Dr. Larry Ragan.
Your first response may be “I have no clue who he is.” No, he is not one of the presidential candidates for 2012. He is, however, just as important to our education and student experience.
Why, you may ask? Dr. Larry Ragan, as the director of faculty development, is responsible for the hiring and ongoing development of our World Campus instructors.
How do I know this? It took packing up and evacuating our home, due to a hurricane in New York City and taking the four hour drive to State College (for more about this, check out Hurricane Irene Prompts Spontaneous Penn State Trip), a left turn instead of a right turn after leaving Barnes and Noble coupled with a last minute decision to get diapers for my baby at the local WalMart on College Avenue. Oh, and I have to mention, nagging my husband, Dion, to ask the gentleman (Larry) behind us at the WalMart checkout “Where he got his World Campus polo shirt from?”, as I had to have it!
What followed from my husband’s simple question was a 30 minute conversation inside WalMart with Larry, who, in my opinion, has the passion, desire and care to deliver the best educators possible to us.
At the end of the chance meeting, it became clear to both of us that we had the same passion that makes for a great World Campus student experience. He suggested I send him an email with some of my ideas, as a student, on improving the quality of our educational experience. My “Type A” personality sent me into email overdrive and I immediately put together an email during the car ride back home to NYC from State College.
This led to me being invited to be on the student panel at the World Campus Educators’ Convocation in November. The convocation was a gathering of instructors discussing ways to improve the World Campus for themselves and most importantly, students.
Prior to my scheduled panel discussion, I was fortunate enough to meet a number of my instructors that I previously only knew through online communication (with the exception of one of my professors, Ines Meyer-Hoess, who has been an inspiration to me). We all shared hugs and happy moments, like distant relatives. I was impressed that the professors even remembered me from their classes!
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I am strongly suggesting – no, urging, that you get to know your instructors by communicating with them and establishing a strong relationship with your academic adviser. They will mold, shape and influence your learning experience and can assist in so many aspects of learning through the World Campus.
Behind that email address and their introductory bio is a person who is looking to further our education and is committed to seeing that we do the best we can.
In closing, here is a big thank you to Larry Ragan, all the instructors and Richard Brungard (in my humble opinion the best academic adviser ever…). You have all helped me, and countless others, achieve academic success later in life than expected.