate with elected officials and the public
  • increase diversity through strategic recruitment, retention and promotion
  • engage in win-win collaborative arrangements that involve other units of government, nonprofits and private businesses

“Wayne was one of our best students in the class,” Umeri said. “He was very engaged. He was just not just present, but one of those students who participated in class discussions.”

Burns, who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Parks and Recreation Management from Bethany College in Lindsborg, came to McPherson in September of 2014. Prior to that, he was the Director of Parks and Recreation in Chickasha, Okla. 

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