UC Grad Never Set Foot on Campus
But come Commencement on June 10, this grad with a 4.0 GPA will march in the morning ceremony and see UC’s campus for the first time.
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Thirty-seven-year-old University of Cincinnati grad Kathy Chance of El Dorado, Calif., has never seen the completed MainStreet corridor or Varsity Village, both celebrated this spring. In fact, she’s never seen a single construction fence on UC’s campus. That’s because she’s never actually been on campus. Kathy is one of 27 distance learners graduating with a master’s degree from the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services’ educational leadership program. And, she’s flying to UC from northern California to march in the 10.a.m. All-University Commencement Ceremony. Her parents will be flying in from Oregon for the occasion.
UC’s educational leadership distance learning program prepares students to become educational administrators, allowing them to complete a two-year program of study including a field experience. The college recruited 31 students when the nationally accredited program came online in 2003. The program reported 255 e-learners in autumn quarter 2005, representing 36 states and four other countries: Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico and United Arab Emirates. The educational leadership distance learning program celebrated its first graduates, 22 of them, last summer.
Kathy says she was on a pretty specific career ladder, working for the Los Angeles Community College District, when she started an Internet search for colleges offering a master’s degree in education. After comparing UC’s program to many others, she says the design of the program, its curriculum and UC’s century-old tradition of preparing educators appealed to her. However, Ann Millacci, UC program coordinator for the educational leadership distance learning program, wasn’t initially sure if the program was going to be the right fit for Kathy.
“She did not have the typical background of someone looking into a principal licensure program.” Millacci explains, “She had never been a teacher. Kathy convinced me that she would be a good fit for the program, even though her background was in higher education instead of K-12. I could not be happier that she did,” says Millacci.
“Kathy truly had a life-changing experience as a result of the coursework in the program,” says Millacci. “There was obviously a reason, beyond simply completing a master’s degree, that Kathy applied to our program. She truly changed her life and found a rewarding and challenging career.”
“I initially wanted to receive my degree to further my career at the Los Angeles Community College District,” Kathy explains. “But as I took the classes and interacted with fellow students and my instructors, I was motivated to try the K-12 realm. Once I started working with the younger kids, I was hooked,” she says.
In fact, as she pursued her degree, Kathy quit her job, moved to El Dorado County and eventually gained a position as an administrative intern at a vocational school for at-risk teenagers.
“Once I took a long look at how much I had grown both personally and professionally. I was really quite amazed,” she says. “I owe the program a lot for helping me find a better place in life.”
Kathy’s future involves working as a teacher-in-charge at the vocational school where she interned. She plans to gain experience in both teaching and administration at the school over the next three years, which would also bring about her credentials to be licensed as a principal in California. “I have learned over the last two years, thanks to UC somewhat, to be wide open to any possible changes and embrace them.”
Kathy calls her experience and interactions with K-12 students amazing. “I have never had a job where I have learned more, laughed more, and gone home feeling more rewarded each day.”