“[My classmates were an] interesting group [who had an] amazing amount of insight and experience from different perspectives—ethics, for example.”
Dr. Carol Probstfeld is the president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, a public college with close to 50,000 graduates worldwide. Dr. Probstfeld joined the college in 2003, working as vice president of business and administrative services. In that position, she led an expansion of the school’s online learning opportunities as well as developed and implemented a new strategic plan. As president, Dr. Probstfeld uses her 20 years of higher education experience to build and nurture relationships—with a focus on enhancing the student experience.
Dr. Probstfeld said that she chose to attend Argosy University, Sarasota because of her family connections to Florida. “I was living in California and had family in Florida. [The school] had the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program at multiple campus locations—and the program was flexible.”
She adds that through her studies, she gained a broader view of leadership. And she learned alongside a diverse group of classmates. “A lot of students were from the Pentagon, pursing doctoral degrees. It was an interesting group [who had an] amazing amount of insight and experience from different perspectives—ethics, for example.” Her education at Argosy University, Sarasota also expanded her ability to apply and use critical thinking. Most of her education to that point had been technical in nature, and in the doctorate program, she enhanced her strategic thinking and problem solving skills.
Dr. Probstfeld emphasizes the relevance of Argosy University, Sarasota’s real-world classes that demanded she complete group projects and presentations quickly. “Learning was so important. [There was a] diverse group of people, [and we had to] quickly come to an agreeable decision or recommendation.” She mentions that she always felt the support of the faculty—who assisted in guiding students through the program. “The faculty want you to be successful. Dr. Edminson, [my dissertation professor], made sure we were connected with [other students in the same position]. There were three of us going through [the dissertation process] at the same time.”
Now that Dr. Probstfeld is the president of a college, she looks back on her education and admits that she didn’t pursue her Doctor of Education with a president-level job in mind. “Having the doctoral degree gave me credibility among faculty and the campus community.”
In her position, she is able to guide students—many of whom, like her, are the first in their families to attend college. She views herself as a model for them—her family was lower income and she had to work hard to earn her degree. “You get out what you put into [your education]. I enjoy walking on campus and talking to students. I talk to them about their dreams and aspirations. I have the best job in world. I love what I do.”
Dr. Probstfeld, who in 2005 earned a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University, Sarasota is active in several local organizations, including the Manatee Memorial Hospital Board of Governors, the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and serves as the chair of the Bradenton Area EDC.
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