In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s a Trevecca graduate, Director Chief William Swann, who is leading the charge within Nashville’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
The 2018 Trevecca graduate serves as the director of Nashville’s OEM and is the city’s fire chief. And even when he’s not leading the city through a crisis, Swann feels a deep calling to serve the community in which he lives.
“The fire department is an entity called on when people’s lives are in trouble. Our job is to be the problem-solvers and turn whatever is upside down as close to right side up as we can,” he said in a 2018 article for the Treveccan, the University’s alumni magazine. “It helps you see how fragile life is, but [also] how resilient we are when we stand together. That itself helps you realize how valuable we are to each other.”
In times of crisis, it’s clear that professionals who choose a career in public administration are positioned to make a significant impact in the world. From politics to nonprofit work and non-governmental agencies to public safety, public administration professionals have a chance to make a difference wherever they serve.
Why public administration?
So, why should you consider a career in public administration? Here’s what a few professionals in the field had to say.
- At its core, public administration is about service, pure and simple. While working in public administration can take many forms—from serving at the local and state level to nonprofits, communications and more—at the heart is a passion for service. “We all may be going into different industries or professions but at the heart of it is this act of service,” said Dr. Trish Holliday, a founding partner of the HR consulting firm Holliday|Kenning who previously served as the state of Tennessee’s first chief learning officer during Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration. “To me, the power of public administration is when you can come to the table with that service-oriented heart.”
Holliday is an adjunct professor at Trevecca and a member of the advisory board for the new master’s program in public administration, set to launch in May.
In a world where so much has changed in the matter of a few weeks and so many people face great needs, we need more servant leaders. Earning your master’s in public administration could help you hone the tools you need to help meet the world’s greatest needs.
- Public administration offers concrete ways to make a difference in the world. Current Tennessee Secretary of State, Tre Hargett, who serves as an adjunct professor at Trevecca, sees his work as a “calling to serve fellow man.”
“[My team and I] feel like we get to make a daily impact on the lives of our fellow Tennesseans in ways big and small,” Hargett said. “Sometimes, it’s a one-on-one interaction and sometimes, it’s something that could have a generational impact.”
From helping to create policies that make a difference in your neighbors’ lives to taking part in research or writing grants that bring needed resources to communities, a career in public administration offers a very real way to make the world a better place.
- With a career in public administration, you can ensure your voice is heard. Concerned about the economy? Your city? The underserved or overlooked populations in your state? A career in public administration gives you a seat at the table where decisions are made. Even if you’re working behind-the-scenes within a nonprofit, administration or an office, you can influence decisions.
“There is such an opportunity to do so much good that nobody ever hears about,” said Jeremy Harrell, a 2006 Trevecca graduate who currently works with a consulting firm, but previously served in the administrations of several state and federal leaders. “[In the administrations I worked with], we were never looking for the easy or political answer, but the right answer. Usually, you get to the right answer by trying to influence public policy rather than dictate it.”
Trevecca’s master’s program in public administration is entirely online and can be completed in as few as 18 months. Ready to change your world?