My Introduction to PA

In 1996, after deciding that I was ready to relocate and change career fields, I was a police officer at the time, I thought about my marketability.  I had a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in Education and varied experiences.

I knew that I was ready to get out of the law enforcement field, but I wasn’t sure what career field I was ready to enter.  One thing was for sure however, I needed an advanced degree to be more marketable.

Because I was already in Law Enforcement I felt the best degree for me would be in Criminal Justice.  I took two classes and needless to say, I didn’t like it.  A girlfriend of mine at the time, during a discussion about college, told me about one of the local colleges starting a new Masters degree program in Public Administration.

Of course my first question after looking at her a little strange was, “what is Public Administration?”  She explained it this way, PA is a field for administrators that crosses just about all career fields.  She pointed out all of the major careers: Chief of Police, Directors, Program Managers, City and County Managers, Executive Directors, the list went on.  I had never heard of PA and did not think of any of these positions until that moment.

Of course I researched the field myself and I was excited about what I learned, so what did I do?  I enrolled in the program and needless to say I have been in the field ever since.

I love the fact that Public Administration is a broad field.  As a Public Administrator, I have worked for local governments, higher education, nonprofit organizations and a consultant to businesses that have philanthropic programs.

So, my question to you, how were you introduced to Public Administration and what do you LOVE about it?



One thought on “My Introduction to PA

  1. Great passage. I am surprised that you didn’t like majoring in Criminal Justice. That was my undergrad my BS and Administration of Justice for my AA. Perhaps because you were already a practitioner and already had the experience you found it a bit like being preached to while you were already in the choir. I too went on to pursue an MPA and one of the first questions I encountered was, “What can you do with that?” My response was similar to the epic comment from the TV cartoon “Pinky and the Brain” when pinky would ask brain what they were going to do that day and Brain would respond, “Plan to take over the world.” Early in my academic career, I learned that acronym put forth by Luther Gullick that helped me explain what public administration was to anyone who would ask, “POSDCORB: Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Co-Ordinating, Reporting, & Budgeting.” I hope you succeed in your quest for advancement.


    Randy Cannon, MPA
    A Professional Public Policy Advocate


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