About Marilyn Gardner Milton
Marilyn Gardner Milton’s career in education began when she entered college. Her first steps towards this career choice were accomplished when she graduated from the University of Connecticut with her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Education. After finishing her time at UConn, she continued her education by splitting her Masters of Education (M.Ed) between Boston State College and Framingham State University, both based in and around the Boston, Massachusetts area. In 1987 Marilyn finished the journey to earn her Ph.D. She graduated from Boston College with her Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision as well as a minor in Computer Science. While both degrees would be of great use in her future, Marilyn wasn’t quite done yet. She finished her education by getting her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Suffolk University Law school, where she was also awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence: Commercial Law.
In 1985 Marilyn Gardner Milton made her first foray into the world of distance learning administration, as well as the first of her roles consulting. She became the Executive Consultant for The Center for Educational Leadership and Technology and held that position until 1995. In 1994 Marilyn became the Executive Director and the Director of Education at the Boston, Massachusetts based Computer Museum, a position she held until 1997. In 2006 she became Director of Business Development for the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), a position she holds to this day.
In 1997 Marilyn began her career in the administration of higher education institutes. She was appointed to be the Vice-President of Academic Affairs for the Massachusetts Communications College and the New England Institute of Art. In 2001 she became the Vice-President of Academic Affairs for Bay State College and in 2006 she became a Program Professor and Education Enterprise Associate for Nova Southeastern University, one of the largest non-profit accredited universities in the country. A position she holds to this day.
A few weeks ago, I came across a list of the greatest graduation speeches of all time. They were inspiring and made me reflect. Last month, I wrote about Joyce DiDonato’s speech at Juilliard’s 2014 commencement ceremony. This month, I’m writing about Tulane’s 2009 commencement speech by Ellen DeGeneres.
When Ellen DeGeneres graduated high school, she didn’t attend college like many of her other classmates. Instead, she began working odd jobs such as shucking oysters, bartending, painting houses, and selling vacuum cleaners. She didn’t know what she wanted to do and didn’t have a clear plan.
When she was 19, a tragedy struck her life. She was living in a poor, basement apartment with barely any belongings to call her own. Her mattress laid on the floor and the place was flea-infested. One day she was driving down the road, she passed a horrific car accident. Later that night she found out it was her partner that was in the crash and she had passed away.
She didn’t understand why this was happening to her, so she began to do some soul-searching. She thought, wouldn’t it be nice if she could just pick up the phone and ask God why? Instead, she decided to start writing. She wrote what her phone call with God would be like if she was able to give him a ring. Little did she know, this is what would become her big break. A few years later, she was on the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show performing this one-sided phone call.
After a few years in the industry, she came out to the public, not for any political reasons but to free herself from the heaviness of living in shame and hiding her secret in fear of displeasing others. Through this, she experienced another incredibly difficult hardship. She lost her career, became isolated from friends and family, and wasn’t able to secure any job offers. During this challenging time, she was receiving letters from people, kids, who were ready to commit suicide because of who they loved, and it was Ellen’s bravery that had stopped them. One of the hardest times in her life showed her that she had a purpose on this earth.
In hindsight, Ellen wouldn’t change a thing that happened to her. She had to lose everything to make her realize what was truly the most important thing in life: being true to yourself. She no longer lives in fear and doesn’t carry any burdens of hiding secrets.
When she was young, she thought success meant becoming rich and famous, but she realized that the image of success changes as your grow. She sees success now as living your life with integrity, being an honest and compassionate human being, and finding a way to contribute to the world around you.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have grown up in the era of technology. With the internet always at their fingertips, it’s no wonder they have adapted to learning differently than the generation that came before them. Educational institutions are beginning to take note of this however they are not adjusting quickly enough. Generation Z is only just around the corner from entering into higher education, and they will be even more plugged-in than the Millennials. So what are the Millennials doing to change higher education and what do these educational institutions need to do to adjust for the future?
Increase in the Popularity of Master’s Degrees
Millennials are not satisfied with just an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree anymore. With limited job opportunities awaiting these [people] when they finish their undergrad, many are opting to stay in school to complete a Master’s program before entering the real world.
According to Pew Research Center, professionals with a Master’s degree are earning 23% more today than their counterparts back in 1984. In comparison, those who only hold a Bachelor’s degree have seen an increase of just less than 13%. Bottom line: if a Millennial has their goals set on earning more money in their career, they are going to be looking for a Master’s program.
A Comfort in Online Learning
Some may argue that today’s youngsters know more about the internet than we do. With that, there is no surprise that they find learning online to be comfortable and natural. Roughly 6.7 million students are taking at least one online class during their time in college. And that doesn’t account for all the classes they’re taking that use online portals such as Blackboard to submit work, collaborate with classmates, and even complete quizzes or exams. Millennials have helped build this switch from learning in the traditional classroom setting to online, and Generation Z will demand it.
Getting Millennials to participate in the traditional classroom setting can be difficult. The flipped classroom allows the student to become the teacher, encouraging high involvement and collaboration with their classmates. According to a study performed by NYU, the retention rate of students soared to 90% when they were put in a teaching role. The flipped classroom puts students in control of their educational journey and provides a more hands-on learning perspective.
Join the President’s Forum: “Unshackling Innovation: Regulation vs. Innovation” on November 18, 2015 Washington, D.C.
Hosted by The Presidents’ Forum and United States Distance Learning Association, Dr. Marilyn Gardner is working with Excelsior College, USDLA, as well as national educators and policy makers to plan the 12TH Annual Meeting of the Presidents’ Forum, “Unshackling Innovation: Regulation vs. Innovation.”
The Forum is being held:
November 18, 2015 (Wednesday)
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce | Hall of Flags
1615 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20062
Attendees can find the preliminary program at:
Would you like to register? You can do so at: http://forum.wp.excelsior.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2015/07/2015-Presidents-Forum-Registration-Form080615.pdf
Forum attendees will join national experts who are influencing policies in the academic and distance education arena to examine and discuss the evolving promise and policy issues associated with technology-mediated learning. Connect and interact with colleagues, providers, and technology academicians and business professionals who are grappling with defining the next steps to safeguard the institutional and academic integrity of online learning providers while redoubling efforts to reach underserved and under skilled learners.
The Presidents’ Forum, established in 2004, is a collaboration of accredited, national, adult-serving institutions and programs which have embraced the power and potential of online education. The Mission of the Presidents’ Forum is to advance the recognition of innovative practice and excellence in online learning. This is accomplished by providing a venue for leaders in higher education and stakeholders to share their knowledge and learn from others’ best practices. You can find more information at http://www.presidentsforum.org/
The United States Distance Learning Association was founded on the premise of creating a powerful alliance to meet the burgeoning education and training needs of learning communities via new concepts of the fusion of communication technologies with learning in broad multidiscipline applications.
The learning communities that USDLA addresses are: pre K-12, higher education, continuing education, corporate training, military and government training, home schooling and telemedicine. In addition USDLA is also focused on national and international technology based Distance Learning
USDLA through its mission of supporting the development and application of distance learning focuses on all legislation impacting the Distance learning community and its varied constituencies. You can find more information on USDLA at www.usdla.org.