Amy Lear started her college degree 20 years ago, but put it on hold to support and raise her family. When her son was ready to start high school, she knew it was time to go back. “I had that expectation for him to go to college,” she says. “I wanted to lead by example.”
Amy met with an advisor at UofL and, after talking about her goals and experience, the advisor told Amy she had the perfect program in mind to build on her background and career goals — the online B.S. in Organizational Leadership & Learning (OLL).
During his time in the military, Robert Carlson attended college, but didn’t graduate. After leaving the service, he took time to reflect on his life and career goals. “It wasn’t so much how to make money because I knew that I had skills that would be marketable,” he explains.
Instead, he was more focused on who he wanted to become and what he wanted to do, questions he says he didn’t have answers for when he first went to college. Robert says he attended another university to finish his degree but it wasn’t the right fit. That’s when he discovered the OLL program through UofL Online and knew he’d found what he was looking for.
Building confidence, reaching goals
Amy and Robert had very different paths, but both had the drive to finish their degrees with the benefit of work and life experience. “The Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership & Learning is a perfect program for adults with some college but no degree,” says Assistant Professor Matt Bergman. “We acknowledge what you have done within the workforce and translate that into academic credit.”
In the OLL program, validation of knowledge, skills and competencies starts with the first major course — Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). The PLA course helps students evaluate and document their learning from work experiences, college credits and specialized training to receive up to 48 credit hours (the equivalent of 16 courses). It not only helps students accumulate credit hours, it also helps build their confidence.
“The process is amazing,” says Matt. “It helps dig into their experiences and their evolution within the workforce.”
“To stop and evaluate those 20 years and really see those accomplishments that you probably take for granted was huge,” says Amy. “To have the opportunity to have 28 hours go towards my college degree and not have to pay the additional fees or attend those additional classes was amazing.”
A supportive learning community
Matt says his favorite part of every semester is hearing the students’ stories and learning their reasons for returning to school to finish their degree, whether it’s career advancement or personal fulfillment. While the “why” varies, he says the OLL program is designed to support each student’s individual success.
“We have a solidarity movement in our program. We will lift each other up, we will create the space to make this a priority in your life and to fulfill the long-held dream of finishing your college degree,” he explains.
All of the full-time faculty in the OLL program have industry experience that directly links to the concepts taught in the classroom, but what makes the program stand out is the dedication to helping each student understand and be able to apply what they learn. “If I had a question, they immediately responded in email,” says Amy. “If that question needed to be answered in person, we were setting up a time and meeting face to face.”
And because the program is 100% online, students can access courses and tools from anywhere and create a schedule that works best for them. It allows students to complete their degree on their terms, with the option to accelerate their degree completion to just three intensive semesters.
For many students, the B.S. in Organizational Leadership & Learning is the degree they need for professional and personal growth, but it also provides an excellent foundation for advancing to the online Master of Science in Human Resources and Organization Development, or other graduate program that fits their career path.
Moving forward, fulfilling dreams
“My wish for our students when they graduate is to fulfill their life’s dreams,” say Matt. “That sounds hokey but it is so true, because with that piece of paper, they have opportunities that were not available to them prior to graduation.”
“Participating in the OLL program really did change the course of my life,” Robert says. “If you want to be surrounded by people who get it and who respect the experience you have and who will help you continue on your trajectory, continue moving forward, then it’s the right program to get into.”
UofL Online can bring the campus to you with the online Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Learning. Find out more and apply today.