After a military career that took him across the globe, instructor Howard Rhoden feels right at home at Baker.
Rhoden earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Central Arkansas and then joined the United States Army. His career as an Army aviator spanned almost 23 years and took him and his family all over the world, including Germany, Turkey, and the Netherlands. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After retiring from military service, Rhoden joined the staff at Baker’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies in 1998, serving as a Veterans Affairs certifying official. His supervisor, Dr. Royce Ann Collins, assistant academic dean, encouraged him to pursue a graduate degree so he could begin teaching. He already had experience teaching adult learners during two of his Army assignments.
“I taught Technical Observers at the United States Army Intelligence Center and School,” Rhoden said. “These soldiers were surveillance systems operators. In simple terms, I taught navigation and systems operations on ground as well as practical application inflight on the OV-1D Mohawk. In addition, at the United States Army Command and General Staff College, I was assigned to teach North Atlantic Treaty Organization concepts and operations.”
Rhoden earned a master’s degree in adult and continuing education from Kansas State University and joined the SPGS faculty in 2001.
Rhoden taught business and writing courses at Baker until 2009, and then for three years, he and his wife served on a church mission assignment in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, working primarily with college students from the University of Sonora. When he returned in 2012, he rejoined the Baker faculty as an adjunct instructor and teaches courses in the business program.
“The best part of teaching adults is the interactions that I have with students,” he said. “Being able to help people achieve their academic goals is a reward in itself. As a former adult student, I have an affinity for those who, in addition to their other responsibilities, chose to pursue a college degree. In short, it is a gratifying experience for me.”
In October 2019, the School of Professional and Graduate Studies awarded Rhoden the Bob Campbell Outstanding Faculty Service Award. Recipients of the annual award, faculty members who best support the teaching and learning process at SPGS, are selected by SPGS students.
“Receiving the Bob Campbell Outstanding Faculty Service Reward is a humbling experience,” he said. “[This] marks a high point in my teaching career.”
Rhoden’s contributions to Baker are significant and his influence far reaching. In his nearly 18 years as a faculty member, he has taught 1,234 Baker students, 102 sections of various courses, and 10 subjects, including writing, critical thinking, and orientation courses.
Rhoden hopes he can continue to inspire the students he teaches.
“If nothing else, I hope that my students see the value of inquiry and learning,” he said. “Whether it be in a classroom or another venue, learning is a passion for me. By encouraging my students to pursue learning in all aspects of their lives, I hope they find the satisfaction of being lifelong learners.”