Welcome and Welcome Back!

Posted Aug 24, 2022

While most graduate students do not have to start their graduate education in the fall semester, fall continues to feel like the “start of school” for many. For faculty and students this time of year is filled with hope, excitement, and perhaps a bit of nervous energy. Below I offer a snapshot highlighting themes we are focusing on this fall.  

Transitions. We sincerely thank professors Don Eskew, MBA program director, and Erica Van Dop, MSAH program director, both of whom completed their term as graduate directors on June 30, 2022. Both have made a positive impact on the programs they served and the students they taught over the years. While Don will continue as an Otterbein faculty member, Erica has accepted a leadership position at another educational institution. We wish them both the best and know they will make a strong, positive difference among those they serve. 

We are pleased to welcome incoming MBA graduate director, Professor Kurt Lykins, MBA, CPA, CFE, CFP, and incoming MSAH graduate director, Professor Paul Longenecker, RN, MBA. Both directors come to us with extensive professional experience and expertise, a deep focus on student-centered education, and a strong commitment to connecting theory and practice. Each brings energy, intellect, and extensive community connections to their program. We are fortunate to have them as graduate directors this year. 

The value and power of graduate education. Many people pursue graduate education to enhance their earning potential and employment opportunities. Yet, some wonder whether graduate degrees pay off in important ways. The answer is yes. 

Employment and earnings. This past May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published data highlighting differences in employment and earnings based on education level. As has been the case in the past, data reveals that median weekly earnings increase, and unemployment levels decrease as education levels increase. See Data on Display: Education Pays, 2021 for details. 

Networking and mentoring relationships. Graduate school also provides opportunities for networking and professional relationship building. Mentoring offers opportunities to build relationships that facilitate mutual growth and benefit. But, you might ask, how do I find a mentor? Why might it be best to have more than one mentor? What are the benefits of being a mentor? If these questions interest you, consider the following: 

The Future: Otterbein University and Antioch University Intend to Create a First-of-a-kind National System! We are excited about the opportunities for graduate and adult education that will accompany the creation of a unique, national, non-profit university system. This system aims to expand degree offerings, offer programs in more locations nationwide, provide innovative learning modalities, and create new opportunities for student engagement across institutions. Details and FAQs can be found on Otterbein’s New System Announcement web page.  

As we look forward to the possibilities that await us this academic year, I send good wishes to all our new and returning students, staff, and faculty.  

Let’s make this year count! 

Bridget M. Newell, PhD  

Interim Associate Provost for Graduate Studies

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