Administration is at the cornerstone of every business

The discipline of Administration is as traditional as apple pie.  Administration, linked to such formal Academic Programs of Business Administration, Human Resources, and Management, is relevant to most any company, University, small or home based business.  It is the cornerstone that holds up most foundations, corporations and businesses alike.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) photo by Derek Σωκράτης Finch

Many of the academic classes that complement an administration discipline include: business statistics, economics, marketing, law, accounting, finance, communication and operations management.

Without Administration, I don’t think we could have a fully functioning organization or business, it would be fragmented.  Administration may not be the most sexy part of a company, but without it, there would not be a fully functioning company with cohesion.  Administration brings together business goals, procedures and policies.  Administration impacts businesses from a wide range of avenues, from personnel matters, to budget planning and execution, cost saving measures, product development, and marketing.  Administration can include support of contract negotiations and awards, staff management, and implementation of new technologies.   Administration is wide reaching in the functionality of a business.

But one discipline alone may not be enough.  And in today’s business world and competitive markets, combining disciplines to make a more Interdisciplinary approach allows collaboration to problem solve, expand learning, and increase professional growth.

Keeping current with administration trends, I follow various publications and media outlets such as Forbes, New York Times Business, National Public Radio and Business Week.  I also find articles in Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and their HR Magazine to be great resources.

Interdisciplinary Studies, my past, present and future.

For me, Interdisciplinary Studies is a representation of who I am.  It accurately reflects how I spent a military career, how I will complete my long time education goal, and how I will enjoy my future through volunteerism, and community service.

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Education is not one dimensional, at least mine hasn’t been.  Education is full of various opportunities, the variety of curriculum in itself, the format of learning, and the application of the applied knowledge.

As a transfer student coming to Plymouth State with “a lot” of credits, I have a multi discipline approach and a lack of specialization down to a “T”.  As Moti Nissani states in “Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinary”, “All too often, experts forget that “problems of society do not come in discipline-shaped blocks” (Roy, 1979, p. 165).”   I can say in response, neither has my formal education, which is precisely why the Interdisciplinary Studies program appealed to me, and seems to be a perfect fit.

My education and training has evolved from a traditional public school system, to specialized training throughout the military, to various job titles and positions.  It also included community college along the way, and multiple levels of career progression and responsibility.  At present day, I am working my way through the web of college level classes, the required Directions and Clusters, and working to finish a degree to both satisfy academia prerequisites and represent my own interest; demonstrating multiple disciplines, Organizational Administration.

Now that I am retired from the military and focusing on giving back to my community, I can especially identify with Vartan Gregorian’s, “Colleges Should Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge”.    Where he says, “Instead of helping students learn and grow as individuals, find meaning in their lives, or understand their role in society, college has become a chaotic maze where students try to pick up something useful as they search for the exit: the degree needed to obtain decent employment.”   While I am done with a satisfying career, I am looking to use my knowledge and degree to further contribute in ways with the Town of Sandwich Conservation Commission, the Sandwich Fair Association, and the Over the Hill Hikers.  Groups and organizations which I am currently active with and serve as with Secretary, Chairman and “Den Mother”, a more distinguished term for organizer.  As you can see, my life is truly Interdisciplary, even after retirement.  But the focus of both Organizational and Administration, are fully representative of my career, education, and interest, from past to present, and I anticipate a long future ahead.

Interdisciplinary Degree, Organizational Administration

Tracy Ripkey, YNCM, USCG (ret)

I am a recently retired, 26-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.  My profession while serving the Armed Forces was Administration and Personnel.  Specifically, I was a Master Chief Yeoman, which is a Senior Enlisted member representing the top 1% of the enlisted ranks.

While I served, I had the opportunity to take a few CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams, attend Community Colleges, and collect years of “hands on” military experience at over 12 duty stations throughout the United States.  These transfer credits quickly accumulated to over 130.  While the military experience is a bit more complicated to put into a standard major, having the opportunity to work on an Interdisciplinary Degree, reflects what my professional career has been all of my adult life.

Different duty stations brought on different job opportunities.  I was the Supervisor of a 9-person Administrative Staff in Detroit, Michigan; an Executive Assistant to the Senior Leader of the Coast Guard in Washington D.C.; an Office Manager for the Legal Staff at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT; a Data Analysis and Workforce Forecasting Specialist in Washington D.C.; and a Policy Expert on Joint Travel Regulations representing the entire service at the Pentagon while working with Department of Defense (DoD) counterparts.  These are just a few highlights during my career, which have led me to pursue an Interdisciplinary Degree in Organizational Administration at Plymouth State University.

After working with Admissions and faculty advisors to best capture what my Yeoman experiences in the not-for-profit military sector mean in academic language, I came to realize that while my military experience is indeed organizational and administrative, it is clearly not in the for-profit business sector, and does not properly entail the depth of focus that would be covered in a PSU business degree.  Realizing that my experience neither falls precisely into a Business Administration or a Management major; an Interdisciplinary Degree plan seemed to be the right fit for me. Not only does an Interdisciplinary Degree in Organizational Administration represent where my experience is, it is a well-rounded degree that features elements from both established majors, but is unlike anything currently offered.  This program more appropriately clarifies my expertise and experience without inappropriately implying a level of business expertise that my training and experience do not demonstrate.

In “What is a Yeoman“, I have included what the Joint Services Transcript describes as the duties of a Yeoman and the different levels of competencies.  In academic terms, this would be close to a syllabus, or criteria to which I have been judged as fully competent, and have performed those duties and responsibilities.  This applies to some of the transfer credits I have received and is relevant towards my major, Organizational Administration.

The remaining classes I plan to take to compliment my major, Organizational Administration, are:

  • Business Statistics,
  • Macroeconomics,
  • Society, Ethics and the Law,
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar.

I chose these courses not only to fulfill the Connections at PSU, they are Organizationally focused, and will bridge the connection between my professional experience in the military and fully prepared me for future opportunities to utilize my education in the civilian world.  Business Statistics BU2240, will bring my experience from when I worked in Data Analysis and Workforce Forecasting, into today’s business world, including services improvement and marketing research.  Macroeconomics EC2550, will prepare me more for the profit based world, and engage me in thinking of the relationship between such factors as short-term fluctuations in national income and long term economic growth.  Society, Ethics and the Law CJ3150 will bring everything together to include today’s workforce issues, focusing on ethics as it bears on social problems and the law.  Together these classes, coupled with my Administration background will have prepared me for graduating with an Interdisciplinary Degree in Organizational Administration from Plymouth State University.

Completing my degree has been a long-term goal that I’ve always looked forward to finishing.  The Montgomery GI Bill / Veterans Benefits, allows me to pursue this dream, and continue to enjoy retirement and volunteer activities in my local community.