Janine Davidson, PhD. President, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Who or what inspired you to work in public service?
It’s just what we do in my family. My father was in the Navy and I grew up mostly outside DC, so the idea of serving – in the military or government – or working in a mission-driven enterprise vs. in a corporate role, was something I grew up with.
What is something you are excited about right now?
I am excited – or rather, cautiously optimistic, that out of this covid crisis might emerge some collective realization that we need to invest in our governance capacity as a nation, and in our global cooperation as a planet. The crisis has revealed the inequities in our society and the fragility in our systems. It has also revealed new levels of compassion and renewed participation in the mechanisms of our democracy.
What is your favorite class you have ever taught or taken and why?
I loved teaching the core graduate level public policy class, which allowed me to dig deeply into not only how policy happens, but also into a variety of policy issues. We examined everything from health care to transportation and energy policy. I loved seeing students gain realization of how much government actually does in their lives that is good and that they often take it for granted – from food and drug safety, business regulation, or even defense and nuclear security to search and rescue, fire fighting, and transportation… -- in contrast to so much of the negative narratives out there.
What inspires you during these challenging times?
What advice can you give to folks beginning careers in public service?
Keep an open mind and try new things. There are jobs out there you have never heard of or though of! Say “yes” and do the little, even menial things to start to learn how it all really works. And remember those things when you become the “big boss.”
What is your favorite midnight snack?
Ice cream of course
Do you have any pets at home?
Not now, but we really want a puppy!
If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
I would love to have been in the room with our founding fathers crafting the constitution.
Do you have a favorite podcast, journal, newspaper, or other kind of media?
I read and listen to all sorts of things from as many perspectives as I can find, But I always love the Atlantic.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Do what you love. We can strive for work-life balance, but like it or not, we will spend much of our waking life in work – so you should love it. Find that thing that makes you want to jump out of bed every morning.