July 20, 2017

Student Spotlight – Captain John Barkley, MPA program

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Becoming a civic leader requires not only professional experience, but also a comprehensive and holistic understanding of what is needed to become an effective public servant. A comprehensive master’s program focused on public administration can jumpstart a career as a leader in the public or private sector. A graduate degree not only develops leadership skills but also allows students to build a diverse network of peers. UOnline’s Masters in Public Administration program boosts an impressive network of both students and alumni, like current student Captain John Barkley of the Naples Police Department.  

 While he has been in the police force for almost three decades and has won numerous awards for his service and achievements, Barkley is seeking the credentials that will allow him to move forward in his profession and become a chief or high-level professional in law enforcement.

“Although my expertise is in law enforcement, I feel like this degree will prepare me for any position in government or the non-profit sector.”

Barkley started his career with the Naples Police Department in 1990 as a police officer. In 2006 he was promoted to sergeant, and in 2007 he became the supervisor of the Criminal Investigations Division, supervising all general crimes detectives. In 2010 he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to oversee the Professional Standards Division, which includes internal affairs, training, accreditation and public information. In 2015 he was promoted to captain and now oversees the Administrative Services Bureau.

Barkley, who grew up in Miami holds associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and public safety administration from Edison State Community College. However, as an avid University of Miami fan who has been attending Hurricanes football games since he was 9 years old, he always wanted to attend the U as a student. That dream came true when he found out about the online MPA program, which was an ideal fit for his career goals and schedule.

So far his experience has been “fantastic,” says Barkley. The police captain decided to put his classroom learning to work when he recently gave the department’s budget presentation for the city council – a job usually reserved for department heads, he notes.

“Getting to learn something in a book and being able to apply it immediately is something that is invaluable. Any person in public service is going to benefit from this program.”

While Barkley admits that the first couple of classes were tough, he was prepared for what to expect by his academic advisor and says that with discipline and good time management skills, students will succeed.

Barkley considers himself a late bloomer when it comes to his education, and says he never thought about being a supervisor. But after getting feedback from many colleagues who thought he would excel in a leadership role, and finding just the right program to earn the necessary credentials, he changed his mind – and his career path.  

“I think this program is perfect for law enforcement officers who want to make it a profession and not just a job.”

The MPA program at the University of Miami exposes students to the essential components of public service required to help meet the challenges of the years ahead. To find out more, call the advisors toll free at 800-411-2290 or visit the site for more information.