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As a college economics instructor, Noreen Templin, EdD ’18, saw opportunities in higher education, but she knew she needed a doctoral degree before she could pursue them.

“Being in higher education, I knew that I would need a terminal degree if I ever wanted to do anything more or different than my current position,” Templin said. “Given my children’s ages, I knew that I had a small window of opportunity to get my doctorate.”

At the time, Templin was an economics instructor at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, and her three children were in kindergarten, fourth grade, and sixth grade. If she were going to pursue a doctorate, Templin knew she was in a now or never situation. She needed to finish before her kids became busy with high school activities.

She enrolled in the Doctor of Education in Leadership in Higher Education program in Wichita and immediately found it to be a good fit.

“I chose Baker because it was close to my home and work, and it was only one night per week without being an online program,” she said. “Baker also had a terminal degree specific to higher education and I could not find that at any other school.”

Templin’s Baker experience quickly exceeded her expectations.

“My experience was beyond what I had imagined,” she said. “I learned so much from the instructors and other students about higher education. I was able to apply what I was learning instantly.”

The program’s biggest benefit for Templin was learning about the significant work taking place in student services. Members of her cohort filled various student services roles, such as advising and retention. Templin still contacts her classmates to ask questions when she faces a student services issue.

“A few years ago, my institution underwent a dramatic change in shifting to a pathways (mentoring and support technology) model,” said Templin. “This required a huge amount of collaboration between faculty, administration, and student services, especially advising. I was able to apply the collaboration model learned from my cohort to working with others who are outside of the academic instruction side.”

In addition to the hands-on implementation of her doctoral course work while she was going through the program, Templin’s degree led to the opportunities she had looked forward to achieving. After graduating with her EdD in May 2018, she was named professor and chair of the Department of Economics at Butler Community College.

“I am amazed at the opportunities in such a short amount of time after finishing,” she said.

Templin has already put the findings from her dissertation, “An Exploration of the Differences in Characteristic between Passing and Non-passing Developmental English Students from a Kansas Community College,” into play in the economics department.

“The institution made some changes to student placement and a deeper focus on instruction and support for students in developmental education,” she said. “In my own position as a professor, my research has changed my teaching in that I have made more conscious efforts to engage students and give them the support to complete their education.”

Templin has presented her research at several conferences, with more on the horizon. This year, she will present at the 61th Annual Council for the Study of Community Colleges and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) 2019 International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence. Templin will also be awarded the 2019 Excellence Award at NISOD’s conference at the end of May.

“I would not be participating all these activities without Baker,” Templin said. “Many doors have opened and opportunities have existed that I could not have even imagined and did not know were there.”

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