As an author, speaker, librarian, educator, and NCU doctoral graduate, Dr. Roger Leslie of Houston, Texas, rarely finds himself with nothing to do. When he does have a little free time, he loves to read, memorize facts about movies, exercise, and travel. One of his most recent trips led him to Prescott Valley, Arizona for the 2012 NCU graduation ceremony.
“I felt very, very proud to be a part of it,” relates Leslie. “I feel like I saw some of the fruits of the NCU vision come to life, and was so happy to have the opportunity to meet some of the people who impacted my educational journey. Participating in the poster session and being nominated for Dissertation of the Year gave me an extra evening to visit with professors, administrators and support staff from Northcentral.”
Dr. Leslie’s dissertation, Identifying Resources and Approaches for Lessons on Performance Virtues in Character Education, was inspired by a topic that has often motivated him in his personal and professional life: Success.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Education at the University of Houston, a Master of Arts in Creative Writing through an independent study program at Antioch University, and a Master’s Certification in Library Science at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Leslie knew he had the tools to pursue his Ph.D. in Education degree in Curriculum and Teaching online at NCU.
“My goal as an educator is to provide students with tools for personal success no matter what their areas of interest or their ultimate career plans,” explains Leslie. “Since my background and most of my inspirational writing had previously been for students in secondary grades, I wanted to learn how to empower even younger children. I set out to find potential resources and approaches for elementary teachers to create dynamic lessons to build character and introduce children to qualities that create success.”
Leslie began a literary analysis of outstanding award-winning books for readers in grades 3-5 and interviewed teachers to find out what they are currently doing in the classroom to inspire students, build their character, and give them hope for the future. His research also served as the inspiration for his next book.
“Immediately after completing my dissertation last July, I expanded my research (from 10 books to 123 books) and gathered 50 teachers to work with me,” describes Leslie. “I am now in the process of combining all of my research into a teacher resource that highlights models of success.”
The book, titled Teaching S.U.C.C.E.S.S and Strong Character with Award-Winning Chapter Books, will be released by Bayou Publishing in the spring of 2013. Bayou also published Leslie’s best-selling book to date. Success Express for Teens: 50 Activities That Will Change Your Life (2004) has won two national awards and continues to sell internationally.
For someone that is so dedicated to inspiring success in others, it is refreshing to see that Leslie practices what he preaches. So what are his personal keys to success?
“Through my writing and workshops, I encourage people to live the life they dream. To do so, requires that we find our passion, set goals related to it, and then persist in the process until life provides us exactly what we hoped for or something even better.”
That persistence paid off for Leslie throughout his academic journey at NCU. Life threw him a little curveball when he found himself growing in his understanding of the dissertation process right as NCU was expanding its vision and instituting changes to ultimately improve the dissertation process for students.
“Although I have been an author all my adult life and have published many works, writing my dissertation was the most challenging research project I ever attempted,” recounts Leslie. It was fascinating to go through my own growth process with my dissertation as NCU was growing as well. I learned to be more flexible and to realize that I could adjust my approach to reach my goals. Ultimately, growth requires strength, and in the course of my program, I feel as though the University and I grew simultaneously in our vision of what was possible and found solid ground to build a strong foundation for our futures.”
In addition to S.U.C.C.E.S.S, Leslie has three other books currently in the works, including his next movie award reference book, a work of fiction, and another inspirational book.
“One of my dreams is to start my own publishing house dedicated to inspiring all people to create personal success,” he explains. “While I’ll submit the reference book to McFarland, which published my last movie book, I believe the novel I’m currently revising and the inspirational book I will complete this fall may be the first two works that I publish from my own company.”
Clearly, Dr. Roger Leslie is well on his way to achieving yet another one of his personal goals.