911 Communications Manager Overcomes Fear of Returning to School by Earning Online Degree
Lisa Reid began pursuing a bachelor’s degree more than 40 years ago and will reach her goal in May 2022 as a graduate of the Leadership in the Public Sector (LPS) B.A. online degree-completion program at NC State. Her initial goal was to be able to “check a box” and set a good example for her grandchildren.
“Teaching Assistant Professor Tracy Appling taught the first LPS class I took. In the beginning, every paper that I turned in was wrong. I immediately reverted back to my ‘I’m too old for this’ mentality, thinking that there was no way I could do this. After meeting with her and getting a better understanding of what was expected, my deflated confidence renewed and my grades improved,” said Reid.
She went on to say she considers herself to be a visual learner. So, Reid initially shunned the idea of online learning, believing she lacked the discipline to be successful.
“I quickly found out that online was the only way that I could have completed my degree — especially in a timely manner,” Reid explained. “My family has been very supportive of me throughout this journey making it easier to balance work and school.”
Reid currently works for the Fayetteville Police Department as a 911 communications manager, which is a top-level position with no option for advancement. However, she was looking for more at this point in her life. Plus, this degree would count as professional development.
“At the onset, I had no idea what degree I should pursue and frankly — I didn’t care. After completing my associate degree at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) in 2020, I decided to search for a program that would benefit my current career as well as prove useful if I pursued employment after retirement. During my research, I stumbled across the LPS program and found that it offered everything I was looking for and more. Enrolling in the LPS program has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made in a long time,” Reid said.
While she believed the LPS program was the best fit for her, Reid decided to explore all options before committing because she would be self-paying for her tuition. Other programs may have cost less, but they were not as compelling and useful as the LPS one.
“Just as planned, I have been able to apply many lessons learned in this program to my current profession in public safety and am confident that IF I pursue work after retirement, my newly enhanced leadership skills will be an asset to any organization,” she said.
LPS Faculty Support and Advice
Reid felt confident after passing Appling’s course. However, this was just the beginning of her academic journey with NC State and there were more challenges to overcome.
“I didn’t know at the time that Appling was preparing me for Associate Teaching Professor Dmitri Mitin’s research class — and this one is on an island all by itself! His lectures were good and he was very helpful, but grasping expectations proved even more challenging than my first LPS class,” said Reid. So she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed, Reid set up weekly Zoom meetings with her teacher to clarify assignments and concepts. “Zoom meetings made the difference in both of these classes and I appreciate both instructors taking the extra time to make sure that I successfully completed their classes,” Reid added.
She admits taking eight-week courses early in the program was not the best idea. She was trying to be mindful of completing her degree on time, but found 16-week courses were less stressful considering her work schedule.
“Although I do not have small children at home, assignments and deadlines prevented me from attending some activities with grandchildren. I would advise anyone thinking of taking online classes to consider everything that is happening in their personal and professional lives. Then, create a plan that works for you, your family and your career. Often, I found myself doing homework assignments late at night, during lunch at work and while on family trips just to keep up. For me, through all of its challenges, the online option was the best one. As I near the completion of my degree, I can honestly say that it was well worth it,” she said.
Reid is really looking forward to the graduation ceremony. She says she has waited 40 years for this experience and if she can get the tickets, all of her immediate family will be there with her.
“I have been so blessed to have so many positive people leading and pushing me through this journey. It has been the best experience possible and for anyone on the fence about the LPS program or finishing a degree over 60, I would definitely say go for it!”
Are you interested in pursuing an online Leadership in the Public Sector degree-completion bachelor’s degree? Visit the program page or online.ncsu.edu/programs for a full list of degree and certificate programs.