Welcome to Scholars' SummitThe world of teaching, learning, and academics is ever-changing. From ancient parchment scrolls to the distribution of printed books, and now with virtual classrooms and the ability to connect with others and share ideas around the world, approaches to teaching and learning continue to evolve. And, so does how we define success.
When I earned my PhD in experimental psychology from Texas Christian University, the application of online learning tools was quite limited. I recall being among the earliest of instructors to leverage an online discussion system as a classroom enhancement. Back then, using digital means to foster learning dialogue was a relatively novel idea to me and others. Since those early days, I have worked to understand, master, and grow high-quality approaches to online teaching and learning. Now, decades later, I serve as Provost for University of the Rockies, a leader in delivering graduate-level education to students across the world by incorporating online strategies.
As a leading graduate school of the social and behavioral sciences, University of the Rockies knows the importance of personal connection, and our faculty strive to provide top quality education in both campus and online modalities. And just as it is important for our faculty to get to know students and their goals, it is important for students, and the larger world, to get to know our amazing faculty. Each University of the Rockies faculty member holds a doctoral or terminal degree, in addition to being practitioners. Many own their own practices or consulting firms, have worked in industry, or are authors, providing leading-edge information in their fields of study.
In fact, in the coming months, our faculty will be adding their thoughts about topics of academic interest to them and our students to this blog. They will also be discussing the world of online education, graduate school, completing dissertations, and current world events. They might even share their own research or case studies. Whatever the topic, I know that readers will find it interesting and pertinent.
For now, I want to share a few thoughts about graduate school, the amazing students we serve, and why I chose to work for University of the Rockies. There are many paths in life and while conventional thought might suggest there is only one definition of success and only one way to achieve it, life often suggests otherwise. Success is individually defined and definitions can vary greatly. Success for some may look like owning a home or car, while for others it might look like seeing a client you’ve worked with achieve a personal break though. Success might even be as sweeping as changing systems so that no one is forced to be homeless. It might look like earning a doctoral degree and contributing to the body of knowledge that others refer to in their practice. Whatever one’s definition might be, we know our students are masters at making their personal definition of success come true.
Many of our students did not go directly from high school to college then to graduate school with school being their primary job throughout. Many, if not most, are working adults. They balance work, families, community, expenses, and a myriad of other responsibilities with studying and completing the work necessary to achieve an advanced degree. Understandably, demands shift. However, one constant is true: our students have stunning ambition for success, and they do not settle. They are often the first in their family not only to go to college, but to get a Master’s, PhD or PsyD degree. They are the leaders in their communities, focused on helping not only their immediate circle, but the entire community, elevate and reach new heights. Our students are serving their nation in the United States military across the world. They include officers, enlisted personnel, and family members of military personnel. Our students are the achievers and getting a graduate degree is just one of the many successes they are achieving.
As a Provost, I undoubtedly believe in the power of education. As a person with a PhD, I understand the value of graduate school and taking education and scholarly pursuits to the highest level. I know that University of the Rockies is serving students whose needs and expectations aren’t always met effectively by conventionally-minded institutions. I love being a part of something that not only allows students to pursue and achieve their dreams, but in fact supports and helps them to achieve those dreams. We get to be a part of it and that thrills me.
And for me, helping students achieve their diverse dreams is a powerful definition of success.
Written by Dr. Jeremy Moreland, Provost, University of the Rockies