Ben Lohmann (MPA'18): "Public Administration is..."
"Public Administration is...
advising and building relationships with first-year and transfer students to help support and guide them to graduation."
Name: Ben Lohmann
SPAA Degree and Graduation Year: MPA 2018
Current Position: Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Programs-Newark, Rutgers Business School
Position Responsibilities: Advise and build a relationship with a population of first-year and transfer students to help support and guide to them graduation; policy review and implementation to support students and keep RBS-Newark relevant and current as it works to provide a high-quality education; develop, create, and implement student engagement events and initiatives; oversee the day-to-day operations of the RBS-Newark Undergraduate Program Office
How did SPAA prepare you for your current role?
SPAA prepared me for a higher-level administrative position in a large, public institution of higher education by deepening and widening my ability to critically consider issues and situations. Specifically, in regards to policymaking, while a policy may sound solid from the institution’s perspective, one must remember to review the policy – and its potential impacts – from all sides to look for any and all types of ramifications (both positive and negative). For example, a policy may make sense from the college’s side, but what will the impact be on students? Or on faculty and staff?
Learning the skill to give a thorough and all-encompassing 360-degree view takes practice, and having the opportunity to review and participate in a number of projects, discussions, and review sessions from various organizations and sectors is a great way to exercise your mind and develop skills that you don’t enter the program already possessing. I remember thinking when I started the program that I was quite proficient at thinking critically, but when I graduated, my critical awareness and ability to view situations from multiple angles and perspectives had significantly improved.
Why are you excited about your work?
I truly believe I have the coolest job. I get to talk with college students all day and help them work toward earning a major goal (graduation) and pursue their dreams. I loved my college experience, and having the ability to play a significant role in another person’s college experience is a position that I don’t take lightly - that excites me. Many students I work with never thought college was going to be a possibility. No one in their family had attended college, they didn’t have the financial means, or life threw too many other responsibilities their way. However, these students are resilient, and once they find a way to start down the journey to earn a degree, I want to do all I can to help get them there.
When the student graduates, you don’t just see the excitement in the student’s eyes, but you see it throughout their entire family. For many students, college is not just an experience for the student, but it is an entire family endeavor. To see the impact – confidence, access to a new world, financial security, happiness – is truly amazing, and to think that I played some small role is extremely gratifying. Helping to deliver a high-quality educational experience that can change someone’s life for the better is what gets me excited about working in a public service field.