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UC’s Innovative Distance Learning Program Helps Grad Follow Family Tradition

Nearly all of Jason Tackett’s family has chosen careers in K-12 education. As he marches in December Commencement, he also follows two sisters who achieved their master’s degrees from UC via distance learning.

Date: 12/7/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   Jason Tackett of Williamsburg, Ohio, is one of UC’s 2009 summer graduates coming to campus to march at the University of Cincinnati Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 12. His achievement of a master’s degree in educational leadership continues a long family line of educators. His achievement of a UC master’s degree via distance learning from UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) continues a family tradition as well. Both of his sisters achieved their master’s degrees through UC’s Educational Leadership Distance Learning Program in 2007.
Jason Tackett
Jason Tackett

The UC Educational Leadership Program is dedicated to “preparing excellent leaders for excellent schools.” The college reports that hundreds of graduates of the program currently serve in school leadership positions throughout the Cincinnati USA region and beyond. The program provides graduate study, research and field experience for educators and offers a variety of degree and licensure programs as part of its mission.

Tackett began considering the program when he took over as acting athletic director at Clermont Northeastern High School. He says the program has already opened new opportunities. At the age of 27, he is now assistant principal at the high school.

Tackett’s sisters entered the distance learning program together in 2005 and graduated in 2007. One of them, Sabrina Armstrong, is the head middle school principal at Felicity-Franklin Middle School. She has continued her professional development at UC since earning her master’s degree. As her brother was completing his master’s degree last summer, Sabrina entered the Educational Leadership Executive Leadership Institute and Superintendent Licensure Program, a year-long program of study to obtain the requirements for a superintendent’s license.

Tackett’s other sister, Tabitha Shumate, works as an art and physical education teacher at Mt. Orab Middle School. A brother, Josh, is a business teacher at Pendleton County High School in Kentucky. Another sister, Heather, remains dedicated to the family tradition of service. She’s a nurse.

All of them are children of educators as well. Tackett’s mother Velma, is a PE teacher at Mt. Orab Elementary School and his father, Charles, is a retired special education and physical education teacher. Charles Tackett is currently athletic director at Clermont Northeastern High School. The parents plan to attend UC’s Commencement Ceremony to celebrate the latest family achievement in education.

Like many other students working to achieve a higher degree while working a full-time job, Tackett says the distance learning option was the way to go. “Since I was an athletic director, I was also working a lot of nights. There was no way I could have taken traditional classes. It was a matter of time and convenience.”

“Our typical student is a full-time teacher who is highly motivated at his or her school, who has become involved in school-related activities outside the classroom,” says Ann Millacci, director of UC’s Educational Leadership Program. “Distance learning is ideal for these highly motivated individuals like Jason who want to take the next step in advancing their education. I constantly hear feedback from our distance learners about the program’s flexibility and about the positive experiences they’ve had in working online with our faculty and staff.”

Jason Tackett

But, Tackett adds that convenience doesn’t mean that distance learning is easy. Self discipline is a must. “Time management is key,” he says. “You need to get the work done, and stay on schedule, if you want to stay on track.”

Tackett will be attending a celebration for the educational leadership graduates from 8-9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, in the Annie Laws Room of the Teachers College (Room 407) preceding the Commencement Ceremony. After the meet-and-greet with fellow graduates and the program’s faculty and staff, the group will get dressed in their academic regalia and the new graduates will be escorted to the ceremony by the program’s faculty and staff. Tackett is looking forward to meeting face-to-face with some of the graduates who were in his cohort. “I developed a good relationship with some of them over the Internet – sending e-mails back and forth,” he says.

And, despite this milestone, Tackett may not be quite through with following the family pathway to higher learning at UC. Like his sister, Sabrina, he wants to pursue his superintendent’s license.

More on Distance Learning at UC

The majority of UC’s distance learners, 1,822, are in programs in the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). The college has 217 students in the educational leadership distance-learning program. In addition to launching online coursework to provide more flexible options for students on campus, CECH is also growing online programs. As part of its strategic plan for the 2009-2010 academic year, the college is expecting its online programs to account for 50 percent of its student enrollment growth.

UC’s distance learning enrollment has shown significant growth over this decade:

UC Students Enrolled in Distance Learning Degree Programs

  • Autumn 2000 – 213 students
  • Autumn 2001 – 245 students
  • Autumn 2002 – 386 students
  • Autumn 2003 – 642 students
  • Autumn 2004 – 1,213 students
  • Autumn 2005 – 1,937 students
  • Autumn 2006 –  2, 290 students
  • Autumn 2007 –  2,559 students
  • Autumn 2008 –  2,809 students
  • Autumn 2009 –  3,242 students 

UC’s Growth in Distance Learning Degree Programs

  • 2003 – 8 degree programs
  • 2004 – 9 degree programs
  • 2005 – 14 degree programs
  • 2006 – 15 degree programs
  • 2007 – 16 degree programs
  • 2008 – 16 degree programs
  • 2009 –  23 degree programs

Degree Program Options- 2009

  • Associate degree programs  – 2
  • Bachelor degree programs  – 6
  • Master degree programs – 15

UC Colleges that Offer Distance-Learning Opportunities (programs, certificates or courses)

  • College of Allied Health Sciences
  • College of Applied Science
  •  McMicken College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Pharmacy
  • Clermont College
  • Raymond Walters College
  • UC Colleges that Offer Degree Programs Online
  • CECH
  • College of Applied Science
  • College of Allied Health Sciences
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Nursing

Distance Learning & Outreach at UC

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UC Commencement Information

UC Commencement News