MALS Alumni Spotlight: NC Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks

Secretary Erik Hooks

Please tell us what brought you to MALS? What was attractive about the degree? 

I entered the MALS program while serving as a Special Agent in Charge of Professional Standards with the State Bureau of Investigation. The Program’s Interdisciplinary Model appealed to me as my goal was to continue to grow in my understanding of organizational management and leadership with an eye toward human interaction and behavior. I earned my graduate degree in 2005.  I am grateful that as an adult learner, the MALS Program also allowed me to leverage graduate level course credits I had previously received through N.C. State’s Administrative Officers Management Program (AOMP).

Tell us about your MALS concentration. What was your concentration title? What significance did your concentration hold for you? 

My concentration title was Organizational Management and Research. The concentration allowed me to take courses directly relevant to my career interest and growth in public service as a public safety professional.

What are you currently doing? We’d love to know about your professional, personal, or volunteer activities that you want to share.

I have served as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) since January 2017.   DPS is a diverse agency of about 27,000 sworn law enforcement and civilian employees, along with nearly 12,000 North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen. I also serve as the state’s Homeland Security Advisor, chair of the State Emergency Response Commission and chair of the State Reentry Council Collaborative. I am a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and North Carolina Police Executives Association and have successfully completed the FBI National Executive Institute, and the Commandant’s National Security Program at the US Army War College.  

In my personal time, I serve my community as a youth basketball coach at the Garner Road Club and I am a member of Watts Chapel Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.

How does your MALS degree or experience enhance your work/life?

Aside from the credentialing from my beloved University, the MALS experience was instrumental in developing a broader scope of critical thinking in my approach to leadership and service. The program strengthened my ability to lead large organizations and I draw on the skills obtained through MALS daily.

 What is your favorite memory from your time in MALS? This can be a personal anecdote, a favorite lecture/class/topic? Anything you want. 

There were so many opportunities to engage with fellow students and professors with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.  The engagements over a broad range of courses from public administration to socio-biology are all counted as fond memories because they enhanced my professional and personal growth.

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