What hesitations, if any, did you have about pursuing a degree online? How do you feel after completing the program? There continues to be a lot of dated information about what exactly an online degree program is. I often find myself explaining that I had regularly scheduled classes with my professors and classmates. When people hear this they realize it was not “yesterday’s” online degree. Now that I am done, I can honestly say this capability was the sole reason I was able to attain a MPA.
How did the online format benefit you? Were you able to balance work, school, family, etc. while pursuing your degree? It was a challenge, but the online format enabled such a balance. I could not imagine adding a one-hour drive to and from a campus to my schedule.
In what ways have the connections you’ve made with your fellow classmates enhanced your experience? Do you plan to stay in touch? Learning with other professionals with a myriad of backgrounds truly made the experience worthwhile. This may be the greatest benefit of pursuing a post-graduate degree online. With any luck, many of us will become life-long friends.
What were the main lessons you learned from attending the 2014 Public Administration Conference? The conference sessions are informative, but the real value is the ability to not only meet and network with on-campus students and professors but also the professionals who attend.
Are there specific skills you’ve acquired in the program that have helped you with your career? Communication through writing along with a greater understanding of local government will be a tremendous asset as I pursue my future professional goals.
In what ways are you planning to use your degree now that you’ve graduated? I am actually starting to work with some local government officials as part of my consulting position. We are hoping there might be a way to enhance community engagement through previously unused capabilities. Since my job involves an effort between local governments and the federal government, my education will surely play a critical role.