Name: Shenitha Burton
Title: Team Leader
Court: Illinois Northern Bankruptcy Court, Eastern Division
MSU Program: Graduate of the Judicial Administration Non‐Credit Certificate (Currently enrolled in the Credit-Bearing Certificate Program)
Graduation Date: July 1, 2016
How has your participation in the MSU program impacted your career?
Because of the skills, knowledge and information acquired through the MSU program, I’ve been able to be a better resource for the Court. Because of MSU, as well as of Judiciary Programs I have invested in, I was promoted from a Courtroom Deputy to a Team Leader for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois! Going through the MSU program really gave me a better understanding of the Court processes, and how some of those processes were brought about. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the Court.
What other benefits has the program brought into your life?
Knowing the purpose/history behind what I do at the Court has made me passionate about the mission and the vision of the Court. The MSU program gives you a general education, and a broad overview of just about all of the components of a Court, and how it operates. Because of my passion, I am able to deliver customer service with a smile, serve the public and our staff, and be confident about the knowledge I share.
MSU also allowed me the benefit of getting taught by several Clerks of Court, and other Court staff around the United States. One of my professors was my Clerk of Court, Jeffrey Allsteadt. That was a positive but interesting experience because I saw him in a different light. Not only did I have the opportunity to be taught by some amazing people, my classmates included professionals from different Courts and agencies. It was great to learn and grow together. It was also educational to hear the different experiences and scenarios that play out in other agencies.
What was the time commitment for your program?
MSU was very convenient for the several hats that I wear (being a mother, daughter, wife, employee, friend, mentor, etc.). The MSU non-credit bearing program is made up of 10 courses that can be taken at the NCBC Conferences in-person, on-line with an instructor & classmates, on-line by yourself, and classes can be brought to your Court!!!
When MSU classes were presented at an NCBC Conference and/or brought to our Court, I was able to allot the specific time for that particular course with no interruptions. I also took some classes on-line. Taking classes on-line, I definitely had to set time aside each week to communicate with my fellow classmates and give feedback for questions asked for that particular segment/week.
How did you integrate that into your lifestyle?
Again, with the several avenues in which you can take an MSU course, it was easy to incorporate the courses into my daily lifestyle. Learning is one of my top signature themes, so having the opportunity to take classes and work is and will always be a beautiful benefit to me. It’s a win-win to be able to work and continue to be educated!
What format (or formats) did you use to complete your program? What did you like best about each one?
I was able to complete the MSU non-credit bearing certificate fairly quickly because I utilized every way in which you can take the courses. The format that I enjoyed the best was at the NCBC Conferences because you are face to face with the instructor and your classmates. Not to mention, when taking the class through MSU, those are 1-2 day classes.
On the other hand, I also enjoyed the format of the on-line courses with an instructor because you have some time to digest all of the information given to you. You spend a week at the time for a 4-6 week period, going over things and talking it over with your classmates and professor.
What tips or ideas can you share about finding a work/life balance that is conducive to achieving success in this program?
The MSU program works for the busiest person to the not so busy person. Anyone who knows me will tell you I may be the busiest woman in America. If I can do it, you can do it! However, when getting into the credit bearing certificate program, you definitely have to set aside time to devote to your studies. I would say with any of these classes to use your classmates as a resource. I learned so much from the conversations with my classmates.
Are there any last thoughts or maybe a piece of advice you'd like to share with us?
To hold in my hand that beautiful MSU Certificate that listed all 10 classes was such an accomplishment to me, but building relationships throughout the program was even better. Not to mention, this is something you can include on your resume. It’s really all about the wisdom and knowledge you will be able to bring as you serve your company.
Do you have any ideas for getting the word out about the MSU JA Program?
Word of mouth is a great way to get the word out about MSU. Being a Team Leader now, as well as being a part of the USBC Toastmasters Club, I have been sharing MSU with the staff and encouraging them to join! If this is not already being done, I would definitely recommend to our Human Resources department to add the MSU information within the welcome packets for new employees!