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Alumni Success

An Argosy University, Hawaii Doctoral Degree Leads To Educating 30,000 Students

Geraldine Sablan James received an EdD in Educational Leadership from Argosy University, Hawaii in January 2009.  Today she is a Deputy Superintendent in the Guam Public School System, a district with 40 schools and approximately 30,000 students.  Specifically Dr. James is Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum & Instructional Improvement.  She oversees several divisions in the Guam Public School System:  (a) Curriculum & Instruction Division; (b) Research, Planning, and Evaluation Division; (c) Student Services Division; (d) Chamorro Studies Division; and (e) Vocational Education.  Her main focus is to oversee curriculum development and implementation

Dr. James began her position with Guam Public School two months after completing her program requirements and successfully defending her dissertation in October 2008. “My studies at Argosy University prepared me for this position by broadening my perspective to an organizational and systemic viewpoint.  I am working in a management position now that requires a mindset of seeing the bigger picture, analyzing the system’s needs, and then mobilizing limited human and fiscal resources to provide continued services to the schools and students.  My coursework focused on the same challenges I am facing now, such as understanding organizations, leading people and implementing change.”

She describes her experience with the Argosy University, Hawaii and its Guam location as ideal, and a good fit for her schedule.  “My experience was positive from the start.  We began with a class of 11 students that eventually grew to 14 by the third course into the program.  I enjoyed the blended program. The online component of the coursework allowed me the flexibility to work full-time at my administrative job, and then schedule my coursework at night and on weekends around my personal commitments.  The classroom component allowed for face time with our instructors and interaction with our classmates.  It was a perfect program for me.”

Support from the faculty and staff meant a lot to Dr. James. “I felt very supported by the faculty and staff.  Most notably, the program administrator made many trips to Guam and established a supportive relationship with our cohort.  She maintained regular communication with us and served as our liaison to the main Hawaii campus.” 

In addition, the librarian offered tremendous help when it came time to work on my dissertation.  “Being on Guam, I didn’t have physical access to the library facilities and resources.  However, the librarian was only an email away.  She provided books and articles for me whenever I could not access them on Guam.  She assisted me with finding articles and sources for my research and either sent them to me electronically or by regular mail if an electronic file was not available.  I was permitted to check out books from the library and she mailed them to me.” 

According to Dr. James, Argosy’s best attribute is the flexible scheduling that allows students to take blended courses. “Because of this, I was able to complete my program at a pace suited to my goals.  I took most of my coursework using the blended format.  My online courses connected me to classmates across the nation.  That was a wonderful experience.  Most important, I was able to complete my coursework within the two-year timeline I had set for myself.”

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