MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new public safety concentration at Middle Tennessee State University aims to help first responders learn to become better leaders. It’s an opportunity for people who school leaders say are public servants.

“This new, streamlined interdisciplinary program is designed specifically for adult students with an interest in serving others,” Dean of University College Richard Sluder said in a statement.

The school is offering a $500 scholarship to students who enroll early as classes for the concentration begin this fall.

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The new public safety concentration is in the integrated studies major and leader say it’s designed for a wide variety of people who are already working in the public safety sector. That includes those in law enforcement, homeland security, emergency management, fire safety, dispatch, and other professions at the local, state and federal levels.

The degree will allow these students learn and build on the knowledge and skills directly tied to their work. The emphasis will be on crisis response, diversity, communication and leadership.

MTSU Public Safety Program
Working public safety professionals like Sarah Jackson, MTSU Police dispatcher and alumna, who are looking to earn a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to pursue MTSU University College’s new public safety concentration within its Integrated Studies major. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

“We’re wanting to take the key contributors, the hard workers and turn them into the leaders at police departments or fire departments,” said University College recruitment coordinator Mark Murphy. “Being a strong leader, soft skills, managing teams, working with a diverse population, that’s what they’re going to be doing. That’s where we are. So those are skills that everybody needs not only just in public safety, but everywhere.”

According to school leaders, qualifying students can also earn credit for their past work experience through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), where adult students can convert eligible prior work, training, and certifications into college credit.

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“The adult degree completion program at MTSU focuses on each student individually. Our experienced degree counselors and advisors discuss program goals, flexible course schedules, and how to maximize prior work experience and credits to create a pathway to reaching their educational goals,” stated Peggy Carpenter, Assistant Dean of University College. “We know it is common among adults to have a diverse educational background, and we want to give them the best opportunity to finish what they started and reach their goals as quickly as possible.”

People who have questions about applying or who want to learn more about the program can visit or call 615-904-8092.