Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spotlight - Interview with Dr. Joshua Adams, Executive Director of the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence

We recently met Dr. Joshua Adams, the new executive director of the TWU Pioneer Center for Student Excellence. We thought it would nice to get to know him a little better and learn a little more about the center. Josh graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.

Dr. Joshua Adams
1.    Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Also, what do you prefer to be called?

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Art History and a master’s and doctorate in Higher Education.  Career wise, prior to accepting the position at TWU, I most recently served as Director of the UNT Learning Center for several years.  That department is charged with supporting the academic career of all UNT students.  I’ve also worked as an adjunct instructor and in several other student affairs-type roles. 

I don’t really have a preference in what I’m called, either Josh or Dr. Adams works fine.

2.    We know that the new Pioneer Center for Student Excellence is just getting started, but could you share a little of what you envision for the center?

I think the amazing thing about the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence is the broad campus support for the initiative.  I envision a collaboratively built center that supports our entire undergraduate and graduate student population and assists them in achieving their personal, academic, and professional goals.  In order for the center to succeed we need to meet the needs of our students and work with faculty and staff to develop services that complement and support the student experience, both inside and outside of the classroom.

3.    As you know, there are a number of online programs at TWU, including Health Studies’ online BS and BAS completion programs and 100% online MS in Health Studies. How will the new center assist online students?

We are intentionally building technology in to the center.  I envision students being able to work with the center staff and their fellow students from anywhere through the use of videoconferencing, using collaborative technology, and so on.  In addition, to ensuring access to services by online students, I am hopeful the center can develop specific services to support online learners.

4.    What does student success mean to you?

To me, student success is defined individually and at the student level.  A student may deem success as passing a quiz in one course or graduating with a 4.0.  I believe it is our job as faculty and staff to understand where the student is and where they want to go.  We should then support their efforts and provide guidance along the way.

5.    What are some tips you would offer to student to be successful in their academic pursuits?

One major tip is to take advantage of all of the in class and out of class experiences during your college career.  Our students are surrounded by experts in their fields and can use them as a resource for learning as well as personal and career development.   At no other time in your life will you be surrounded by individuals who all care about your success and will support you in those endeavors.  By taking advantage of everything you can, you will learn more and have a truly well-rounded education.

6.    As many of our students know, we like to have fun in Health Studies. We have held themed orientations complete with alter egos such as Mo Solo, Hoda Fett, and Dee Dee Wan Kenobi from our Star Wars orientation. We also had a Mission Impossible orientation with passports and top secret missions. Sometimes we also make up code names for each other.  Who would your alter ego be or what would your code name be?

I think this may be the hardest question to answer! I’m a huge fan of Star Wars and science fiction in general.  I don’t think I can pick one, I’d much prefer to have a code name assigned to me!

Okay, Josh, but we hope you know what you are getting into. We tend to have a wacky sense of humor. We'll let you know what your code name is soon!

7.    Do you have any inspirational or motivational quotes that help keep you going?

I don’t really have any quotes, per se, but I do believe in having fun and recharge by spending time in nature.  When I am down or work is tough, I remember that soon enough I can go for a walk outside, mess around in the yard, or just enjoy my surroundings.  I have always been a person that loves being outside with nature.  It’s not for everyone, but is a great way for me to relax.

8.    Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I am quickly learning that TWU is a great place to work and an even better place to be a student.  Everyone is very supportive of each other and is goal oriented.  Our students, staff, and faculty are lucky to be in an environment that is caring and wants the best for everyone. 

A big thank you to Josh for sharing with us. We can't wait to see what the new Pioneer Center for Student Excellence does!

Tell us how you define success for a chance to win a TWU Health Studies t-shirt! Here's how:

  •  Share your thoughts about how you define success for yourself in the comments below.
  • If you haven't already, like our Facebook page. This is where we will announce the winner.
  • Keep an eye on our Facebook page on Friday, August 23rd. This is when we will announce the winner.


Laura Valentino said...

For me, success is about courage, persistence, and resilience. Success is about being the best version of myself. I believe it is not letting fear, stress, or the number of other factors that happen in life keep us from being unsuccessful. Ultimately, we all define success differently, but I know if I've poured my heart and soul in to those things that matter most (family, relationships, faith, helping others, etc.), despite difficult circumstances, I am successful.

Sarah Sanville Photography said...

As I start the online BAS program, success to me, would be defined as passing the necessary courses with good grades, and learning new information that will allow me to help others better.

Amy Brothers said...

I view success as meeting or exceeding your goals. As I have learned already in my Health Studies classes, it is important to set challenging but realistic goals for yourself. I am currently working towards my goal, of earning a degree. I have had many obstacles, but have not given up. I am making progress and I feel very successful!