Distance learning creates opportunity to get my B.S.The following is another “Have Fun or Get Out of the Way” column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.
By: By Don Leighton, Superior Telegram
What began way back in the fall of 1969 finally became a reality in July 2010.
To put things in perspective, the United States first landed on the moon in July 1969 when I was 17. Now, because of Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek, we cruise the various galaxies of our dreams. (Please forgive me if I spend time straddling the fine line of reality and make believe. Sometimes make believe is better.)
People said, “No way. It can’t be done! It will never happen.”
The movie, The Bucket List, got me thinking, an iffy proposition, at best. I asked myself the question: “Why do you have to have a terminal illness to have a bucket list?”
Every day, each of us has things that need to be done. Whether they are short-term needs or long-term goals, don’t we all have things we need to do?
Well, because of the help of some great people at UWS, particularly his advisor Glenn Carlson, Registrar Barb Erickson, and staff of the Distance Learning Center, Lance Boyle has finally graduated from college. He has volunteered to be the commencement speaker this December, but he needs to be nominated.
Oh, the things he could tell his fellow classmates!
If they are smart, they will not give him a microphone, unless they have a couple of days to waste.
The driving forces behind the completion of my bachelor of science (B.S.) degree, how ironic, were two very special friends, Pat Flynn and UWS Head Women’s Soccer Melissa Nelmark. Flynn is my webcasting partner for basketball games on ifan sports network. For the better part of five years, he has accused me of not having graduated from high school. It was always said in jest, but I am extremely proud of my high school education at Northwestern.
Melissa has done some color commentary on UWS basketball games. She asked where I went to college; apparently, my suave and worldly ways belied my lack of higher education. When told that I was 24 credits short of my degree, she was shocked and encouraged me to finish what I had started.
Melissa helped me to fill out the little paperwork required. Since I was a phy-ed major and psychology minor, Glenn Carlson, the head of the Health and Wellness Department became my advisor. I then met with Peter Nordgren, associate dean for Distance Learning, and his incredible staff, particularly Christina Kline, who guided me along the path to graduation. Not being the traditional student – no kidding – she provided me all the tools and information I needed to become, Lance Boyle, B.S.
There are plenty of former college students from UWS and elsewhere that may be able to check off one of their “bucket list” items. If going to college was important at one time in your life, go back, finish, and feel better about yourself. Nordgren and the DLC is the place to start.
The Distance Learning Center got its start in 1978 as the Extended Degree Program. It became the DLC in 2001. Since the beginning, the program has helped more than 1,000 nontraditional students graduate with their degree. Today more than 400 are enrolled in the program with most between the ages of 25-45. (Peter says I am rare. I’m not sure if that is a compliment, or not.) While I needed 24 credits, most students need 30-60 to complete their college education.
I am going to let Peter fill you in regarding the philosophy of the DLC:
“The Distance Learning Center is a bridge between the university and students who want to complete a bachelor’s degree but can’t attend classes regularly on campus. We ensure that distance from campus, job duties, family responsibilities, or military service commitments aren’t barriers to achieving their goals. Online learning systems make it possible to do this wherever and whenever students are able to study.
“Many of our students have been away from education for years or even decades. They may have never begun a degree beyond high school, or started a degree but didn’t finish. They sometimes feel they’re the only ones in their age group coming back to learn. We help them understand they are not alone, and we help them to navigate the university. In addition to offering online learning, we often help students request credit for university level learning they may have achieved through professional development, military service, or other experience.”
I can attest to what Nordgren says. Although it was no walk in the park, the DLC was with me every step of the way. I cannot thank UWS and the Distance Learning Center enough, for what they have done for me. To obtain my degree is a big deal. My heartfelt thanks go to Glenn Carlson, Barb Erickson, Christina Kline, Melissa Nelmark, Peter Nordgren and everyone else who had to put up with me.
For further information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (715)394-8487.
With accomplishment, after 41 years, I can proudly say, “I am Lance Boyle, B.S.”
Opinions and/or story ideas can be e-mailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org