In my Organizational Theory class, we had a very lively discussion about the term pracedemic. In a nutshell this term means that you are an academic who is actively using the theories of your education while working in the field. Since the downturn of the economy, there has been a shift and the public sector is making requests for candidates to have a degree beyond a bachelors, as well as having years of experience under their belt. In an environment where budgets are being cut and organizations are requiring one employee take on a variety of responsibilities that supersede their job descriptions I can understand why these organizations would want an employee who can apply current theories in the sector to the limited resources available.
I would like to add a disclaimer that by no means do I believe that education is the only element that makes a candidate qualified to be hired for a job. That being said I can personally see a significant difference in my skills and ability to problem solve since coming to the Voinovich School. This past year I have had the opportunity to be an active member in case study evaluations, interned and perform projects with local organizations as well as learn from the experiences of my classmates and professors through discussion. Being given the opportunity to work through theories in the classroom and actively pursue these theories due to the Voinovich School’s encouragement in practical experience will allow me to leave this program ready to make a difference in the public sector.
I am a firm believer that ones education is never ending. In my opinion, a true pracademic means that you are learning from your missteps and reflecting after each project to determine what worked and what changes you would make in the future. I also feel that when you work in the public sector or a nonprofit organization, you should be open to continuing your education through local colleges, lectures and professional development. Upon graduation from the MPA program, I will proudly consider myself a pracademmic and will continue to pursue my education so I can be more effective in the field and make a difference.