Public Policy – a Hot Topic at USA Baldwin County this fall
A new course, Public Policy, has been added to the USA Baldwin County fall 2013 curriculum. Public Policy will be taught by Dr. Ed Lamonte, Adjunct Professor of Political Science. Lamonte has been teaching for about 35 years, however, this is his first time to teach for the University of South Alabama Baldwin County. “I like being a part of smaller institutions that can develop a real sense of community, and the campus is delightfully close to our Fairhope residence” Lamonte said.
Lamonte has a Bachelor of Arts degree in United States History from Harvard College and a Doctorate degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He served as Director of the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Alabama in Birmingham for 10 years and taught there, as well. After leaving UAB he spent eight years serving as chief of staff for Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington. For the next twenty two years, Lamonte taught at Birmingham-Southern- with the exception of one term, when he served as Interim Superintendent of Schools for Birmingham. Lamonte says he brings the experiences of working in the public sector into the class room — not “war stories” but insights and lessons that he learned. Lamonte added that he believes his public service experiences give him a well rounded perspective. “Almost every class will involve class discussion of important contemporary public policy issues, not in the partisan sense of what is the “right” policy but to apply immediately what we are studying in the course” he said.
INCREASE IN EDUCATION COURSES AT USA BALDWIN COUNTY
Due to increased interest, the University of South Alabama Baldwin County is offering more elementary education classes for the fall and summer terms. Instructor Brenda Haskew said there is a huge benefit of diversification for the students who are in the elementary education program. She said students can graduate with the possibility of certification in elementary as well as special education, and with an additional two courses, early childhood special education certification is also available.
Any program that supports quality instruction in elementary schools is important, and this program does that very well, Haskew said. She has been impressed by the commitment of students to their goal of becoming a teacher. Although students have different reasons, they are dedicated to becoming professional educators, according to Haskew.
Haskew said the Baldwin County campus fits the needs of area students who may not be able to put their lives on hold and go away to school. Haskew said she gets many calls from former students who typically say they appreciate USABC’s hours, school environment, and the support given them by the faculty and staff of the university. They comment about the real life associated assignments, the relevance of the curriculum in general, Haskew said. “I always say I am teaching college courses as an advocate for the student, so they will instruct, and it makes me feel very valuable and worthwhile to still be contributing to youngsters in elementary grades,” she said.
Haskew has taught at the USA Baldwin County campus since 2009. Haskew, has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, is an adjunct instructor for USA’s Department of Leadership and Teacher Education, and is the Department’s Field Services supervisor in the College of Education. At USA Baldwin County, she has taught Language Arts in the Elementary Classroom, Teaching Social Studies and is currently teaching Mathematics. Haskew received her Master’s degree from the University of South Alabama in Early Childhood Education, and received her undergraduate degree from Livingston College (Livingston University). For more information, call (251) 928-8133 or visit www.myusabc.com for the schedule of classes for summer and fall 2012.
Faculty Member Interview
What do you think were some of the main influences that led to an interest in your academic area?
There have been many influences in my life, but none as important as my parents and children. From my mom, I learned compassion and being nurturing of others whether they are family, friends or acquaintances. My dad was instrumental in showing me how to organize different aspects of your personal life and professional projects, along with being a leader and manager. Both instilled hard work, ethics and empathy of others as throughout my life and started a career in communication.
In your opinion, what abilities and/or personal qualities should a student who selects a major in your academic discipline have?
A communication professional needs effective qualities such as, communication (verbal and non-verbal), leadership, managerial, organizational, critical thinking, analytical, teamwork, compassion, empathy and flexible skills.
What aspects of this major do students generally find most challenging?
Many students find the amount of work and work environment to be challenging when they first obtain a communication position, not because they are ill prepared, but because the profession requires fast-paced critical thinking skills. Their confidence or lack thereof, hinders their progress and advancement. Throughout college, they are encouraged to ask questions to understand the material at hand, but in a professional environment, their employer seeks an individual who can fully function on their own, on the job.
What are some of the occupational options that are open to students who graduate with a major in this field with and without further study?
In the communication field, there are varieties of industries students can look for a position in. Different industries include, business, healthcare, finance, government, education, insurance, agency, the list goes on, but positions one can apply for are:
- Community Relations Director
- Publications Editor
- Director of Corporate Communication
- Environmental Lobbyist
- Special Events Coordinator
- Press Relations Officer
- Diversity Consultant
- Copy Editor
- Public Affairs Officer
- Congressional Relations Officer
- Training and Education Supervisor
- Foundation Manager
- Employee Relations Officer
What is necessary academically and otherwise to pursue graduate work in this field?
In today’s workforce, a graduate degree is more important now than ever. Students must earn their bachelor’s degree and be ready to begin working on their master’s degree within one to three years after graduation. After working a few years in the field, they begin to build their professional portfolios. To advance further in their position or for another position, a master’s degree makes them competitive.
What outside the classroom activities would you encourage a student to obtain who plans to major in this area?
Internships, volunteer work, community service, and campus activities are highly, highly encouraged. If students do not begin to build their portfolio before they graduate, they then do not have experience or anything they can use to promote themselves on a job interview. Networking is just as important.
What other recommendations do you have for someone who is seriously considering this major?
While in college finishing out coursework, use your class electives wisely. Take as many communication courses focusing on computer skills, but also classes you are interested in and could help you advance in your career. Do not take a class because the professor is ‘easy’ or because you know them and like them. In the professional world, you have to work with all types of people and be flexible eno