Southern Wesleyan graduate takes risk in stride

March 19, 2008

Two years ago, Nick Shorter stepped out on a limb, took a risk and enrolled in a master’s degree program at Southern Wesleyan University.

In December, Shorter earned his master’s degree in management from the university and says taking time to pursue his degree was well worth it.

It’s not an easy program. It took a lot of hard work, he said, noting the amount of reading, homework, research projects and team projects required to earn his degree. One of the best things about the management program at Southern Wesleyan University is that it’s well-rounded. The courses focus on people and how to manage business-related issues, Shorter said.

Shorter is risk manager for the City of Sumter, working to be sure that employees of the City of Sumter are safe. Sumter has more than 500 employees and Shorter is in charge of keeping up with safety requirements. With employees such as police officers, firefighters and public service employees, Shorter strives to keep the workplace safe, comply with OSHA regulations, handle workers’ compensation and manage the wellness program.

We really want our employees to have a safety mindset, Shorter said. They are the city’s greatest asset.

Southern Wesleyan University’s master’s of science in management program consists of 18 months of classes that meet one night each week. Students are also required to meet with their study group one other time during the week. Classes are offered at the university’s main campus in Central and also in Columbia, Greenville, North Augusta, Charleston, Greenwood and Spartanburg. Shorter attended classes in Columbia.

During his studies, Shorter grew close to those in his class as they tackled group projects and classroom challenges together. His study group members included Leann Crim, Shannon Shetrone and Tim Russell.

You really get to know your classmates during 18 months, he said. We grew together. When we prayed together, it gave people a chance to open up. That’s not going to happen at a secular school.

Shorter earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of South Carolina in 1986. When he began working on his master’s degree, he was employed by the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department in Columbia.

Shorter’s first class was Organizational Behavior, led by Dr. Lee Kizer, one of Shorter’s favorite professors. Kizer opened the class with a prayer and Shorter knew he had made the right choice for his education.

This was the right place that God had planned for me, he said. The education was top-notch. The spiritual aspect was icing on the cake. It magnified the experience and made it even better.

Shorter said he was impressed with the quality of professors at Southern Wesleyan University and the personal career experiences they shared in class.

Professors shared their real-life experiences and related them to our course material. They’ve lived these things, he said. I highly recommend SWU to anyone interested in furthering their education, Shorter said. It requires hard work and dedication from your family. In my case, my wife Pam was my silent partner and she allowed me to dedicate time to school.

He encourages other potential graduate students from Sumter and the surrounding area to consider attending Southern Wesleyan University.

It is well worth the trip to the Columbia learning site, he said. Today, Shorter is happy to be living and working in his hometown of Sumter. His wife works for a bank down the street and they often meet for lunch. The Shorters are active members of Westside Baptist Church in Sumter.