Jeff Crow, an Online MPA Graduate
Teaching. Learning. Serving the public. Enjoying the outdoors.
Jeff Crow has a deep-rooted passion for all four of those things, which are all big aspects of the Arkansas Game and Fish Director’s life.
Arkansas State, Naturally
“It’s so easy for people to get stuck in a rut where they go to work, and they spend their time at home, and they don’t venture out,” Crow said. “But, particularly in Arkansas, we are blessed with so many areas that are just right there waiting for us to go out and enjoy, whether it be our lakes, our streams, our forest areas, our delta. We have some of the most beautiful outdoor settings in all of the world. It’s easy to take them for granted, but you know what? I would encourage everyone to go experience the therapeutic benefit of what there is to gain from being in our beautiful state.”
Crow has clearly landed his ideal job, which he got after earning his Master of Public Administration online from Arkansas State in December of 2013. He served as the Arkansas Game and Fish Chief of Staff and Deputy Director before being promoted to his current position in 2016.
“My decision to go to A-State was really driven initially by the design of the program, the delivery of the classes, the way they were set up,” Crow said. “I like the fact that they were seven-week segments. It just seemed that, for an online delivery, it would be a program that would be accommodating to my schedule, to my workload and my family life. I just felt like it was a good fit.”
Acclimating to Online
Crow, who served in the Marine Corps and spent 25 years in law enforcement with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas State Police said it took some time for him to get acclimated to higher education outside of the traditional classroom setting.
“I always considered myself someone who learns best in a traditional format, in the classroom, with face-to-face interaction with fellow students and the instructor or professor,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of interaction with my cohorts and the instructor or professor in each class. Even doing it online, it was still a meaningful and rewarding experience.”
Crow also had the full support of his family once he made the decision to earn his MPA online.
“Absent their support, it would be very difficult to do this, because there are a lot of times that with the course requirements you have to do your work, you have to complete the assignments,” Crow said. “And they were very understanding and supportive. A big part of what I wanted to do was set that good example for my children and my family that higher education is important. My wife [Susanna] is actually pursuing her [Bachelor of Professional Studies] degree now. I like to think it is maybe because of my efforts that she chose to complete her degree.”
Personal & Professional Satisfaction
Crow counts the tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment as the most significant benefit of earning his degree.
“I felt like I was actually achieving something that perhaps 20 years ago I never could have fathomed that I was going to be able to do,” Crow said. “I started to sense a great deal of satisfaction that I was able to accomplish something that I didn’t really think I was able to do at one point in my life. As I did that, I debated on whether or not I’d even walk at graduation. I was visiting with my wife, and I just felt like it was important that I do that. I felt that the graduation process gave some finality to what I tried to achieve as an adult learner.”
Of course, Crow has also been thrilled with how much he has been able to apply his public administrator knowledge to his career.
“My entire professional life has been spent in public service, whether in the military, in law enforcement,” Crow said. “What I really like about that program is that practically every class that I took, every assignment that I had, was applicable to what I did every day. I, as a lifelong public servant, felt like a public administration degree was a perfect fit for what I wanted to study. Everything I learned has benefited me to be more effective in this setting.”
As long as he can spend the majority of his time outside, Crow will be happy.
“I love getting into the outdoors,” Crow said. “Whether it be fishing, whether it be hunting — just spending time in the outdoors is what I enjoy doing. That’s where I’m at home, and that’s where I desire to be all the time.”
Learn more about the online MPA program from Arkansas State University.