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J. Dean May photo Alumni Spotlight


J. Dean May

Full Professor; Head, Department of Social Work; Western Kentucky University

Ed.D., Personnel Services with a concentration in Higher Education

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Alumni: Dr. J. Dean May

J. Dean May, Full Professor
Head, Department of Social Work
Western Kentucky University
Ed.D., 1990, Personnel Services with a concentration in Higher Education.

Why did you choose Higher and Adult Education?

I chose the higher education concentration due to my desire to become a well-rounded faculty member. The typical doctoral program in social work does not allow one to take the coursework that I was able to take in the higher education program. My higher education coursework included content dealing with college students, college cultures, college teaching, the organizational structure of higher education, and historical and comparative issues in higher education. This content did much in preparing me first as a faculty member and later as an administrator in higher education.

How did this degree prepare you or improve your preparation for your current role?

My current role as a department head requires a well-rounded approach in terms of dealing with the challenges facing academic units within a university. My initial interest in the higher education concentration focused on college students and college teaching. As it turns out, the other coursework dealing with the broader issues of higher education assisted me as I moved into administrative roles. The opportunity to work as a graduate assistant in the Center for the Study of Higher Education also served as vital learning opportunity.

What impact has your degree had on your life or career?

My degree has allowed me to achieve my goals of working with students, teaching, and having a career within a university setting. The degree's emphasis on higher education was exactly what I wanted to study at the time of my doctoral work and it has continued to pay dividends over the years. Special thanks to Dr. Patricia Murrell.

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Last Updated: 2/1/12