I’ve basically been a Ram since I was three years old. My mother decided to go back to college when I was just a few years old, and sometimes the sitter was busy. So she took me with her to the University of Mobile. She was a history major with a certification to teach. I can actually still remember being in the classroom with her, pretending I could write in cursive. I remember the stairs in Weaver Hall looking so scary because, to me, they were big. My best memory was being in the classroom with Dr. Kenneth Bergdolt, who was teaching music appreciation. He was silly and I liked him a lot.
Fast forward many years, and now I’m working at my alma mater! My Bachelor of Science in Communication, with concentrations in Marketing and Public Relations, was the perfect background for my current role. I am the communications coordinator for the Enrollment Office at University of Mobile. I created and organize all communications for all admission prospects types for all programs. Through this experience I have a deeper understanding of the complexities of recruitment and the effects current trends have on these efforts. But there is so much more to learn about administration in higher education, and I knew I wanted to grow. So when the University of Mobile started the Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Policy in the School of Education, I enrolled! I thought that through furthering my education in higher ed would allow me to expand the current role I have to something even better. I wanted to invest in myself so I could, in turn, invest in the University of Mobile.
The Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership & Policy has two enrollment options: fast track and traditional. Fast track students complete the program in one year, while traditional completes in two years. In short, fast track doubles the course work so you can graduate quicker. I chose traditional, and the schedule and blended class types worked so well with my schedule. The classes are incredible, challenging and eye-opening. We study topics from the history of higher education to current issues students are facing today. There’s a class on international programs and study abroad. You also spend time studying leadership theories and how to implement certain styles to anywhere you work. Each class requires quite a bit of research and writing. Through this research, I began to think how I can offer solutions right where I am.
The courses are beneficial for graduate students interested in working in higher education, whether they have experience in the field or not. This degree can be applied to any staff position at a college or university, and there is a definite focus on leadership through a Christian worldview. It is a blended program that schedules in-person class time as well as online courses. These class schedules worked so well for me, and I’m a full-time working parent!
Working in higher education is completely different from being a college student, and I am fascinated by the inner workings of it. From my experiences working in the college’s financial aid and admissions offices, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of that aspect of higher education. But that is only a piece of the picture. Through this master’s degree, I am furthering my education past my own work experience and preparing myself for broader leadership roles throughout higher education.
Working in higher education is like nothing else I’ve been a part of before. Every year is different, every recruited class is different, there is never a dull moment! We have such a great opportunity to invest in the future of our society by being our best for the next generation. We are all directly involved in the development of the college student, preparing them for the next stage in their lives. It’s a very exciting place to be!