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Bush School Awards First Medal of Excellence

April 15, 2016

Brian Smith receiving the Medal of Excellence from Dean Ryan Crocker

Brian Smith receiving the Medal of Excellence from Dean Ryan Crocker

The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, recently awarded the first Medal of Excellence during an awards ceremony in April. The award is given to Bush School students who have completed requirements for both the writing ePortfolio and the Public Service Leadership Program. The very first award, which will be given each year to all graduates who meet the requirements, was given to Brian Smith, an MPSA graduate.

“The process of writing the ePortfolio challenged me to reflect on the relevance and complexity of my graduate studies at the Bush School,” said Smith. “Part of building my ePortfolio involved compiling a list of my research papers, group projects, and policy briefs that were completed while at the School. I found it incredibly insightful to arrange all of it and reflect on what I had learned on each paper and project.  Completing the ePortfolio helped me see the tremendous education I received at the Bush School.”

Smith served in the US Navy for seven years before arriving at Texas A&M University to pursue a bachelor’s in political science. For the past eleven years, he has served in the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service—both before and during his time at the Bush School—where he helped support the organization in a number of roles, most recently as a training coordinator helping state and local governments establish urban search and rescue task forces. He is a graduate of the Master of Public Service and Administration program, in addition to earning Certificates in Nonprofit Management and Homeland Security.

In order to receive the Medal of Excellence, students must first complete an integrative learning ePortfolio, which documents what the student has learned through his or her degree program. More than a showcase of writing samples, the reflective integrative learning portfolio prompts students to connect their learning across interdisciplinary experiences, such as participation in leadership programs, courses, internships, and other experiences, in light of the careers they are pursuing.

The second requirement is completion of the Public Service Leadership Program, which requires formal education and training (coursework and program workshops), self-study and assessments (personalized feedback and individualized leadership development planning), and experiential learning activities (involvement in extracurricular organizations, events, and service projects). The two departments within the Bush School have also developed a required course all Bush students must take, which aids in their leadership development.

“Brian is our first recipient of the Medal of Excellence, and I cannot think of a better person to inaugurate it,” said Ryan Crocker, dean of the Bush School. “Not only has he met the demanding requirements of the leadership program and the ePortfolio, he made it through a pretty tough curriculum here while working full time. He is a great symbol of the principles and commitment the 41st president had in mind when he established this school.”

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