Learning to Lead

Jodi Chowen, managing director of Advising & Careers at BYU, is becoming a better leader through BYU’s education doctorate program
Jodi Chowen
Jodi Chowen. Courtesy of BYU Photo.

Jodi Chowen has a full plate as managing director of Advising & Careers at BYU. But that hasn’t held her back from pursuing an education doctorate (EdD) from the Educational Leadership and Foundations program in the David O. McKay School of Education.

 

“For me, this is not just about getting letters behind my name,” said Chowen. “I want to actually learn, and I want to be able to do something with it.”

 

Chowen has been in administrative positions for almost 10 years. Despite that, she felt compelled to further her education. “I don’t want to feel limited in 10 years,” said Chowen, reflecting on the value of a PhD for her future career.

 

Even if Chowen stayed at her current position, she’d be pleased with the value that has come from the coursework. “I’m already seeing how I can be a better leader in my department,” she related. “I’m sold.”

 

When deciding which school to attend for her EdD, the McKay School wasn’t Chowen’s first choice. “I was a bit resistant to it initially because I had the impression that it was really a program oriented for K–12 administrators,” Chowen shared. “It’s been such a pleasant and absolutely refreshing surprise to find that what I’m learning is absolutely relevant to my area in higher education.”

 

For Chowen, the cohort she studies with has been just as enjoyable and educational as the classes themselves.

 

“They are amazing, awesome people,” Chowen said. “We have the president of the Nebo School District Board in our group, a number of leaders of various school districts, a few directors in higher education, and most recently one of our members, Liz Darger, was put on the general young women’s board [for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].”

 

Chowen's classmates from left to right: Memo Caldera, Jodi Chowen, Kami Alvarez, Jaynie Mitchell, Liz Darger, Suzanne Kimball, Mike Anderson, Kristen Betts, Anthony Bates.
Chowen's cohort from left to right: Memo Caldera, Jodi Chowen, Kami Alvarez, Jaynie Mitchell, Liz Darger, Suzanne Kimball, Mike Anderson, Kristen Betts, Anthony Bates. Photo courtesy of Jodi Chowen.

 

Chowen stands shoulder-to-shoulder with her accomplished classmates. In her four years at University Career Services she has been at the forefront of key changes.

 

The switch to a recruiting software called Handshake from an older, outdated software is one such change. “Overall, especially from a student experience, and I would argue an employer experience, Handshake is far better,” commented Chowen. “It’s a more modern platform and [it is] answering needs that the previous platform didn’t answer.”

 

One of the main benefits of Handshake is it creates a centralized place for recruiters to seek talent from BYU. “It’s like a one-stop-shop for employers,” said Chowen.

 

Part of Chowen’s work with Handshake has been getting the other Church Educational System schools involved. Her meetings with career service directors from BYU–Hawaii and BYU–Idaho have yielded promising results.

 

“[Employers] could get all the BYU schools right there together, and we hope that [BYU’s] high tide of employer recruiters would then raise the tide at the other schools,” said Chowen. “It has been a big collaborative effort.”

 

Soon to be armed with an EdD from the McKay School, Chowen is primed to accomplish even more in her leadership role.

 

“I think that there are great principles that are being taught about leadership and organization and I have a lot more to learn in the years that I have ahead of me,” Chowen related. When asked whether she would recommend the program, she enthusiastically said, “Absolutely yes, I would.”

 

Read more about Chowen and Handshake in this article from The Universe.

 

Writer: Jake Gulisane

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1257