Attacks fuel public affairs enrollment

Thursday, September 11, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:43 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, have been linked to increased enrollment in public affairs and public administration schools nationwide, including MU’s Truman School of Public Affairs.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, 24 students were enrolled in the MU program for that fall. By the next year, a 75 percent increase brought enrollment up to 42.

Guy Adams, professor and associate director of the Truman School, said that while the attacks aren’t the only reasons for the enrollment increase, there is a definite connection.

“What that says is that this trend we’re seeing is continuing – at least for now – the trend being one that reflects an interest in public service careers,” he said.

Public service careers include working with local non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, non-governmental organizations such as Doctors without Borders and with the federal government to determine how airports will function.

Kenneth Tolo, executive director of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, said other factors, like the state of the economy, have influenced enrollment. But he added that Sept. 11 showed people how important government is.

“The events of Sept. 11, 2001, made people aware of the roles persons in government can play in our society,” he said.

Tye Parsons, president of the Truman School’s Association of Master Public Administration Students, said he came back to school because he wanted to make a difference in the world and noted Sept. 11’s influence on his decision.

“I think it showed a lot of people that things have changed and really there’s no time like the present to go out and make a change for the better,” he said.

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