Students remember Dr. Potter.His jokes, his big cups of coffee and his passion for the subject matter always come through in his classes. Potter often tells stories too, which make his lessons stick.
“I tell students real stories about how it all works,” Potter said. “Academia can be abstract and you can really learn through experience.” Potter has that experience.
Before becoming a professor, he worked as a junior analyst for Mooring Financial Corporation, then as a lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, and later as a research analyst for the Joint Committee on Government and Finance for the West Virginia Legislature.
Potter received his Master of Public Administration degree as well as his Doctor of Philosophy, Public Administration/Public Affairs from Virginia Tech. During the last few years of his doctoral education, Potter began teaching in Appalachian’s Department of Government and Justice Studies: first as a visiting assistant professor and then in his current position as an assistant professor.
Potter said his classes often include debate and conversation surrounding topics discussed in lectures and readings, as he wants students to push their thinking on a subject.
“I’m hoping students will learn more than what it takes to get a good grade,” Potter said.
Potter teaches students who are interested in careers in the public sectors and others who want to be lawyers, politicians and more.
One thing he hopes all of his students understand is the impact local government has on daily life.
“We fixate on the federal government when it has less of an impact,” Potter said. “The state and local levels of government are where citizens interact with government the most.”
So, for the students who are pursuing a career in the public sector, Potter stresses how much they can do for society just by making changes in state and local government.
“I want students to know the importance of public service,” Potter said. “It is a calling. You have to make conscious decisions and sometimes sacrifices, but it is so important.”