NCU Faculty Selected
for Four Presentations at WSCUC Academic Resource Conference
In October 2015, NCU received regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the same commission that accredits other prestigious universities in the U.S.
Just a few months later, seven faculty members and one PhD candidate were invited to represent NCU at this year’s WSCUC Academic Resource Conference held in Garden Grove, Calif., in early April. The conference focused on highlighting higher education’s contribution to the public good and explored issues about how institutions can address the overall needs of our society while also ensuring individual student success. NCU was featured in one presentation and three poster sessions at the event.
Transforming the Faculty: The Teaching Through Feedback Approach – Jeannette Lovern, PhD, Associate Director, Faculty Support and Development
Situated Ed.D. Dissertation Advising in an Online Doctoral Community of Practice – Robin Throne, PhD, and Jennifer Duffy, PhD, School of Education
Quality Work in a Global Environment – Yulia Watters, PhD, Director of Curriculum Development, Darren Adamson, PhD, Department Chair, and Deborah Bell, PhD candidate, all from the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Mapping Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in an Open-Enrollment, Distance-Based University: Strategies for Training Competent Mental Health Therapists – Elaine Willerton, PhD, and Annabelle Goodwin, PhD, Department of Marriage and Family Sciences in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
“Representing NCU as an accredited member brings good visibility and authenticity to our work,” says Duffy, who along with Throne, presented the advising model they have been formulating with colleagues to help move students successfully through their dissertation phase.
“Another strength of WSCUC is that they care about diversity, and this gave us a great opportunity to share more about our efforts in this area.”
— Annabelle Goodwin, PhD
“We’d like to bring additional voices from the other institutions, including our WSCUC partners, into this continued research,” adds Throne.
Building on the momentum of multiple articles about her “Teaching through Feedback” approach that have been published over the past few years, Lovern says the conference was a great opportunity to share with other WSCUC members how NCU provides coaches to its faculty so there is continuous improvement. “Coaching has long been known to assist novices, but in the 21st century, coaches are now also used to help veteran practitioners.“
Watters, Adamson and Bell shared their findings on the importance of engagement from faculty and administration in quality teaching. “A sense of human connection in the educational process makes it more meaningful for faculty and more engaging for students,” explains Watters. “This conference provided a venue to discuss the important issues of access and quality of education, generate some new ideas and create action items for the future.”
“Another strength of WSCUC is that they care about diversity, and this gave us a great opportunity to share more about our efforts in this area,” adds Goodwin. She and Willerton shared their distance-based model to provide premier graduate education to students around the world.
“In the past it would have been difficult or impossible for many students to obtain their degrees in Marriage and Family Sciences because of where they live, but now that opportunity is open to working professionals wherever they are,” Willerton says. “It’s exciting because this means that more professionals will have the training and education necessary to provide service in their communities addressing pressing issues.”
“Every day we are reminded about how much the world is changing in both good and bad ways.”
Elaine Willerton, PhD
In addition to the opportunity to present, share ideas and get to know fellow members, the NCU team appreciated the conference’s focus on higher education serving the public good, a critical issue facing universities today. Duffy says she was thrilled about the theme, adding that higher education should uphold its original mission to serve society and prepare students not just for professions, but also for citizenship.
“Personally, I think this is so important,” adds Throne, “especially as regional accreditation expectations have begun to require institutions to articulate the public and societal contributions of higher education and the service it provides to our world.”
Goodwin and Willerton say serving the public good resonates very strongly among individuals in their field. Marriage and family therapists are by nature helpers, and students who enroll in the program want to make a difference. Often they have experienced a bad situation in their own lives and plan to take their NCU training back to benefit their community. “Every day we are reminded about how much the world is changing in both good and bad ways,” says Willerton. “But no matter what field we are in, there is always a need in the world that we can address.”
Lovern and Adamson suggest that NCU and its students are uniquely prepared to address societal issues. Lovern points out that because NCU students are generally mid-career professionals, they are likely already serving. “By completing NCU graduate degrees and gaining the associated requisite skills and knowledge, they are better able to take on this responsibility.”
“It’s been demonstrated that education is the key to opportunity in the lives of people around the world,” adds Adamson. “NCU is particularly poised to provide accredited educational programs to students around the globe and to make a difference for individuals and communities everywhere.”
Darren W. Adamson
PhD, LMFT, Chair, Department of Marriage and Family Sciences, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
PhD, Core Faculty, Foundations Faculty, Department of Marriage and Family Sciences, School of Social and Behavioral Science
PhD, Associate Director, Faculty Support and Development, School of Education
Jennifer O’Connor Duffy
PhD, Core Faculty, School of Education
PhD, Core Faculty, Dissertation Chair/Committee Member, School of Education
PhD, LMFT, Director of Curriculum Development, Department of Marriage and Family Sciences, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
PhD, LMFT, Interim Director of Assessment, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences