Balancing a professional career while pursuing a degree program can be a daunting task. For Brian Hoyle, the accessibility of the online Leadership in the Public Sector (LPS) bachelor’s degree-completion program was a critical factor in his success. Hoyle is a self-employed consultant with Grinnell Leadership, and he is currently based out of Raleigh, North Carolina.
“I started the LPS program in the fall semester of 2021,” Hoyle said.” Being a non-traditional student, I have many hats to wear — father, husband, student, and consultant. Our family also decided to provide care for my mother as she ages gracefully with some assistance. That pre-pandemic decision turned out to be a blessing but is another ‘hat’ I need to consider as I juggle all my responsibilities.”
The LPS program is specifically created to provide students like Hoyle with a liberal arts foundation in the ethical, theoretical and policy analytical skills necessary to be effective leaders in public and nonprofit sector organizations. Many students come into the program with an understanding of the importance and value of community service. Hoyle, however, felt that the program was an extension of a journey he had been working toward for most of his career.
“The flexibility of the program was a practical factor, but the program also spoke to a part of my life that I had worked toward for over 25 years,” Hoyle said. “Community and volunteer service are an important part of my working life. I have volunteered at the grassroots level, served as a loaned executive, raised millions for nonprofits, engaged in board development, and founded a nonprofit. I have worked with amazing people who have used collaborative public policy and gotten creative to serve those with developmental disabilities, the visually impaired, and those who are coping with disaster. The LPS program was the perfect fit for a calling I was already answering.”
Hoyle also found his experience with the LPS program rewarding, challenging and exciting because of the rigor the academics provided.
“When considering this sort of program, I recommend you are realistic about your time commitments,” Hoyle said. “I was on an aggressive personal timetable that might not work for others. But I met and interacted with some of the most amazing students with diverse backgrounds. I have grown from working together with them. Based on the encounters with these students — many of whom are combat veterans, spouses of veterans, working in public or non-profit service, or even a retiree and some newer citizens — I can say without a doubt, through the LPS program, NC State is making a global impact. Most importantly, these students are making an impact on NC State. I found the students to be collaborative and encouraging of each other. And I think because of our varied life experiences, we have a dynamic that traditional students simply do not yet enjoy.”
Hoyle is appreciative to several faculty members for their support while achieving his degree.
“It is challenging to select just one person from what I consider to be an all-star team,” Hoyle said. “But with any endeavor, it is critical to have a guide. For me, Program Academic Advisor LaShica Waters was that champion for the LPS program. I also found the teaching styles of several of my instructors to be inspiring in their own ways, which left a unique imprint on my NC State experience. Dr. Waters is a rockstar who listens to understand your goals and matches your prior educational experience with those goals and the requirements for graduation to get you to the finish line. And the faculty understand the unique needs of non-traditional, distance learners without compromising academic rigor, so you know that you have a degree with value. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from them. They were available, and they cared about their students.”
The faculty understand the unique needs of non-traditional, distance learners without compromising academic rigor, so you know that you have a degree with value.
Looking ahead, Hoyle is excited about the opportunity to put what he has learned to use in 2023 and beyond.
“I know I didn’t do it alone. I’m thankful for the faculty who guided me. But I’m also so grateful for my wife,” Hoyle said. “Yes, I did the hours and stayed up late to get the work done. But I have to credit my wife for her willingness to miss me after dinner during family time. It was a partner dance where we took turns leading and following. And, the balancing act will continue, as the next step for me is an advanced degree. For 2023, I want to widen the opportunity for teaching and training adult learners. I enjoy helping others discover their own professional development opportunities. I’m proud to be an NC State alumnus. GO PACK!”
Are you interested in enrolling in the online LPS program? Visit the program page, or check out online.ncsu.edu/programs for a full list of degree and certificate programs.