Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aspirin, Highlighters and Starbucks: Reflections on the Doctoral Journey

By Ann Marie Klotz

Have you thought about obtaining a terminal degree in your field?

There are about a million reasons not to do so including, but not limited to, financial constraints, time away from family, the struggle of balancing school and work (if you choose to do both at the same time), and an overall increase in personal stress.

However there is one important reason to contemplate taking the plunge: It will qualify you for serious consideration for most jobs in your respective field. In short, obtaining a terminal degree is viewed as the new “membership card” for upper level positions. Just like American Express, I don’t want to leave home (or job search) without it.

I do not think everyone has to go back to school and obtain a doctorate. But I have always known that my field (Higher Education) and my age (currently 32) was going to require me to have additional academic qualifications in order for me to reach the upper levels of administration. This was not necessarily the case for the generation (or two) above me but as universities are increasingly looking to demonstrate the “legitimacy” of professionals in Student Affairs, a terminal degree can begin to even the playing field between faculty and staff.

When I applied for admission to doctoral programs there were three colleges to consider that would allow me to continue to live and work in my preferred geographical location. In the end it came down to one factor—finances. I was accepted at the institution where I am employed and therefore I would receive full tuition remission. For my partner and I, it was a “no-brainer.” I am still paying back loans from my undergraduate and graduate degree so this seemed like a good opportunity to complete a degree without incurring any more debt.

This is an excerpt from my blog post ( about my early experiences as a doctoral student:

“I have never found myself saying/thinking “I can’t do this” more than the past two years in my doctoral program in higher education. The amount of reading/analyzing/producing is exhausting and progress is slow towards even getting close to being able to START the dissertation process.
It’s isolating. Only people who are in doctoral programs or have completed them understand this. Your social life takes a major hit. All of the tricks that I employed to successfully complete other pieces of my educational journey don’t apply. It’s you and your books.”

As I start my third (and final!) year in classes I am reminded of something a member of my dissertation committee once told me. She said “When you complete classes you will be 20% finished with the degree.” I hear those words in my head all the time. While I am excited to finish classes this spring I am reminded that the true test will occur when I am not held accountable by homework and grades. It will be just me and research.

There is a reason why the barista at Starbucks knows my name, the cashier at the drug store smiles at me as I buy more asprin and I get excited when Staples has a sale on highlighters. I ‘m a doctoral student and these are my tools to survive/thrive this process.

I would say more about this I’m off to get an iced grande soy chai.

Till next time!
Ann Marie

Ann Marie is a third year doctoral student at DePaul University where she is also employed as an Assistant Director in the Department of Residential Education. Follow her on Twitter @annmarieklotz.

iBio: Will Deyamport

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

The iBio series is where people share their stories, their lives. I wanted to create a series focused on how people are succeeding or failing on their own terms - how they meet the challenges in their lives as well as the dreams they have for themselves.

Will Deyamport, III, MSEd is a teaching and learning scholar-practitioner and online content creator with more than 11 years of experience in course and workshop design, program development, and experiential learning. In addition, he is the founder of, and he is a thought-leader with a keen eye for innovation, trends, and the educational applications of digital and social media. You can find Will on Twitter as well as on Youtube and LinkedIn.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

iBio: Leah MacVie

By Leah MacVie

The iBio series is where people share their stories, their lives. I wanted to create a series focused on how people are succeeding or failing on their own terms - how they meet the challenges in their lives as well as the dreams they have for themselves.

Leah MacVie is a blogger, instructional designer, photographer, and former graphic and Web designer. She possesses a BFA from the University at Buffalo and a Master’s in Educational Computing from the SUNY College at Buffalo. In her spare time, she is focusing on finding out more about DIY and informal learning. She loves everything DESIGN: instructional, identity, graphic, Web, and educational technologies like Softchalk. Find her on Twitter at @leahmacvie.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

iBio: Mary Beth Hertz

By Mary Beth Hertz

Welcome to the second installment of the iBio series. The iBio series is where people share their stories, their lives. I wanted to create a series focused on how people are succeeding or failing on their own terms - how they meet the challenges in their lives as well as the dreams they have for themselves.

Mary Beth Hertz is a Technology Teacher in North Philadelphia. She blogs at Philly Teacher and can be found on Twitter as @mbteach.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Career Talk with Robin Roffer

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Robin Roffer is a Branding Expert and Reinvention Specialist. She is the author of Make A Name For Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs To Create A Personal Brand Strategy For Success and The Fearless Fish Out Of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You. She’s also CEO, Big Fish Marketing, Inc.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Life Changing Event

By Diahann Boock, MBA

When I was first asked to write on this topic, I was somewhat intimidated. Such a big topic and seemingly very personal. My mind raced from BIG events that were as game changing as the invention of the telephone to daily events that occur somewhat unnoticed, like what you missed because you were 10 minutes late due to the fact you arrived in your garage and found yourself wearing two different shoes. Something that you must remedy immediately. Movies seem to capture these dichotomies well. Obvious life changing events captured on film captivate our attention. Think about the movies It Could Happen to You, or Home Alone. Winning the lottery or forgetting your child will certainly leave a mark on your life. Conversely, Sliding Doors demonstrated a life’s path if they had just caught the noon train…or not. Each option creates a new branch of life.

But what life changing event would I be able to write about? Did I have any? Were there some of which I had control? I admit it took some thought, as when you are the one changing, it’s almost evolutionary and somewhat unconscious. But yet, there was a choice I made consciously that changed my life. I got a passport.

First, I never had any desire to travel where I needed a passport. I’d ventured throughout North America, where you could travel freely with your birth certificate. That seemed exciting and worldly. By comparison, it was far more travel than most people entertained. Someone asked me if I’d consider Europe and I responded “Why would I want to go somewhere that I’d have to spend 8 hours on a plane? That would take up two days of vacation, just traveling”.

Then it happened. While studying for my MBA the University offered an international study trip. A group of class members decided to take Europe by Storm. France, UK, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. School would last about 1 week and we’d bum around Europe for an additional two weeks. This is where it started: I needed a passport. I needed a backpack. I needed to plan. A lot of planning (very difficult for a non-detail oriented person).

The flight was uneventful, all you can really ask for in a flight. I slept like a baby. But, it took me about 10 minutes out of customs to realize there was a whole other world out there. I had been limited by my experience. Everything was different. I was visiting one continent with 5 different currencies, 5 different languages, 5 different histories, 5 different architectures, 5 different scents and 5 different tastes. The different list goes on and on. Every place I went was strikingly different than the place before. After this taste, I was hooked. Traveling is now my drug of choice. Something I had no desire to do became the thing I desired most.

Each destination has so much to offer. My most recent trip is always my favorite or best trip. These doses of others realities change my life before, during and after.

Before: I am made aware of ‘all’ there is in the destination. By studying, I have an idea of history and economy. I learn the cool vs. interesting. I sometimes have to go through rigorous pre-trip heath checks and shots to ensure my safety. The lesson is to be informed about your destination and understand their conditions.

During: Seems obvious, but it is easy to go places and do nothing. When there, one must take advantage of every minute of the opportunity. Some good, street festivals; some not to good, bull fights. The lesson is to be open to a different experience than you experience in the life you lead on a daily basis.

After: Photos. I relive every trip though thousands of photos. These help me determine where I must return some day. It also enables me to document great itineraries for others. I share my experiences with those who may never get to go and with others in comparison. Travel stories are always a welcome addition to most conversations and are often a great ice breaker when meeting new acquaintances. The lesson is to share the experience with others.

At this point, I do not remember not traveling to new, different and exotic destinations that require a passport. My goal is to explore all our continents; some over and over again. This is a life lesson that has made me aware. This is a life lesson that has thankfully taught me tolerance and acceptance. This life changing event is continuously giving with each travel experience I choose to make.

Diahann Boock, MBA is the President and founder of Women's Ally, Inc. Diahann is a career management strategist who is passionate about helping people realize their full potential. Considering we spend more than 100,000 hours of our lifetime working, succeeding beyond measure is an achievable goal with dedication, resources and allies to help you get there. She consults with employers and employees on how to be successful in the ever-changing workplace environment. You can reach Diahann directly at or 847.630.9901.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Career Talk with Angela Maiers

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Angela Maiers is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer known for her work in literacy, leadership and global communications. She is a consistently energized and recognized worldwide speaker greatly impacting leadership through not only the education field, but the international business community as well. Challenging educational philosophies and business ethics, Angela strives to achieve total synergy and unstoppable energy by reconstructing the thought process of many dated ideologies. You can find Angela at Angela Maiers Educational Services (515.554.2004) and at @angelamaiers.

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Check out Angela's TED Talk here:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Education Speak with Shelly Terrell

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a passionate educator and author of The 30 Goals Challenge. Shelly is also the VP of Educator Outreach for Parentella and the Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E, and she is the co-organizer and co-creator of the award winning educational projects, The Reform Symposium E-Conference, Edchat and the Virtual Round Table conference. You can find Shelly on her blog, Teacher Reboot Camp or on Twitter, @ShellTerrell.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

What Happens on Online Stays on Google Forever: My RSCON3 Presentation

By Will Deyamport, III, MSEd

On July 29, 2011 at 12:30pm CST, I conducted my first presentation for the Reform Symposium at RSCON3. I was nervous, excited, scared, and exhilarated. So many thoughts ran through my mind as I saw people entering the room. As the numbers grew, the reality of what I was about to do set in. I was about to present for an online conference for the first time and that my presentation had the opportunity to be viewed by thousands or even millions of people worldwide. I smiled and joked, and I tried to shake off the nerves. Before I knew it, Chris Rodgers, my moderator, told me it was time.

Presenting at RSCON3 was something I'd never felt or experienced. I was a part of an international movement - an almost non-stop 3 day global ed carnival. There were 80 Presenters, 12 Keynotes, and 4 Panels. It didn't matter what you taught or what grade level or academic specialty, RSCON3 had something for everyone.

Aside from my own presentation, I attended several other presentations, including my wife's, and a few of the key note addresses. It was a powerful and rewarding experience - a confirmation of the reach the effectiveness of online learning and collaboration. It's a model I support every state department of education adopting. There is nothing better than a conference for teachers designed by teachers. And I could absorb it all from the comforts of my living room.

I look forward to presenting at RSCON4. You can see my presentation below. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Will Deyamport, III, MSEd is the former Chief Social Strategist for StrengthsFactors. A filmmaker and Family Life Educator by training, Will has interned for J.T. O'Donnell and has worked in the field of education for 11 years. He has a B.A. Film Production, a B.S. in Child and Family Studies and an MSEd in Professional Studies in Education. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management at Capella University.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Value of my Online Graduate Degrees: It’s an Intense Journey and worth Every Penny

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I was asked to write about my experience as a graduate student attending for-profit online universities, and why it has been one of the best investments in my life so far. It is important to see where I have been, see where I am going, to understand why I made the decision to transition from a traditional brick and mortar non-profit university to a controversial, yet highly competitive online learning environment ten years later.

Some people question why I did not attend my alma mater, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) when I pursued my MBA. My answer is simple…CSULB had a waiting list up the wazoo and I would have been waiting for what would seem like forever just to be admitted into the program. So then why didn’t I apply to an Ivy League school? Well, for three reasons. First, if the waiting list at a prominent state university was ridiculously long, how long of a wait do you think I would have had applying for an MBA program at one of these other universities? Second, other than maybe a thirty-five minute commute to the University of Southern California (USC), there was no way that I was going to relocate to another part of the state or across the nation just to attend an Ivy League school. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, have you checked out the cost of tuition at those schools?

I have always been focused and concerned with getting the best education, but to pack my bags and move two to three years so that I could have bragging rights and tuition two to three times what I was accustomed to, was and is ridiculous…for me and what I need. I began to search for universities that spoke to me, provided me with the education and knowledge that I desired as a business consultant and future educator, and that would challenge my mind. I don’t like the easy road, I don’t like short-cuts, and I don’t want an easy “A”; I want to earn everything I receive, and the blood, sweat and tears that goes along with the hard work. So after searching high and low for a competitive university that would be worth every penny invested my search was narrowed to about four schools.

I was at a time in my life where I was also contemplating relocating to another state as I was preparing myself for marriage and family. I needed to attend an accredited school where units were transferable, and I would have the flexibility in my schedule to balance school, my career, and my family life. The answer was clear…Kaplan University. I was nervous about taking online courses, but was confident that my limited experience with online classes at CSULB along with my passion for the Internet would be sufficient enough. I fell in love with Kaplan, my advisory team, my instructors, and the intense workload. Kaplan University has an intense MBA program that requires those students passionate about excellence to invest the most time and energy to succeed.

The easiest part of the program was attending my graduation, and I love that. Kaplan’s online program spoke to my needs as a night owl, so I could work aggressively in my career as a business consultant for half of my day, and focus like a soldier in my academic program the other half of the day. I didn’t have to commute, didn’t have to worry about traffic or finding a parking space on campus; I was able to create and navigate my schedule my way. But even this was no walk in the park. Taking online classes requires outstanding time management skills, dedication, determination, and a can-do attitude. If you are a procrastinator or have poor time management skills, online learning may not be right for you. If you can barely juggle your responsibilities with work and home obligations, online learning may not be the best fit. You literally may have to devote 30-40 hours to research, studying, working on projects and assignments, and participating in discussion threads and in learning team activities. It can feel like a full-time job, but without the bi-weekly or monthly paychecks.

So what possessed me to apply to Capella University soon after my MBA graduation with Kaplan University? Honestly, there are two reasons, the first being that I hadn’t married and had children yet so I decided that this was the best time to earn my PhD, before family became an excuse to not follow through with that dream. Secondly, many of the colleges I wanted to teach business courses through were now requiring instructors to have terminal degrees. I want to teach business courses online and in face-to-face environments, and I didn’t want to waste moments contemplating whether to pursue my doctorate while life past me by…so I began researching brick and mortar, and online doctoral programs. I made contact with Capella University and they knew Kaplan’s system, had a respectful relationship, and would accept many of my MBA units that would apply towards my PhD electives. Even after taking MBA courses, I didn’t know what I was up against when I began my doctoral program with Capella.

There are times I literally stop and burst out into tears as the overwhelming feeling of intense stress seizes my body. The amount of research, course work, and studying has most definitely doubled or even tripled from the work I was expected to do and master in my MBA program. To look back at my Bachelor’s Degree, I could repeat that work with my eyes closed- and that is no knock to my awesome alma mater, CSULB or their fabulous professors. What I mean by that is that earning your PhD is no cake walk. There are no laugh and giggles, partying, and moments of joy while trying to keep your eyes open at 4am and 5am. No, soon after you begin your program, you realize that the only time you will truly be laughing, giggling, partying, and having fun is when you are completely done with your work, and you have crossed the stage at graduation as a Doctor of Philosophy in your area of specialty. No one knows what you are going through except other doctoral learners, and those warriors who have already earned their degree. At times it can be a very lonely space to live within.

Kaplan University and Capella University are in the ranks with those same Ivy League schools that people thought I should have attended. These two universities mean business, provide a level of education that can’t be messed with or logically challenged, stand for excellence and expect excellence from their learners. I was told that a couple of months ago a Harvard Business School professor attended a Capella University event and declared that after much research, digging, comparing and analyzing, Capella University’s online business and technology program is the equivalent to Harvard Business School. This professor expressed his level of respect for what Capella has done, is doing, and plans to do; and the level (and intensity) of the coursework provided to students. He was beyond impressed.

Kaplan and Capella’s professors are not just academics who sit back reading about (and then regurgitating to students) what is going on in their industries; our professors are members of and work within these industries- so as students we are getting knowledge from those professionals who have hands-on experience and expertise in these fields. Who better to learn from and bounce ideas off? They are not just PhD’s they are PhDO’s- they are doing what they teach. I have learned a great deal from both of these institutions, and have applied my learning to my business consulting practice, and I look forward to teaching business courses in the very near future. I thank CSULB, Kaplan, and Capella for helping to guide and mold me as I have developed and grown as a woman and entrepreneur of excellence. My investment in my education has been worth every penny!

Natasha is currently pursuing her PhD in Organization and Management with a specialization in Management Education, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in College Teaching through Capella University. She plans to teach business courses to students and individuals on the collegiate and community-based level. Natasha is also the CEO, Managing Consultant, and woman behind the business consulting firm, Foreman & Associates, LLC. Her company works with prospective, new, and existing business owners who need assistance with start-up, management and operations, research and development, administrative support, and training services. Natasha can be reached at

For more information about Foreman & Associates, LLC visit: