Professionals of Park

DR. DEBRA OLSON-MORRISON | DIRECTOR OF THE MASTERS OF SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR

"My position at Park is Director of the Masters of Social Work Program and Assistant Professor. I teach Social Work Research, Program Evaluation and Grant Writing, and Leadership, Supervision, and Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Social Work. I am also the Faculty Advisor for Phi Alpha Social Work Honors Society, and this year I was awarded a Faculty Fellow position.
I teach what would be known as the more “cerebral” topics in social work, and, to be honest, students aren’t chomping at the bit to take research and program evaluation (required courses in the MSW curriculum). Most of them are even a little scared to take research. I have to be proactive about engaging students.  I try to do this by providing them with warmth, receptivity, and genuine positive regard. Something that works really well for me is inserting a lot of humor into these dry subjects. Most the time that means humbling myself by telling silly jokes, dancing and singing, or even inserting funny memes about research into powerpoint slides. In all seriousness, research and evaluation are so important in human services, and I believe my biggest impact in the classroom with students relates to imparting the importance of critical thought around using research and evaluation skills in social work practice in order to be ethical practitioners. So, despite teaching the “dry” courses, my favorite part of the job is facilitating student growth and knowledge in these subjects. Beyond that, students are aware of my mantra “what can I do to support you?” Working with students is my greatest privilege, therefore their success is my success (which is why I work at and love Park, and the organization that shares my values).

Faculty and staff in my department know I am organized and see things critically. These are great skills for a newly appointed MSW Director! I hope faculty sees me as reliable, genuine, and trustworthy. My goal is to provide support and structure for all faculty and staff, with the hope that if I can provide support for them to achieve their potential, this will translate into their work with students. We have a great team here, with a reputation for truly caring about student success, and I love that!

I am afraid I am not clever enough to come up with advice that doesn’t sound trite or hasn’t been cited a million times before. Yet, I would say that it’s so easy to get lost in the hour, the day, even the week. School, relationships, and just day to day “stuff” can cause so much anxiety and stress, it is almost too easy to lose sight of who we are and who we desire to become.  An hour, a day, a week does not define your life and it doesn’t define you. Keep your focus on your core values; align your academics, relationships, and actions with those values. And laugh a lot. Life is always better with laughter."

DR. DONNA HOWELL | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY

"I am an associate professor of chemistry.  The courses I mainly teach are organic chemistry, advanced inorganic chemistry, general chemistry and introductory chemistry.  Basically, if it is synthetic chemistry, I teach it.  I love chemical reactions, especially those that are exciting (I’m a closet pyromaniac, I guess.) 

The part of my job I truly love is watching students become excited about science.  I love watching the light bulbs come on as they see how science, and especially chemistry, impacts their everyday lives.  I also enjoy watching students progress through the degree from somewhat timid scientific interest as freshmen to a full-blown passion for the field at graduation.  Knowing I had some small part in that is extremely rewarding. 

As for faculty and staff, I love that Park is truly a big family.  I love that a research idea I have may overlap with something another faculty member in education or business is doing and we can collaborate. 

Be Curious, first and foremost!  Ask questions, stretch your understanding in every class!  Don’t be afraid to discuss issues (politely) with those you may disagree with.  Always reach for a better explanation than is currently out there."

PROFESSOR GLENN LESTER  |  ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AND FIRST-YEAR WRITING PROGRAM COORDINATOR

"I teach students to use writing and literature as tools to understand the world, engage with others, know themselves, and bring about change. I also coordinate our first year writing curriculum, which means that I make sure that all our students get what they need out of their EN105 and EN106 courses. And I mentor honors students, and advise the Scribe club, and pursue research on effective writing instruction, and write fiction, and develop online courses, and keep up with the latest developments in the worlds of composition, literature, and creative writing, and, and, and . . .

My favorite part of the job is talking with students one-on-one about their writing. There’s nothing like the moment when a student realizes that they have something to say and that they are the only person who can say it like they can. Students: your words have power, and your experience matters!

Advice? Do good work, and the right people will notice. Read for pleasure. Find a mentor. Practice collaborating. Exercise. Know that everybody here wants you to succeed. Know that you’ll fail, and you’ll make mistakes, and that’s okay. But it’s up to you to learn from your mistakes."

KARI MIDDLETON | CAMPUS CENTER DIRECTOR, DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, TUCSON, AZ
"I am the Campus Center Director for Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ.  CCD’s are higher education’s jacks of all trades (and master of some) as we not only ensure successful day to day operations for our centers, but on any given day we are success coaches, admissions reps, financial aid counselors, or VA benefit advisors (just to name a few).  It’s a very positive and rewarding job, from the pep talks encouraging students through difficult classes to the smiles on graduation day, it’s all worth it in the end.  My favorite part of my job is hands down the amazing students!  At last year’s graduation, I thanked the students for letting me be a part of their journey and I truly meant it.  Here at Davis-Monthan, the majority of the students are active duty military members or veteran’s, each coming to the table with different experiences and knowledge.  I love sitting in on the first day of class and listening to each student introduce themselves, I learn something new every term.  I’ve been in higher education for almost 10 years, the most recent two with Park and I can say without a doubt that this has been my favorite position thus far.
I have a sign above my desk that says “You are the author of your own life story, so make it a good one.”  We each make choices (take or don’t take a class, apply or don’t apply for that dream job), some choices may be seen as silly or risky but in the end, it’s your story, what do you want yours to say?"

DR. JOLENE A. LAMPTON | ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT, ACCOUNTING, AUSTIN CAMPUS CENTER                 

"In my position as Area Coordinator for the MBA - Accounting program, I enjoy interacting with students.  The impact is paving students' career pathways to better jobs/careers.

The one piece of advice I have is that professional certifications make a huge difference in career success.  I look among the multitude of professional certifications that can make students' careers shine!"

KENA WOLF | ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR CAMPUS CENTER OPERATIONS
"As the Associate Vice President of Campus Center Operations, I get to work with an amazing group of Park professionals around the country to provide a high-quality education and world class service to Park students who are at a distance.  I enjoy looking for ways to help students have the best possible experience wherever they are. It’s exciting and inspirational to observe the student interactions our staff at the campus centers have every day and I am proud of the care they provide to every student.  I believe that a higher education should be accessible and this position helps me play a major role in that accessibility.   I also really enjoy the collaborative culture at Park. Every colleague I work with willing to work together across departments for the benefit of our students.  That makes me proud to be a Pirate!

The best career advice I can offer is to know yourself and what is meaningful to you then connect your career to that passion.  If you are in tuned with WHY you do what you do, then you can’t help but be successful.  Look for opportunities to grow by getting involved with projects you know nothing about, force yourself to learn new things, and ask questions.  No one expects you to know everything, so focus on your strengths and be humble enough to own your areas of opportunity.  Find the people who do what you struggle with well and make friends. Lastly, enjoy your work! You will spend most of your time working so make up your mind that it’s the place you want to be."

DUSTIN WALL | DIRECTOR OF COUNSELING CENTER, COUNSELING CENTER
"As Director of the Park University Counseling Center, I oversee the mental health counseling services provided to our amazing students and supervise our fantastic clinical staff.  As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), I help students navigate their college and life experience by talking with them in weekly sessions.  Meeting with students and helping to support them is hands down the best part of my job.  I get to know students personally and we deal with the successes and challenges of life together.  It’s an honor and a responsibility I don’t take lightly.  I love working at Park and I’m inspired daily by the students with whom I have the privilege to work.

Most of our students have seen some adversity in their lives, in one way or another.  I’d encourage anyone who is open to self-learning to always push themselves to achieve things they don’t think are possible and create a new definition in their lives.  I like to think that courage, patience, and persistence in the face of adversity are not broad, sweeping personal characteristics but rather a sequence of difficult choices that can build on each other.  I often say to students that each time you face adversity (which, if you’re pushing yourself to grow should be often), you have a choice about how to respond.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that starting with one strong choice can turn the tide.  And with consistency, making good choices, again and again, you can change who you are, how you see yourself, and how you operate in your everyday life.  Keep pushing, make healthy choices, care about the people around you, and you might see yourself leading others to do the same."

JARED FLAHERTY | DIRECTOR OF LMS SUPPORT, PARK DISTANCE LEARNING
"I have the privilege of working as the Director of Canvas Support at Park University.   I work to help keep Canvas running smoothly.    I enjoy the challenge of a constantly changing system that always keeps me on my toes.      I’m proud to be part of a team that supports Canvas in all courses at Park University.
Here's my advice. Be yourself.    Go to class.   Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions.    It’s never too late to be what you want to be.    Always order the tacos.   Use the Canvas Mobile App.   Do what feels right.   And, yes, seriously…Go to class!"

JOSLYN CREIGHTON | DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDENT SUCCESS, GRADUATE ADMISSIONS

“As the Director of Graduate Student Success, I get the privilege of supporting Graduate students in their programs through graduation. My team and I assist with registration, advising, funding, and program questions for our 2,000+ students. The Graduate programs have grown so much in my nearly 12 years with Park University and we strive to provide the best service that we can. The greatest feeling that we experience is when students are so appreciative of our guidance and send us the kindest notes of thanks for encouraging them. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students that we have been working with for two or more years on the graduation list and walking across the stage to get hooded. We interact with a lot of working adults who are trying to fit school into their very busy lives and seeing them reach their goal is a very proud moment. Their success is very much our success and we are in this together!

I also work with the individual Graduate Programs (faculty and staff) to help make the student experience the best that it can be. Whether we are working to streamline services and communications or trying to add on new programs, we have a team based approach and work well together. It is exciting to see new programs that they would like to launch, initiatives to pursue, and opportunities that they want to make students aware of. To be able to work with such passionate colleagues makes the work even that much more fulfilling. Also, the collaborative environment that I work in helps to provide students with the resources that they need to be successful in the programs.

When it comes to advise that I would provide to students, I would say to never give up. Coming back to earn a Master’s degree is a very worthwhile venture and life can get in the way or a tough class can make you frustrated, but you need to keep moving forward. We understand the sacrifices that you are making to go to the next level for your career and we do not take for granted the hard work that you are putting in to achieve your goal. Continue to take those steps in the journey to complete your degree, tap into the resources that we offer, and do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are invested in helping you receive your diploma and we know that you can do it. Keep up the amazing work that you are doing and know that we are very proud in what you are reaching to achieve!”

 

Jon Ritterbush | Director of Library Services & Learning Commons

“I have been a librarian for over 20 years and am honored to serve as the Director of Library Service and the Norrington Learning Commons at Park University.  I work with some outstanding colleagues to maintain the library’s online databases, the print collections stored underground, the university’s archives, and the learning facilities and assistance based in Norrington.  I’ve also been an information junkie all my life, so I’ve always enjoyed helping students and faculty connect with the sources they need, whether it’s a book, an online journal article, streaming video, or a statistical table. “This is perfect!” are three golden words I strive to hear.

When I’m not working, I enjoy running outdoors and am currently training for my third marathon.  An African proverb says that if you want to run fast, run alone; if you want to run far, run together. This same wisdom could apply to the pursuit of a university diploma.  Students should never feel they must go it alone to succeed academically. Research, tutoring, and mentoring assistance is available to all Park students regardless of their major or location. My advice would be to seek help without shame, and once you’re confidently succeeding in a class, offer to study with your classmates or encourage them to seek help from the Norrington Learning Commons staff (see www.park.edu/library or www.park.edu/asc).  All of the Norrington staff are here to help students go farther.”

 

Jenny Keane | Development Director, University Advancement

“As a Development Director, I help match the needs of the University with the passions of alumni and friends of Park. The favorite part of my job is meeting with alumni from across the country, hearing their Park stories and sharing how they can impact our current students. It’s very rewarding when you meet with an alumnus who shares that without the scholarships from Park and the individual attention they wouldn’t be who they are today.

My advice? Combine your strengths with your passion. I always wanted to change the world but didn’t want to be in social services. I found a way to combine my strengths in marketing and my passion for impacting other’s lives when I became a fundraiser. When you are excited about what you do every day, your passion will help you be successful. When you are unhappy at your job your coworkers know. Always be a positive and respectful team member. Take responsibility and learn from your mistakes. You’ll make them. Remember to learn from them.”

 

 

Dr. Roger Kugler | Director, International Center for Music

“As the Director of the International Center for Music, I serve our students and faculty in a wide variety of ways. This is a unique position with responsibilities for managing the academic program including scheduling of classes, curriculum assessment, and development, submission of reports to academic affairs, assigning faculty workloads, assessing faculty work, etc. Additionally, I collaborate with my music colleagues to establish, schedule and implement a very busy recital and concert series (over 70 events in the 2016-2017 year), managing ticket sales, budgeting, contracts for guest performers, and contracting venues for all performances. Managing the operational budget, fundraising, and accounting for all music scholarships are part of my fiduciary responsibilities. I love my work, and every day is new, different, and exciting. I most enjoy the constant interaction I have on a daily basis with our incredibly gifted students and faculty. The music faculty at ICM are the most dedicated professionals that I have ever been with in my 35 plus years of music administration in higher education. It is an honor to serve Park University and I can’t always find the words to express my appreciation for all the support we receive from the administration, board of trustees, and campus faculty and staff. The ICM program at Park University is truly a “world-class” program that helps make Park unique and distinctive.

My advice? Dream big, work hard, never give up, and keep as many options available as possible.”

 

GINA REED | VENDOR MANAGER, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

I am the Vendor Manager for the Information Technology Services (ITS) department. This means I am the liaison between Park and any ITS-related equipment or software vendors, and the majority of technology purchased Park comes through me. I would have to say that one of my favorite parts of the job is to take part in the various projects that enhance the technology used by our students, faculty, and staff. Building out the new Norrington Center, redesigning the Downtown campus, and implementing Pirate Patch are some of my favorite projects that I have recently worked on. These projects created better facilities for the students to use as well as allowed students the ability to attend courses they otherwise would not have been available to them.

My advice to the students is to take advantage of the technology Park provides and to provide feedback to us on how we can improve your technological experience at Park. We are always looking for ways to enhance your involvement at Park so that you can get the most out of your education and be better equipped with the tools you will need in the workplace.”

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Park University's degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.