NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – US News Rankings recently listed the Tennessee State University College of Public Service as one of the best public affairs programs in the nation. The ranking, which is done annually, specifically evaluates masters in public affairs and administration programs based solely on peer assessment surveys completed by deans, directors and department chairs across the nation.
Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the TSU College of Public Service and professor of public administration, said the ranking is a reflection of the world-class work members of the college are doing to educate and serve their students, residents of Middle Tennessee, and beyond.
“We work to provide a relevant and current education for leaders in the public sector. We also have a significant impact on the local economy, with regards to economic development because our graduates who work in the public sector all make a difference in our economic development and economic growth, as well as the social infrastructure of the community,” said Harris, a nationally-syndicated columnist.
Dr. Cara B. Robinson, interim chair for the Department of Social Work and Urban Studies and acting director of the Center For Aging, said Harris’ leadership plays a major role in the college’s success.
“I think this recognition is really built on the fact that we have fostered a culture of innovation that prepares students to be on the front edge of what public service careers really require,” she said. “Dr. Harris has just done a good job of making sure that we are all willing and able to recruit students, help place them when they graduation and reach out to the community to make sure the students are prepared for careers in public service.”
Robinson said the wide array of courses the college offers as well as conferences like the Conference on Elderly Abuse, which the Center on Aging Research And Education Services cohosts in June, have a lot to do with its success.
“We have everything from nonprofit management courses, to executive leadership, public policy and social work, and they all cover things that put us at the forefront,” she said. “In addition, we have reached out to community members to be involved in our classrooms.”
Robinson said the hours they offer classes has also helped attract nontraditional students. Alfred Degrafinreid II, Vanderbilt University associate vice chancellor for Community Relations within the Division of Government and Community Relations, said while he worked for the state Legislature, he would walk from work to the Avon Williams Campus to attend his evening classes.
Degrafinreid, who earned a BS in Speech Pathology in 2006 and a MPA in 2008, both from TSU, also secured his law degree from the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University.
“The program really prepares students for the public service workforce. I have experience on the local, state and federal levels of government, and I credit my success in working on all three levels of government to going through this program, which really prepared me for real life experiences, managing budgets,” said Degrafinreid, who served as deputy campaign manager for former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s recent U.S. Senate race. Nearly 100 percent of our graduates in our different programs immediately get jobs. Our graduates are always off to rewarding and meaningful careers.”
Degrafinreid said TSU teaches its students to leave the university and serve the community, state, country and world.
“I’m proud that Tennessee State develops leaders and teaches students to fully embrace the ‘Think. Work. Serve.’ motto. It is very important to enter the university and go forth to serve. That’s something TSU always teaches students from the time they are freshmen until graduation.”
For more information on the Tennessee State University College of Public Service, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/cpsua/
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About Tennessee State University
With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.