Catherine M. Wehlburg: Continuing the Legacy of Affordable and Quality Education

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Education has developed over time, moving away from more traditional learning methods and toward more cutting-edge contemporary ideas. Technology is the first trend that has been implemented into higher education

This refers to technology, including computers, displays, mobile devices, and the internet. Writing, listening, and face-to-face teaching were once the foundations of education. There were simply bags, pens, pencils, and books in the classrooms. The educational system now uses computers and other electronic devices to support learning.

Universities today have the responsibility of not only educating these minds but also teaching them to think. Keeping up with the newest technology trends and implementing them in the curriculum and practice is essential. Technology has become an essential part of education today.

Athens State University is an upper-division university. The university is unique in its way where it puts greater emphasis on producing graduates that employers look for. The institute has shaped its curriculum in a way that guarantees excellence rather than rote learning. Practicality rather than simple memorization.

The university welcomes transfer students, gap-year students, and working students, making it a vibrant and diverse melting pot of education.

What makes it unique is that the courses at Athens State University are adaptable to your schedule and routine. The courses and classes are available in person, or online. The university has adapted and is practicing the hybrid means of education and is giving students the opportunities to grow and glow.

Multiple RolesLeadership at the Core

Dr. Catherine M. Wehlburg is the President (Interim) at Athens State University.  Having around 30 years of experience in higher education in her bag, Dr. Wehlburg has served various roles within the higher education framework. She has her expertise as a tenured full professor, department chair, Dean, Provost, and Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

Throughout her journey in higher education, the curriculum being student-centered has been her focus. She wants to create a curriculum that provides continuous improvement, and strategic decision-making to students. As an educational institution, you are shaping future business leaders, politicians, and citizens of tomorrow. It is a huge responsibility, and not to be approached in a laid-back manner.

The focus of Dr. Wehlburg’s numerous papers, publications, and book chapters has always been on the importance of higher education in teaching students. She was elected president of the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE). She later won their Exceptional Achievement Award as recognition for her efforts in assessing student learning outcomes.

As she works to involve people in the continuing conversations concerning access and success for everyone, her leadership has been praised for being innovative and inclusive. Dr. Wehlburg earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Florida.

University-Choice Questions

When students choose a university, they are on their way to making one of the most important decisions of their lives. There are multiple points and qualities to consider and include. Inevitably, choosing a university can be a bit overwhelming.

According to Dr. Wehlburg, asking these three questions to yourself can make the process a bit easier.

  • How Much Flexibility Do You Need?

Consider every aspect and duty of your life with this question. Including work, family, childcare, or other activities.

  • Who Are the Faculty?

The university could be amazing and attractive with its facilities and campus, but in the end, the faculty are what shapes students. Making sure your faculty are industry experts- people who know what they are talking about is essential.

  • What Will Be Your Actual Out-of-Pocket Expenses for The Degree?

Including the degree structure (tuition fees, books, accommodation, extra fees), and subtracting any scholarships, the remaining number is your net cost.

Lower-cost institutions (such as Athens State) may not offer the same amount in scholarships, but the overall cost may be lower because of lower tuition and fee costs.

Holding Onto the Legacy

Athens State University was first established back in 1822 as “Athens Female Academy.” Recently, the university celebrated its 200th Anniversary celebrating the values they have carried through the years.

When established, the initial focus was on providing women in the community with educational opportunities. Even after 200 years, the university continues its focus on engaging the community. Also providing relevant certificate and degree programs that meet the ever-changing needs of students.

As the university starts its 3rd century of continuous education, it serves students with a high-quality education.

Education Holding Hands with Technology

Keeping up with the fast changes in technology needs a lot of reading and exposure to fresh ideas. Headed by Catherine as the Editor-in-Chief, the “New Directions for Teaching and Learning series” provides students with the latest development in technology blended into their classes.

Our conversations are enriched by the regular gatherings and conferences that are held on campus. To offer guidance and assistance with pedagogy and course design, Athens State University established ATLIS (Athens Teaching and Learning Innovation Services) as a faculty development center.

Having access to information online can help students to more easily find research and information that they need. An important part of high-quality teaching is to ensure that students can be good critical thinkers and to be able to evaluate information that they find online. Working with skilled faculty, students at Athens State are able to learn, gather, and synthesize information so that they become life-long learners engaged in continuous improvement.

Academia At Athens

Athens State University’s teaching techniques have undergone a paradigm shift as a result of new technologies and pedagogies. Athens State University has long been a leader in the provision of online and hybrid courses. The university concentrated on making sure that active participation is a feature of every class that is provided. This participation includes interaction with the course’s content and materials, interaction with other students, and interaction with the instructor. Faculty have created “ActiveFlex” solutions that incorporate active learning even in online courses.

Athens State is equipped with a dedicated “Career Services” office that provides lessons on aspects like resume writing, and interview skills. By doing so, the university nurtures its students as confident professionals once they graduate; ready to be hired by the finest of companies.

The university’s Student Success Coaches stay in contact with each student from when they enter until they graduate.

A New Concept—Active Learning

Whether it’s an online or physical classroom, active learning is crucial. As long as the learning involves students in activities other than reading, listening, or remembering, active learning may be included in a wide range of pedagogical approaches.

“Small group discussions, class projects, or problem-solving activities can all add to the active engagement of a student in their learning. When a student is engaged with the content, their fellow students, and the faculty member, they will better learn and understand the information in the course.”

Athens State provides several merit-based and need-based scholarships and continues to have the lowest tuition costs in the state of Alabama. The students have a Student Success Coach and a faculty advisor assigned to them so that they are supported across a wide-variety of areas.

The students are provided with Success Coaches to assist them in choosing courses and navigating themselves through life- academically. The Student Success Coach maps out students’ educational journey and provides opportunities for academic credit and other benefits.

Athens – Outside Just Academia

To cater to the various demands of our students, Athens State provides a variety of extracurricular activities. The university has several student governments, honors programs, social clubs, and academic honor societies. The Bonner Leaders program encourages student participation in nearby non-profit organizations and provides scholarships.

At Athens State, students complete degree-granting courses while simultaneously earning certificates recognized by the industry that provide them with the practical experience they’ll need in the workplace.

The university recognizes the importance of bringing students out of the classroom and gaining enriching experiences. Its approach is unique and one of a kind. Students are treated like knowledge hubs rather than blank canvases.

Successful Graduation

Athens State University offers internships and other practical application opportunities to students. For example, students in the university’s College of Education prepare to be teachers by taking what they have learned in the classroom and going into a K-12 classroom to gain real-life experience. As another example, students in its Computer Science program learn by doing as they work in teams to provide website development to non-profit community partners.

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