Colonel Rideout addresses the Graduates at the Reception
Colonel Dane Rideout, the Garrison Commander of the U.S. Army Garrison at West Point, was the speaker at the reception for this year’s graduating class of John Jay College’s MPA program at West Point. The reception was held in Cullen Hall on Friday May 31st.
The event was very special because Colonel Rideout graduated from John Jay’s MPA Program at West Point in 2001 with a Master’s Degree in Public Management and a specialization in Human Resources Management. In 1997, Rideout was assigned to West Point as the Chief of Cadet Advanced Training and later helped establish the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethics.
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Commentary by Courtney Stelmach
There were many different characteristics that I could consider when researching potential Public Administration graduate programs around the Hudson Valley area. Did I want to enroll in an online program? Was I interested in attending class only on weekends? Many colleges and universities across the United States are offering more and more programs that work around working adults’ schedules, aiming to increase enrollment by offering expanded flexibility. I did know, however, that as soon as I saw that the CUNY John Jay MPA Program at West Point did not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores, I was sold.
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A graduate of the CUNY John Jay MPA Program at West Point herself, Professor Geri Wildenberg brings a wealth of experience and practical knowledge to her classes. With an undergraduate degree in engineering, a Masters in public administration and a Doctorate in organization and management, Professor Wildenberg has spent most of her professional career in the public sector. “Although I still consider myself an engineer, I have spent most of my professional career as a supervisor, manager, and leader in Army public works organizations”, she says. “While engineering is ‘all about numbers’, public service is ‘all about people’. Much of my professional development focused on strengthening those very important people skills.”
Like many of the CUNY John Jay MPA Program at West Point professors and students who work for government, Professor Wildenberg stresses the importance of truly understanding what it means to work in the public sector. “You probably should do a little ‘soul-searching’ before choosing a public service career,” Professor Wildenberg says. “No matter whether you work at the federal level or for the state, the county, or a municipality, you have to remember that you are a public servant. The politicians set the agenda. Public administrators execute it. If you’re looking to change the world, go into politics. But if you are committed to making the world a better place by ensuring laws are administered fairly and faithfully, then public service is for you.” She also emphasizes customer service skills, stating, “No matter what you do in the public sector, customer service skills are most important. If you plan to be a supervisor or manager, being able to motivate employees to deliver exceptional customer service is just as important.”
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When asked what advice he would give to prospective government employees, Robert McLoughlin’s answer was very telling: “I think the first thing I would recommend is not to see yourself as an employee. If you choose a career in public service, and you can identify yourself as a public servant, and acknowledge all the expectations and responsibilities of that role, then you will have laid a solid foundation for your future endeavors.” Read More »
One of the most interesting facts about the CUNY John Jay Program at West Point is that several of the professors who teach in the program are graduates of the program at West Point themselves. One such professor is Katherine Hauserman, who teaches PAD 703 Human Resource Management, as well as PAD 707 Advanced Issues in HR.
Not only did she attend the MPA Program at West Point, but also she currently teaches JJC classes there and works at West Point. Professor Hauserman is a Human Resource Specialist at the U.S. Military Academy, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. She moved to New York after graduating from the University of Montana with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and has been at West Point for the past 23 years.
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