Alumni Spotlight

August Alumni Spotlight with Michael Brick, MSEd '14

Aug 16 Alumni Spotlight

Alumnus, Michael Brick (MSEd '14) has what he describes as a career firmly rooted in the "ultimate industry." In this month's alumni spotlight, Michael recalls his most valuable takeaways from his time in the MSEd program, his rewarding career in higher education, and more.

Why did you choose to continue your education with a PhD of philosophy in student affairs after finishing your MSEd?
While the MSEd was a broader look at higher education administration as a whole, the Student Affairs PhD is a more focused concentration in student development theory and student-centered administrative policy. Specifically, my research involves the intersectionality of higher education and prison reform, ideally looking at educational programming in state and federal public institutions.

What were some of the most valuable takeaways from your time at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs working toward your MSEd?
I think one of the most valuable takeaways was a detailed analysis of what is public education and public service in general. Having attended and worked at both private and public institutions, there is an incredible responsibility that public universities have to the populace they serve at such an affordable price. As tuition increases nationwide, this responsibility is even more important and I was so impressed at how the MSEd program and SPIA in general tackled this respectfully and earnestly.

My professors also had a major impact on me; even more so than I originally realized while I was a student. Dr. Rachel Smith actually taught my Student Affairs elective and inspired me to pursue my doctorate in higher education. She was not only integral in developing my understanding of student development theory, but also helped me craft my research interests and statement of purpose when it came time to think about future education.

Your career has encompassed positions in admissions and student services, thus far. What do you find to be most rewarding about higher education roles such as these?
For me, higher education is the ultimate industry. There are so many different offices that you can use any number of skills in. I think everyone has the potential of being successful in a higher education setting and can utilize talents they might not realize they have. Ultimately, the greatest joy is the impact I get to have and relationships I get to build with students. In my current position, I get to witness students grow and learn over four years, while assisting in shaping what the future of our country will be.