What getting a degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis has done for me

I sometimes surprise people by telling them that I have five degrees total: 2 BAs, 2 MAs, and a PhD. They often wonder what the "other" MA is in, since one is clearly in sociology. 

The answer is "Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis" which is a very fancy phrase for higher education administration. My particular focus was on student affairs, which means that I spent a lot of time thinking about student development, and learning student development theory in addition to organizational behavior and the history of higher education. 

It turns out that nearly all of this is useful in my current work coordinating a sequence of two, never-taught-before courses on the ethics of care. We are placing students in fieldwork sites, teaching them qualitative research methods (sociology here) and we are asking them to create proposals for on-campus projects that might apply what they have learned about caring and care theory. This is where the student affairs part comes in. I can say some things about where students are developmentally, and the kinds of student affairs professionals that might be able to speak to the issues students raise in their proposed projects. And because I taught in a liberal arts college whose students are not unlike those at Vanderbilt, I can speak with some authority on student cultures.

All this to say: the detours aren't distractions from your goal, they are the journey towards your goals.