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Public Administration diploma program
January 17, 2010
When Nurie Aliperti, a busy mother of four working in the family business, decided it was time to focus on her personal career development, she had an idea of what she wanted. "I had spent about 15 years working from home, managing my husband's business, but I was really interested in government work where I could serve the public."
After doing a bit of research, Nurie was attracted to Camosun's Public Administration diploma program because of the flexible scheduling and the practical curriculum content. "My youngest was preschool age, and I thought I could fit in some of the evening and online courses. I decided to start on a part-time basis, just to make sure the program was going to work for me, that I was okay with the course load, and that it was something I wanted to stick with."
Now, just three short years later, Aliperti has three public administration credentials to her name, full-time employment, and a career with potential for advancement in the BC Public Service.
Becoming a student is a matter of mindset
Aliperti found out early on that she really enjoyed being a student. "I was quite anxious going back to school, just because it had been so long, but that concern quickly evaporated. There were many others in my classes just like me, so that calmed my nerves and I really started to enjoy the course work and the learning."
Before starting her studies, Aliperti assumed she would be in class with mostly young adults, and felt she might be singled out as an older student. "But I found the opposite to be true, especially with taking evening classes," she says. "I found the majority of students were actually older than I was, and age wasn't a factor."
Real world experience enhances the learning experience
Aliperti commends the PADM program for being both practical and current. She also found her instructors' personal experiences in government added tremendous value to the learning process. "The instructors have a lot of real-life experience, and truly want the students to succeed. Because they related their own work experience to the concepts being taught, they were able to connect theory with what actually happens in the workplace," she says.
The students themselves, who bring a wealth of personal and professional experience to class, also contribute to the overall learning experience. Aliperti says, "The other students were really serious about advancing their education, and very focussed on what they were doing. Online and face-to-face class discussions were meaningful and we accomplished a lot in a short period of time. The group discussions were helpful because you really gain a lot of knowledge from others who have experience you most likely wouldn't get in a textbook."
Flexible options...what does that really mean?
Although Aliperti began by just taking a couple of courses at a time, she knew she didn't want to take too long to finish the program. "As soon as I got into it, and felt okay about combining the coursework with home responsibilities, I started taking on more courses. The program is very flexible: you can take just one course at a time, or as many as three or four each semester, like I did."
Online options also contribute to program flexibility. "Because the online courses are only seven weeks in duration, you can actually take two per term, back-to-back. You're only required to attend one Saturday session, and the rest of the coursework is done online, including group discussion."
Graduation—the culmination and celebration of all that hard work
When asked what the most rewarding aspect of getting her diploma was, Aliperti smiled and said it was simple. "Probably the fact that I was able to start something and finish was the most important thing for me—it felt like a huge accomplishment. I was very proud to attend graduation with my classmates. My husband and all my kids were there, as were my parents. They've waited a long time to see me finish school!"
Starting a new career!
Aliperti joined the BC Public Service in 2009. "I found that, while I did have a lot of business experience, the PADM program was very helpful in getting my first placement with the Public Service. I started with an entry-level position, but I know my credentials will mean I'll be considered for advancement in the future."
Aliperti's career objectives include learning as much as she can, and she hopes to return to Camosun to finish the four-year Bachelor of Business Administration. She would also like to do the BC Public Service leadership program, and her success at Camosun has given her the confidence to pursue all options. "You go forward with a lot more confidence, knowing it's not as intimidating as you thought it was. Right now I'm content to learn as much as I can as a permitting administrator, and gain some experience. Perhaps in a year or two, I'll be ready for the next step."
Be prepared to be surprised
For others thinking about going back to school, Aliperti's advice is straight forward. "Just do it! Go in with an open mind, and a willingness to learn and work with others. You'll be surprised with the results."
Last updated: February 1, 2011 1:09 pm