Thursday, August 8, 2019

Lean on Me: Developing a Virtual Professional Learning Community

Title: Lean on Me: Developing a Virtual Professional Learning Community

Description or Abstract: The research team surveyed Associate (Adjunct) Faculty within the Master of Arts in Education program at Ashford University to identify their perceptions of how they fit within the program, their interests and needs for professional development, and whether or not a virtual (online) professional learning community would be valuable.

Dr. Olson
Your Motivation for Doing the Study: A significant percentage of all courses in the Master of Arts in Education (MAED) Program are delivered by Associate Faculty, and since previous research suggests that adjunct faculty are seeking a closer connection to their full-time peers and institutions, it is appropriate that a study was undertaken to identify if and how virtual professional learning communities could be a possibility.  By attempting to improve the perceived lack of connectedness that Associate Faculty have to the institution, program, and students, the researchers hoped to develop mechanisms to connect Full Time Faculty with Associate Faculty.

Bio: Kelly Olson Stewart, Ed.D., is the Program Chair and Assistant Professor for the MAED program in the College of Education at Ashford University.  She researches support systems for beginning teacher retention and developing associate faculty support practices.  Kelly is also a member of the Faculty Support and Development Committee, focusing on mentoring associate faculty, as well as providing high quality feedback to instructors.  She earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Innovation with a specialization in Curriculum and Policy from Arizona State University, a Master of Education with a specialization in Educational Technology from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an endorsement in K-12 Reading from Indiana University.

Dr. Belcher


Alan Belcher is Professor in the College of Education at Ashford University. He has a BA in Secondary Education, an MA in School Administration, and an MS in Information. He earned a PhD in Professional Studies in Education from Capella University. He taught French at the junior high school level before moving to the college level to teach in computer information systems. He began working in faculty development, curriculum development, and as a university registrar. He later took responsibility for student services for admissions, financial aid, registration, and student accounts. He has served as an assistant vice president and an assistant provost, supporting academic leadership in curriculum, faculty development, policy, enrollment management, and initiative development. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Using Social Media to be a More Effective Leader in the 21st-Century Classroom

Dr. Michelle Post
Subject: There lies an intersection or a “sweet spot” between social media, an effective leader, and the 21st-century classroom. Each sphere separately does not lack for research in the body of knowledge; however, when combined to create the “sweet spot” the knowledge is limited. Social media is no longer a nice to have; instead, it is a must use or lose out. For a leader to be effective, he or she must embrace the use of social media, and this includes the classroom. The world’s population has become digital citizens, and 54% of that population are social media users. This workshop proposal offers a glimpse into each sphere before postulating the importance of using social media to become a more effective leader in the 21st-century classroom.  

Dr. Michelle Post Bio: Dr. Post has taken her 30+ years of business design, system engineering, and information architecture and combined it into her role as a Certified Social Media Strategist and a Social Media Systems Engineer™. As part of Dr. Post’s life mission, she knows every person is uniquely gifted and she hopes to help them use those gifts to make a lasting impact on our world. Dr. Post is passionate about helping businesses to start where they are, with what they have, and do what they can. Each request for social media help leads Dr. Post on a journey to find what a business already has in place, analyze how they are using it, learn where they want to go, and then provide simple strategies and solutions for their long-term business and social media success.  

Dr. Post offers teaching, training, coaching, consulting, and speaking on subjects as diverse as social media, leadership, generations in the workplace, and technology in education. Dr. Post is Founder/CEO of The Post Institute: Center for Life-Long Learning. She is an award-winning Teacher, Leader, Speaker, and a Fellow of the Beta Phi Scholarly Society at Exeter College, University of Oxford, England. Dr. Post has been a 3-time guest on The Networking Diva Hour and has appeared on Colorado’s Best Morning Show. 

 Dr. Post LinkedIn Page: 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ashford Faculty Win Creative Scholarship Sabbaticals

A special thank you and congratulations to Ashford faculty Sabbatical Winners. We received many high quality submissions this year, but unfortunately we could only select a few. Each of the winning faculty members were selected by college so we can support each area of study. The sabbatical offers a break from teaching courses to better focus on important professor scholarship and research.

Please welcome…..

College of Health, Human Services, & Science                                                 

  • Dr. Clair DeCristofaro – Cholesterol Management.
  • Dr. Sandra Rebeor – A Community Workshop for Caregivers affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

 College of Liberal Arts

  • Dr. Mathew Laubacher – “The Right Kind of Stuff:” Collectors and Collection in United States during the Golden Age of Natural History.

 College of Education

  • Dr. Kathleen Pierce-Friedman – A Study of Teaching in Isolation and the Effects on Self-Efficacy for Instructors in the Online School Setting.
  • Dr. Maureen Lienau – Continuing research on resources and services for AU students facing housing, food, and other insecurities. 

 Division of General Education

  • Dr. Chris Lorkowski – Two chapters for a mid-level philosophy of religion text entitled Atheism Considered.
  • Dr. Cheri Ketchum – The impact of video-based feedback on student satisfaction and performance and faculty workload and gratification. 

Forbes School of Business & Technology™

  • Dr. Murad Abel –Market Alignment of Student Skills.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Celebrating Heritage: Tourism and Festival in Panama

Dr. Janni Pedersen (Right Blue)

Humans mediate their past and present through the presentation of cultural heritage and identity to self and others: this may be observed in the intersection of tourism, cultural heritage, and political economy. In Panama, tourism has become a larger part of the country’s economy over the last decades and this growth is forecast to continue (WTCC, 2017).  A collaborative ethnographic study in the towns of Parita and Santo Domingo, provinces of Herrera and Los Santos, during the 2016 Corpus Christi celebration and 2017 Patron Saint celebration, sought to understand the intersection of cultural heritage with the local economy and perception of tourism.

Studying the host community in two early or “under-developed” heritage tourist spot in

the neoliberal sense (Scher, 2011) provides the opportunity for a comparative analysis of the visions of vendors, visitors, officials and performers in the communities for the sharing of cultural heritage and how this forms a foundation for thoughts on further tourism development. The Panamanian government identified tourism as a key-area in its 2015-2019 strategic plan (Strategic Plan of Government, 2015-2019); however, further investment may carry with it concerns for the protection of intangible cultural heritage and community autonomy as culture becomes commodified (Kirtsoglou and Theodossopoulos, 2004). The results show a desire for more tourists, but the reasons between the two cities diverge, from the assumed economic benefits to a desire for sharing cultural heritage. This divergence is closely related to how the cultural heritage is mediated and presented through the festivals and associated celebrations.

Link to Research:

Celebrating Heritage: Tourism and Festival in Panama. Annual Meeting of Southwestern Anthropological Association, Fresno, California, May 2018.

Author Bio:
Dr. Janni Pedersen, the chair of Ashford University’s Cultural Anthropology program, has been with Ashford University since 2012. She earned her doctoral degree from Iowa State University, where she taught courses in both biological and cultural anthropology, as well as philosophy. While in Iowa, she conducted research with language trained bonobos (a form of chimpanzee) at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Her research interests now encompasses behavioral studies of the apes residing at San Diego Zoo and ethnographic studies of festivals and tourism in Panama. She blogs about anthropology and her research at .

Dr. Pedersen is a native of Denmark. Before moving to the U.S. to work on her doctoral degree, she worked at an internet marketing agency in Brussels, Belgium. She serves on the board of the Southwestern Anthropological Association and as the Ashford Research Fellow for the College of Liberal Arts.