Congratulations to all 2020 graduates who, in spite of this difficult and unusual year, completed their degrees through dedication and hard work! We especially celebrate our UT Police and UT Public Safety graduates!
Mike Richardson, a UTPD lieutenant in the Administrative Division, graduated with a master’s degree in criminal justice-emergency management from Liberty University.
What interested you in your degree? I wanted to obtain my masters in an area that I could see myself going in the future, which is Emergency Management in some form. I have had the opportunity to participate in different scenarios that allowed me to see this is an area of interest for the future.
How does it help you in your work? In my current position I participate in the UT Emergency Operations Center at times. The relationships we have with the university’s Emergency Management team allows me to share information through our departmental training with officers in how to be better prepared during an event and how to mitigate potential events along with how to recover as soon as possible. The ability to preplan and train is vital to success for those inevitable events of life that will occur.
How did you manage the work-life-school balance? It was a continual process that I had to plan to spend time pursuing my degree while not neglecting my family or work responsibilities. I am very fortunate to have a group of people around me who can take care of their day-to-day activities allowing me to focus on larger projects. I am also blessed to have a family that is supportive in goals that I set.
What tips do you have for UT employees interested in pursuing a degree? I would say to do it and not put off. Speak with your family and coworkers so they can understand the extra demands on your time, and you will find that most will be supportive of your goals. Don’t forget to enjoy downtime as well because working toward a degree can be consuming, which will only create internal stress.
Now that school is done, what is the first fun thing on your list? Enjoying the extra time that I have and spending time with the family, which of course includes my dogs!