“If I had all the money and all the time, I would be in school all the time,” says current doctoral student, Dave Goodrich. Dave is a full-time employee of MSU, working as a learning experience designer at the Hub for Innovation in Technology and Learning, in addition to being in the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE) program in the College of Education. Dave says he’s been considering applying for a Ph.D. program for about six years, but during that time had a two-year-old and a set of twins. He says, “Life is a series of beautiful interruptions and learning to dance with those is the fun part.” He is grateful for the opportunity to slow down for a formal approach to professional development.
Dave notes that pursuing his doctoral work in HALE compliments the professional work he does in the Hub while allowing him to grow as a scholar and better understand the people he works with on a daily basis. He says being in a structured program means he has given up the freedom to just dive into a variety of materials, in exchange for a discipline to read and interrogate things he might not have chosen on his own. Dave says he was working at a small liberal arts institution when he first stumbled upon MSU’s AT&T Awards online. “I know that the best way to help faculty is to create environments where faculty help faculty- and faculty see other faculty who are doing other great work (that maybe isn’t recognized)... and the best way to support people is connecting them - colleagues who haven’t been connected before and help share their stories around the work that they do,” says Dave. He saw this happening from a distance at MSU and decided he wanted to be a part of it.
For Dave, a doctoral degree is a merger of two worlds- the academic and the professional. He says he didn’t want to pursue graduate school if it was only about himself. Instead, he wanted to contribute to a larger purpose. Having a built-in support system is what Dave credits for his dual roles at MSU being possible. He says his focus now is on “the why”. Starting off his career as a high school teacher, he found himself committing 100 percent of his time to teaching and planning and he got burnt out. He decided his perspective could be valuable in coaching others and shifted to learning design. Now with his doctoral program and his work, he is excited to be shifting focus yet again to education, design, and educator development and is exploring spaces where those three things “coexist, collaborate, and work in conjunction with one another.”
Originally written and photographed by Makena Neal, 2019