The Path to Public Good

What is social responsibility, and how can it lead to careers in public administration?

The paths of those who have arrived in public administration careers are varied and sometimes unpredictable. Often, the professionals who serve the public best are the ones who never necessarily saw themselves fulfilling those roles to begin with.

Rather, they are people who identified specific needs in the community and realized the best way to help solve them was with the skills taught in a Master of Public Administration program.

For example: Meet Mark Clendenin.

Having worked in the private sector for many years, Clendenin eventually decided to transition into a public service position in Northeast Ohio. “I’ve always been kind of on the outside looking in,” he explains. “As I worked in that program, I fell in love with the public service sector. The more I worked there, the more I saw the opportunities to take a lot of what I’ve learned in private industry and apply it over top of what I can do in public sector.” Now, as a student in Kent State University’s online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, he’s learning the greater meaning behind his public service and his social responsibility in that role.

“What we do in public administration, we’re servants,” Clendenin says. “My boss is really all of the residents of the State of Ohio, and I’ve got to do everything I can to make sure I provide the best possible service.”

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He is an Associate Professor in the Evaluation and Measurement program within the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. He is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Education degree in Research, Measurement, and Statistics.
Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.
Felesia McDonald, ’14 is an adjunct instructor in the iSchool, teaching courses in the 100% Online Master of Science in User Experience. McDonald is also the Sr Manager UX Design at Optum, a branch of UnitedHealth Group.