Real-World Experience Changes the Learning in the Classroom

Matt DuRose

This photograph was taken on Matt's first day of graduate school classes. His children insisted he take a first day of school picture like they do.

For the last 15 years, Matt DuRose has been working for the Police Services Division of the Mankato Department of Public Safety. Throughout his tenure, he has applied the knowledge and skills he learned at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he earned a degree in Law Enforcement.

Currently, Matt is a Commander assigned to the geographic area that includes Minnesota State Mankato and the surrounding off-campus housing. He enjoys being around campus again and connecting with students, staff and faculty. Matt has also had the opportunity to oversee the department’s new officer training program and internship program, in which many of the participants have a connection to Minnesota State Mankato.

Every year, Matt will recruit at many of the job and internship fairs on campus. Through his recruitment, Matt is able to supervise up to four interns each semester. Matt enjoys this experience because he is able to connect with other students who are pursuing a passion of his. In addition, he is able to help provide an experience for these students to get hands-on experience in the field. This real-world experience opens doors for other opportunities, such as the volunteer police reserves or even full-time employment.

Over the years, Matt has also partnered with different student organizations and offices to provide programs. He has started to reach out to student organizations across campus beyond the Law Enforcement club, in hopes of expanding the Department of Public Safety’s services in other areas besides just safety and enforcement.

For example, Matt and many of his colleagues have collaborated with Student Health Services and Health Pros. Together, these groups sponsor a program known as House Party. This event is a great way to help provide education around the potential dangers of binge drinking. This is just one of the many events that Matt contributes to on campus to help connect the campus, the community and the Police Department.

Recently, Matt began thinking about his own career goals. He has always wanted to be able to advance within his own department, so he started looking around for ways to increase his knowledge. This period of self-reflection led him to enroll in the Public Administration master’s program last fall.

Even though he had the full support of his wife and kids, as well as the support of his unit, Matt admits that he was a little nervous about getting back into the swing of school after being away for 15 years. After a couple weeks of classes, however, that all changed.

That’s when Matt realized that this time, being in the classroom felt different. The program includes students of diverse backgrounds who are all interested in public administration for varying reasons. As a result, the classroom discussions are fruitful.

When doing his homework at home, often with his two kids keeping him company, Matt is able to grasp the readings and apply the ideas to his own professional experiences. He is also able to share his perspective during the classroom discussions. Although Matt appreciated his experience as an undergraduate at Minnesota State Mankato, he feels that what he is learning as a graduate student is much more rich.

Matt’s real-world experiences with the Mankato Department of Public Safety have had a huge impact on his learning in the classroom. Likewise, the content he’s learning in the classroom can be applied right away to his professional experiences. This practical experience that Matt, and many other graduate students encompass, is a great asset to pursuing advanced degrees at Minnesota State Mankato.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.