This article is the first of a series of articles highlighting how EdLF impacts its students and alumni.
The EdLF office recently sent out a survey asking students, faculty, and alumni how their graduate degree experience has influenced their lives. The department has prepared many students and graduates for careers as school administrators, professors, curriculum directors, CEOs, stay-at-home parents, and even as a member of the House of Representatives. No matter their position in the workplace, those who responded to the survey could recall meaningful ways that their time in one of EdLF’s graduate programs has helped them succeed.
From the 107 responses we received, we found four main themes: their experiences empowered respondents through knowledge, networking, career opportunities, and spiritual experiences.
Most respondents said that the skills they acquired helped them in their current positions. Po Nien (Felipe) Chou, a 2010 EdD Educational Leadership graduate, said that the skills help him in his current position as a manager for Seminaries and Institutes Global Strategic Planning and Development. “It has provided me with the training to be able to absorb research effectively and efficiently, while also expanding my views and perspectives,” said Chou. He also mentioned that it helped him make learning a lifelong pursuit and explore ideas to innovate learning and teaching.
The Leadership Preparation Program (LPP) allowed Allyson Chatterton Stovall, a 2019 MEd and EdD School Leadership graduate, to have an opportunity to learn from a variety of personalities, “My experience taught me to think outside the box for solutions and that I don’t know everything, so the best thing that I can do is surround myself with others who do.”
Susan Kay Dayley Pulsipher, a 2009 graduate and current member of the House of Representatives, said the biggest benefit from her time in the MEd Education Policy Studies program was the knowledge she obtained from listening to others. “I have a deeper understanding of the history of education and educational philosophy. I learned how to conduct research and understand research outcomes,” she said. As Pulsipher has been open to different points of view, she has seen it help her formulate effective policy.
Beyond empowering through knowledge, the EdLF program has helped students make connections through real-life experience. Jarod Sites, a director of human resources, values the internship experiences he had because it helped him develop a network at each point of his career and now allows him to give back. “These mentor relationships continue to be beneficial to me in my current role. I now welcome the chance to mentor other educators seeking a career in educational leadership,” he said.
Robin Chapman Tenbrink, a 2019 graduate and an Intern Assistant Principal, credited the LPP program for her diverse opportunity of experiences which jumpstarted her career, “It is because of this program that I was able to be competitive in multiple administrative pools and receive an administrative job immediately after graduating.”
Alumni have had local and national impact. John Spencer Ovard, a 1988 EdD Educational Leadership graduate, credits the EdLF program for helping him with his career path. “Following my graduation, I obtained a position at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., where I worked for the next 18 years until I retired. I would not have obtained that position without the educational doctorate degree I received from BYU,” said Ovard.
Program experiences prepare graduates to lead by building up those around them. Thomas Charles Paul II, a 2013 graduate, shares how his MEd School Leadership degree has allowed him to help others learn and grow. “Because of my completion of this program, I have been able to assist in opening a new high school; lead teams in the PLC process; build the capacity of teachers, students and other stakeholders; and develop my personal leadership skills,” said Paul.
Iotua Bareeta Tune, a 1987 graduate, appreciates the principles he learned while in the MEd Education Policy program and how it has prepared him for his current position as a Country Manager in Kiribati and the Marshall Islands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s Temporal Affairs. “As a teacher must adapt teaching strategies to the needs of their students, a leader must evaluate the relevancy of current practices, policies, and systems to the people and organization.” As he adapts to changes, Tune is able to build relationships with governments and coordinate legal matters for the Church in Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.
While the EdLF degrees have influenced people in their careers, they also helped students realize the value of the work they do. John Carlisle, a 2017 graduate, shares his viewpoint on why service and education go hand in hand. “The MEd School Leadership program gave me the perspective to become a school leader in a world that needs strength in changing the future of education. I have been grounded because the faith needed to change education is deeply rooted to my faith in Jesus Christ and the purpose of teaching.”
Kristie Bird Wheeler, a 2019 MEd School Leadership graduate and assistant principal, says the thing that stands out the most in her career is servant leadership. “I’ve realized that nothing I do in this job is more important than serving others and seeing their needs. All the other stuff really falls into line if you’re genuinely serving and meeting personal needs of others.”
Writer: Cameron Hussein
Contact: Cynthia Glad 801-422-1922