Teaching caps a career

Sean McGee

Sean McGee grew up on New York’s Long Island and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor’s degree in justice in 1991. That year, he accepted a position with the North Slope Borough as a peace officer. He served with the borough through June 1993, when he accepted a position with the UAF Police Department, where he held the ranks of officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and chief. McGee was a member of and an instructor for the Alaska State Troopers’ Specialized Emergency Reaction Team for 15 years. He graduated from the FBI’s National Academy in 2000. McGee retired from police work in 2014.

This summer, McGee, who has taught homeland security and emergency management courses at the UAF School of Management for three years, shared the following thoughts about his life and career.

What brought you to Alaska?

I was bitten by the “Alaska bug” early in life. By seventh grade, I began making plans to see Alaska and attend UAF. In 1985, I enrolled at UAF and haven’t looked back since!

What do you enjoy about Alaska?

I grew up in an area of New York that was stereotypically “New York.” Coming to Alaska, I found people to be incredibly friendly, which was somewhat different from what I was used to. That is what inspired me to make Alaska home for the past 30 years.

Sean McGee and wife, Keli

What would you like to tell us about your family?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt I am extremely fortunate to have my family. My wife Keli and I met at UAF in 1988. Our oldest son John works at UAF Career Services, our middle child Sean starts classes at UAF in the fall, and our daughter Megan will be a sophomore in high school this year.

Why do you teach at the School of Management?

I teach for SOM because SOM had the vision to bring the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program in-house. There isn’t any other degree program for which I’d want to be teaching.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

My favorite class is Principles of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, HSEM’s introduction course. I enjoy interacting with large groups of students from around the nation who are engaged in matters associated with homeland security and emergency management for the first time.

What research or project are you working on now?

HSEM is exploring partnerships with large emergency dispatch centers in the western portion of the U.S. who are actively seeking opportunities to provide their employees with HSEM’s course offerings. I’m involved in developing the curriculum for these agencies.

Let’s pretend students savor every word professors say. What advice do you have for current students?

Take the time to identify the area of study that truly interests you; applying yourself in school becomes so much easier and more rewarding when you are interested in your studies, and it never hurts to be able to make a living in a field that you are passionate about.

Any SOM stories you’d like to share?

I can’t get over how pleasant and professional the students, staff and faculty are at SOM. I’ve been involved with UAF in one capacity or another in the past 30 years, and I can attest that what we have here at SOM is unique. “This” does not just happen; I am fortunate to be a part of this department.

Sean McGee and wife, Keli

Favorite place to vacation?

I enjoy going back to New York and visiting with my folks. It’s always nice for me to go to where I grew up.

Books you are currently reading?

I just finished reading “Benghazi: The Definitive Report,” and now I am reading “Spy Sub: A Top Secret Mission to the Bottom of the Pacific.”

Your last music download?

Soundtrack from the movie “Focus.”

If I granted you one wish to change the world, what would it be?

I’d like to think that we as a society would finally realize that we need to invest in preventative measures when it comes to our aging critical infrastructure, and that change would be my wish. If I can’t have that, then world peace.