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American Association for Adult and Continuing Education

Instructional Technology

Lisa earned an MS in education with a concentration in the Instructional Technology, or IT Online, program in 2015. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Information & Technology Manager / Consultant III
Municipal Technical Advisory Service
Institute for Public Service
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN

I provide IT consulting and professional development opportunities to Tennessee municipal governments in the areas of cyber security and data assurance. I develop and maintain multiple databases for our internal processes and am responsible for our website.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Phi Kappa Phi – 2015
Accomplishments since Graduating

A colleague and I presented at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2016. The presentation, “Building Lifelong Learning Skills through Peer-Supported Formative Assessment”, came directly from a class project. This was my first academic paper presentation and I was thrilled to see the number of attendees at the session. Gaining feedback and insight from others really enhanced my experience as a presenter.

Personal Interests

I am finishing my second year as a doctoral student in the LEEDS (Learning Environments and Educational Studies) program and I don’t have a lot of free time. The time I do have is prioritized for my family and my health. I have a blast spending time with my sons and watching them discover their passions in life. I also enjoy time at the gym and working to improve my physical strength and endurance. Plus its a great stress reducer!

What sold you on this program?

My department began looking at providing online courses to our customers in 2011/12. We wanted to enable municipal officials, who were not available to attend a daytime face-to-face training class, professional development opportunities. Going online seemed the way to go. I started the IT master’s program to increase my knowledge about educational theory, online learning, and assessment. I was sold on the IT program when I discovered that I could attend online and be home in the evenings with my children. I thought it was fitting that a program about IT was offered online – we were learning in the same format as we would be teaching!

What would you tell an incoming student in the program?

I would tell an incoming IT Online student to take advantage of each and every opportunity to collaborate with your peers and your professors. I learned so much from others during my program and established relationships that I will continue for many years to come.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I had been out of school for a very long time when I began the IT Online program. I never would have guessed that my desire to learn how I might best implement online learning at work would turn into a six year academic career resulting in multiple degrees. I developed a love for learning new skills in an academic setting and taking on new challenges. When associate professor, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, mentioned the LEEDS program to our IT cohort, I realized that I did not want my academic career to end and spoke with her about what it would take to become a student in the doctoral program. I have discovered that I thoroughly enjoy the academic environment, the challenge of producing valuable research, and would like to teach at the college level in the future. This is far from my starting goal yet my experiences in EPC have led me to a new understanding of what I’d like to do next in my career.

“The IT Online program is fabulous and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in online learning.”

Adult Learning

Steven earned a PhD in educational psychology and research with a concentration in the Adult Learning (formerly Adult Education) program in 2007. He is originally from Altoona, PA and currently lives in Cookeville, TN. We asked him to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where he’s at now. Read his responses below.

Current Occupation

Associate Professor & Interim Director
School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Tennessee Tech University (TTU)
Cookeville, TN

Interdisciplinary Studies majors create a customized/personalized major built upon two emphasis areas. Because of the nature of our department, I have the opportunity to teach a variety of courses: Adult Learning; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Introduction to Religious Studies; Introduction to Honors; Academic and Community Connections (a summer course for student-athletes); Introduction to the University Experience (freshman student-athletes); and even an honors colloquium – Intro to Ancient Greek!

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • #1 – Finished my Dissertation!!
  • Phi Kappa Phi – 2007
  • Chair of the Graduate Student Group, American Association for Adult and Continuing Education
Accomplishments since Graduating
  • Receiving the TTU Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, and the Award for Excellence in First-Year Experience Instruction in 2016 – teaching is somethings I am passionate about.
  • Serving as the current president of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
Personal Interests

I am passionate about family. My wife Becky and I have been married for 32 years. Jordan and Taylor, our two sons, both graduated from TTU, and live in Knoxville. I enjoy traveling with Becky and any family members we can bring along, fishing (especially in my Kayak), fixing things, playing guitar, and hanging out with special friends.

What do you think was the most rewarding/challenging about this program?

My experience at UT Knoxville truly prepared me for my career at TTU. I was honored to work with some amazing faculty who pushed me and challenged me to branch out and grow: Ralph Brockett and Mary Ziegler in Adult Education, John Peters in Collaborative Learning, Sandra Thomas in Nursing, Howard Pollio in Psychology, and Kathy Greenberg in Educational Psychology. UT Knoxville also gave me opportunities to teach in Educational Psychology and Career and Personal Development that greater prepared me to be a university professor.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I took a position at TTU teaching Educational Psychology courses to undergraduate teacher education students while in the dissertation process. After three years on an that annual contract, I became the first faculty member in the new College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Everything happening in this new program fit my background, experience, and training. Within the past three years we were able to create courses and a minor in Religious Studies, the area of my first three degrees. Did I expect this? No. But it is wonderful to end up exactly where you belong!

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

My relationship with professor Ralph Brockett has continued on in my career beyond UT Knoxville. He has been a constant encourager and colleague, supporting me along the way and still mentoring me as only Ralph Brockett can! At the end of my time as a student I became friends with Jonathan Taylor, who followed me as the Program GA in Adult Education. Over the past few years we have researched, presented, written, and traveled together. On top of that, together with our wives and children we have developed a very special family friendship. Another amazing gift received because of my time at UT Knoxville.

“I am truly grateful for my time at UT Knoxville, and would consider myself a proud product of the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling. My experiences at UT empowered me to grow academically and professionally, and led me to my current position (Steve McCallum recommended me to TTU). Whenever I have the opportunity, I encourage potential students to take a strong look at the Adult Learning program at UT.”