Dr. Irene A. Williams is a Senior Contributing Faculty member for Walden University, College of Management and Technology, DBA program. She enjoys teaching and mentoring doctoral business students from around the world. Since 2000, Dr. Williams has worked in various roles in higher education related to academic affairs, institutional effectiveness and research, strategic planning, assessment, and accreditation in higher education. Her greatest career accomplishment was working as part of a team in the successful SACSCOC reaffirmation of accreditation for a public health-related institution.
Dr. Williams is a first-generation college graduate (first in her family to earn a PhD). She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration, Organizational Leadership in 2012. Prior to attending NCU, she earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems.
Dr. Williams shares with us why she chose NCU, the best practices she learned as an NCU student, and how her NCU degree has advanced her career.
Why did you decide to go back to school; what drew you to NCU?
In 2007, I completed my MBA and was ready for a challenge. I knew that in higher education, most Institutional Effectiveness professionals earn a doctorate degree. I wanted to also have a doctorate to advance my career. So, when I showed my husband my MBA diploma, I asked if I should earn a PhD next. He said, “Why stop? Go for it!” I decided to review online degree programs because I was working full time and did not want to quit my job. After reviewing several online university web sites, I reviewed the curriculum at NCU and knew it was the right program for me. I submitted all my information to NCU and worked with an Advisor. I was enrolled within two weeks and I was able to complete the program in 5 years.
What is the best lesson you learned as an online student at NCU?
The best lesson I learned as an online student at NCU is that I can accomplish something above and beyond my dreams. I learned to complete my schoolwork in the evenings and on the weekends. To complete an online degree, it takes initiative and tenacity. I learned that with my technological skills there are options to a higher education. NCU worked perfectly for me!
How has the flexibility of NCU's programs helped you balance family life, work, and school?
The flexibility of NCU’s programs was just what I needed! I completed my undergraduate degree by doubling up on courses during the day and at night while working full time. I took summer courses just to finish my bachelors in 5 years. Then, I took a combination of online and face-to-face courses to complete my MBA in about 18 months. So, my next plan was to complete a fully online program for my doctorate degree to balance my family life, work, and school. NCU helped me with work-life balance. Little did I know that I would be having my kids the last two years of my doctoral program. I was taking maternity leave while writing my proposal and final dissertation. I walked across the stage when my son was two years old and my daughter was one year old.
How did your family or friends support you during your educational journey?
My biggest supporter was my husband, Toby. He not only worked to help pay for my education, but he also encouraged me to keep going. My parents were so proud of me when I finished the doctoral program.
Tell us how your degree has helped you advance in your career?
My degree has allowed me to advance in higher education in staff and faculty roles. I continue to break barriers. I now have the many years of experience in institutional research\effectiveness and as a faculty member that I hope I could continue to advance into executive positions.