When 200 online students gather on the Regent University campus for the School of Business & Leadership (SBL) annual doctoral residency, excitement overflows among the students and professors. Three cohorts from the Strategic Leadership and Organizational Leadership programs met in late August for a week of encouragement, networking and intense learning.
“Doctoral students who God brings to the School of Business & Leadership are already highly accomplished individuals, so from a professional perspective, there’s no doubt in our minds that these are the people who will have an incredible impact once they leave Regent University,” said Dr. Doris Gomez, SBL dean. “Their character formation is a continuing journey, as it is for all of us. For many, it will be a deepening of their faith, their Christian application, of Scripture to the leadership issues of our days.”
Residency is crucial, says the dean, not just for encouragement, but also for connecting classmates to form life-long friendships that will benefit them as they work in the marketplace and make a difference. Through these friendships, they can also encourage one another to do well and stick with the program. During residency, first-year students learn how to fit the program into their lives. Second-year students are encouraged to realize they are halfway through, and third-year students prepare for the program’s final phase, enjoying time with their peers in-person before graduation.
“Nothing is the same since I started the program,” said Anita Greenlee ’17 (SBL). “They’re always things I can apply to a dialogue. I have paper everywhere I go, in my pockets, in my car, everywhere. I had to learn how to strike that balance.”
Before achieving that balance, Greenlee says she experienced some stress issues. Now, she’s more relaxed because she knows what she needs to do to succeed. Retired from the U.S. Army after 23 years as a military police officer, she’s been deployed to Iraq and has served others as a Christian leader by assisting, protecting and defending. Regent’s rigorous Doctor of Strategic Leadership program challenged her to broaden her understanding and knowledge as she transitions to become a leadership coach. She says the program is doable, but students must figure out how to fit the program into their already-busy lives.
“I have to work a balance,” said Greenlee. “When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I come home, I have to be wife and mommy. I help prepare dinner, get my son’s homework and piano lessons out of the way, and then it’s my time.”
She tries to always be teachable, keeping an open ear to the Lord for His encouragement to complete the program, which has transformed her thinking and her faith.
“Our classes go back to apply a biblical principle,” said Greenlee. “It helps, because there are scriptures that some of us have been reading for all our lives, and we are able to take them and make them come to life. All of the professors are very helpful, and they will ask you how it applies to you.”
Greenlee says she and her classmates encourage one another to keep going. Each of them look forward to one day calling each other, “Doctor.”