School of Education (SOE) doctoral students spend most of their academic program studying online, but once each year, they travel to Regent’s Virginia Beach campus for an academically rigorous week of learning with one another. The 2016 residency took place July 11-15.
“It was great to finally see faces and put them with names that I have seen on my laptop screen for months,” said Carrie Gantt ’18 (SOE). “I’m a third-year student, so this is my final residency, and, coming into this third and final residency, this is really like coming home, because I’ve known my classmates for a while.”
Gantt did not have to travel far for her residency but was pleased to meet those who did. She’s a high school English teacher in Virginia Beach City Public Schools, known for her innovation in the classroom. She joined two other classes of cohorts totaling 165 students from across the United States and other countries, enjoying dinner with them Friday night, July 15, as the week full of seminars, workshops and interaction wrapped-up.
“It’s really nice to meet all of the students so they have the opportunity to fellowship with one another and have an academically rigorous time when they’re with us,” said Dr. Linda Grooms, professor and post-masters chair. “They go from session to session, from APA workshops to how to study for your candidacy exam, to dissertation boot camp.”
Each day of the week starts at 8 a.m. and sometimes can run as late as 9 p.m. This year’s theme was excellence, and a special emphasis was put on networking connections so the students would have both academic and spiritual support. Each cohort followed an individual schedule during the residency. For example, students getting ready to write dissertations benefited from seminars designed to prepare them for the process.
“It’s an excellent mix,” said Gantt. “I love the fact I don’t have to give up any part of my professional world to pursue a degree at a university. So, I can continue to teach, I can continue to work with kids after school, and I can also continue to improve my own learning and my own education through Regent’s online program.”
“It almost makes it like a hybrid program because they study online all year, and then they get to come here for four days, a very intense four days,” said Grooms. “Then, they go back home and they study again. They do that for three years. After that, they get turned loose to work on their dissertation or their personal research.”
Faculty, staff and students recognized the accomplishments of those earning a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies. Each cohort in the doctoral program gathered with students of their year for a time of prayer and praise after sharing a meal.
“To just be able to see the students excited about the next academic year and excited about what God has done in their lives, and to just sit down with them at lunch time to find out how they’ve grown spiritually within the last year; that’s something unique that we bring to the table,” said Grooms.