Alumni Highlight: Kelly Nix
Tell us a little about yourself. What are you currently working on?
I work in a variety of areas. I am employed full-time as Field Content Manager for Children International, a non-profit child sponsorship organization with a presence in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. I have also been a pastor for many years, and I serve as adjunct assistant professor for Hope International University. Besides these regular activities, I offer leadership seminars and provide consulting in strategic planning. Another activity is that I founded a Bible college several years ago that functions via a combination of online course delivery and live weekly lectures by conference call. I currently serve as the director and one of the instructors.
As an educator yourself, how do you see the future of education progressing?
The direction of education, not only in America but around the world, has irreversibly changed in the past decade or so due to the advent of online education. I believe we will see the role of brick-and-mortar institutions decline, while the role of solid, accredited online schools will increase. Online education is a solid business model that offers many advantages over traditional course delivery – advantages that include virtual elimination of campus overhead, the ability to use adjunct faculty instead of tenured professors, the ability for students to participate asynchronously from around the world, etc. While I don’t see traditional schools disappearing (at least not for quite some time still), I believe the validity and importance of online education is fast becoming undeniable.
What made you decide to further your education?
A number of factors contributed to my decision to further my education. I felt that I needed a doctorate to really fulfill my desire to teach at the university level. It would also provide an important credential for consulting work. Additionally, I felt a professional doctorate in Global Business and Leadership would add value to my performance within my organization, Children International.
Who was the greatest influence on this decision?
My inspiration to pursue a doctorate started when I was only 8 or 9 years old. We had a neighbor who was an agricultural researcher, and I remember my mother admonishing us sternly to call him “Doctor” out of respect, because he had worked very hard to earn that title. That instilled in my young mind a very high regard for advanced education. Initially, life did not seem to hold much hope for me in that area, but in my 30s I was able to return to school and complete an MBA. Since I had come that far – and particularly because my employer was willing to invest in my education – there really seemed no excuse for not pushing ahead and turning my childhood dream into reality. And it really helped that I had a mentor at a previous school who helped me believe I could do it…that meant enough to me that I included her in the dedication of my doctoral capstone project.
How was your doctoral capstone experience like at CALUNIVERSITY?
I’ll confess I was a bit weary by the time I reached my final course prior to the capstone! I entered the class thinking it would be an easy course…more of a formality. However, Dr. Jenny Wong brought me back to reality! All of my professors expected high-quality work, which greatly enhanced my regard for the rigor of CALUNIVERSITY’s programs. My current students, however, would probably be happier if I had not had such thorough professors as my example! Once I began the capstone, it took me a little while to realize that the playing field had changed. No longer was I going to be given step-by-step instructions; it was now up to me to take the initiative and prove I was capable of performing at a doctoral level. Once I understood this, I was able to forge ahead and complete the project. My capstone committee was available when I needed guidance, but it was very much up to me to get the job done. The greatest moment of all came at the conclusion of the oral defense, when Dr. Inserto observed that from that moment forward they would address me as “Dr. Nix.” It was one of those moments where you almost need to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
What are your future plans? How are you working to fulfill your future goals?
Plans for the near future include expanding my consulting and leadership training activities, as well as writing a book or two. I also hope to expand my activities in teaching, perhaps by gaining extra courses to teach at my current school or finding additional schools to teach for on an adjunct basis.
Any advice for people thinking of furthering their education?
To those who are considering furthering their education…DO IT. Don’t put it off. Every day that you wait is a day later that you will achieve your goal. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses…age, finances, time, or anything else. We routinely make time and find money for the things that are truly important for us, so make it happen. Don’t sit on your porch 20 years from now and think, “What if I had…?”
Any words of wisdom for current CALUNIVERSITY students?
If you are currently a student of California Intercontinental University, you are ultimately the only person who can make your venture a success. There is no substitute for discipline, study, commitment, and hard work. When you feel yourself becoming discouraged, go to CALUNIVERSITY’s website and watch the videos of past years’ graduations. If they did it, you can do it. And if you’re running into obstacles, talk to your mentors at CALUNIVERSITY about it early on, so you don’t end up dropping out from frustration. Chances are they’ll be able to help you work through it and continue with your dream.
Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn