College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Leadership
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K-12 Administration

Higher & Adult Education



HIAD Alumni

Dr. Cynthia B. Calhoun
Professor and Department Chair
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Ed.D. Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Why did you choose Higher and Adult Education?

Higher and Adult Education was a natural fit for me. With an academic background in the study of human behavior, so much of the Higher and Adult Education curriculum, research and literature reviews were related to human behavior and its interaction with the environment. Hence, the study of various learning modalities and venues, both formal and informal, were intriguing, familiar, and exciting as we engaged in the theoretical and practical application of the curriculum. Additionally, my professional tenure within a community college setting catapulted me into building a continuous and proactive academic support system to empower adult learners to acquire the social and academic skills necessary to positively affect their life chances for upward mobility and success. By enrolling in the Higher and Adult Education program, I gained additional strategies and knowledge of trends and resources to better serve the community college student body.

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

The study of leadership in Higher and Adult Education and all of the ancillary subject matter designed to undergird the preparation for a career in the field have been outstanding in assisting me with my personal and professional growth. It has become very clear that there is a difference between managing and leading, and I strongly believe that my experiences in obtaining a doctorate degree in Higher and Adult Education has been effective in my transition to this level of understanding, achievement, and practice. I have stretched beyond my initial knowledge base as change within the profession requires one to do so, and I have seen the same results in many of the individuals for whom I provide leadership.

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

Without question, the completion of the doctorate degree brings with it a higher level of respect from your colleagues and community constituents. There is a clear appreciation for the kind of commitment, perseverance, and hard work required to finish! For me, obtaining the degree adds value to my career accomplishments and has since opened doors to other stimulating ventures of leadership and upward mobility in higher education and the global community at large.


Dr. Mary Ellen Jukoski
College President
Mitchell College
Ed.D.

Why did you choose Higher and Adult Education?

I chose this degree because I wanted to be a college administrator.

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

This degree has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of how to be an effective administrator in leading an institution of higher education and in planning programs for adult learners.

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

Earning the doctorate has provided me with a career that has been professionally rewarding, personally satisfying and I totally enjoy working with students, faculty and staff to make a difference in the lives of others. I am blessed to have chosen this career and I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some awesome people who have contributed to my life as a person and as a professional!


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.


Dr. James (Jim) E. Selbe
President/CEO
Hopkinsville Community College, Hopkinsville, KY
Master of Science, Dec. 1984
Doctor of Education, Dec. 1995

Why did you choose Higher and Adult Education?

It fit perfectly with my career aspirations. I had been working in higher education administration and wanted to know more about becoming completely versed in all aspects of higher education.

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

It thoroughly equipped me for the highest levels of college administration and to effectively serve on national education advocacy groups. Not just the theory, which was important, but to also look at the very pragmatic aspects of higher education. I had an opportunity to study under professors who knew first-hand what it takes to be successful at the highest levels of administration.

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

Without being overly dramatic, it changed my life. Without my degree there was a clearly delineated glass ceiling. By obtaining the doctorate, I was empowered to successfully pursue both a vice-presidency and presidency. It has given me the confidence to face the many challenges that come every day in the president's position.


Rafael Campos-Hernandez
Business Development Director
Human Capital International
Ed.D Higher and Adult Education

Why did you choose Higher and Adult Education?

The program was beneficial. The learning experiences resulted in improvement in not only my teaching, but my leadership style. The faculty at University of Memphis gave me insight on how to be more effective in my career in Mexico. Each one of the teachers was marvelous.

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

The program provided me the opportunity to really challenge where to channel my strengths and to define skills that needed to be expanded in the educational environment. The contact with high tech environments allowed me to dream new educational possibilities, think about how to implement new paradigms in Mexican settings and provided me with tools to build innovation from the ground.

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

The Doctor of Education degree allows me to share my knowledge in different educational settings. The balance provided by the curriculum allows an integration of: administrative training, strategic planning, leadership style, college and universities culture, students centered experiences and effective use of technology. These elements guide my vision in challenges related to: (1) creation of new paradigms linking educational technology with social needs at University settings, (2) improvement of retention and student satisfaction, (3) promotion of innovation among faculty, (4) and development of new online programs, among others.

My current roles in the organization address the consulting services for companies and state organizations promoting human development, educational technology and business improvement. All of this is possible for me thanks not only to the knowledge acquired from The University of Memphis faculty, but also to the passion found in my coaches and teachers.


M. Sharon "Sherry" Herbers
Assistant Professor
The University of the Incarnate Word
San Antonio, Texas
Ed.D Higher and Adult Education 1998

Why did you choose Higher and Adult Education?

While working at Memphis College of Art as Director of Student Life and as a faculty member, I decided that I wanted a degree that would further my development as a professional educator in higher education. Teaching was my passion. My long term goals were to obtain a full-time teaching position and strengthen writing skills. I was the typical adult learner who sought higher education in a time of life transition. I came to HIAD searching for knowledge that could be applied.

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

I teach graduate education courses at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. I apply the theories learned in HIAD courses every single day. Kolb's theory of experiential learning is the theoretical foundation I use to design courses and individual sessions. Mezirow's theory of perspective transformation has been the centerpiece of my research agenda, from dissertation to current studies. The theories have helped me to understand why specific teaching practices are more effective, thus strengthening my own practice. One faculty member was my mentor, another was a muse. I continue to collaborate with Dr. Barbara Mullins-Nelson to develop materials for use in classes and I frequently seek the counsel of Dr. Pat Murrell when planning faculty development programs.

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

I have realized my dream of a full-time teaching position in adult education and I have strengthened my writing skills. In addition, this degree has created opportunities and challenges that I never envisioned. I wrote a play about the early years of Highlander Folk School, a major adult education program involved in social movements since 1932. The play was performed at the 75th anniversary of Highlander in 2007. I have worked with diverse adult learners and witnessed many personal transformations. My work in adult education has deepened my appreciation for storytelling and reflective practice. I am inspired by the past, especially by adult educators who empowered others in the quest for social justice and civil rights. I am inspired in the present by class participants who share this spiritual journey of teaching and learning.

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Last Updated: 2/1/12