Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why choose WSU? It "actually exists"

Capt. Chris Andersen, with his daughter, Christina, who also works for the Everett Police Department.

In 2002, Chris Andersen gathered his wife and four children together for a big announcement. The Everett (Wash.) Police Department sergeant was going back to college. He wanted to earn his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He hoped it would help him get promoted.
      “I made a big deal to my kids about the importance of finishing what I started,” he said.
      Three weeks later, the promotion came through anyway. That didn’t change his college plans. “After making such a declaration to my family,” he said, “I had little choice but to follow through.”
      Because of his job and family, Andersen wanted to earn his degree online. He chose Washington State University.
      “WSU actually exists,” he said. “It meant a lot for me to be involved with an institution that did not exist merely on a Web site. There were people to talk to whenever I had questions.”
      One of those people was his academic adviser, Rich D. Miller. More...      “Chris was highly motivated to learn,” said Miller, who is now a WSU Online program representative. “It helped that his criminal justice courses paid off almost immediately in his daily work.”
      Andersen had earned his associate’s degree in 1985 from Skagit Valley College when he was a Skagit County Sheriff’s deputy. “It was very difficult with shift work and young children to go to a traditional classroom setting.” So, he created his own form of distance education: “I asked classmates to record the lectures for me.”
      By 2002, distance education had been transformed by the Internet. But many courses still required mailings.
      “I will never forget my first class at WSU, Biology 103L,” Andersen said. “WSU shipped me a small microscope and the necessary slides. My kids and I spent many hours around the kitchen table with my experiments.”
      Cathy Lentz, who handles media shipping for WSU Online, laughed when asked about the microscopes.
      “We haven’t shipped microscopes in a while,” she said. “They were fragile. And they were so fun that children wanted to keep them.” WSU Online now streams most course materials over the Internet, she said. “It’s much more convenient for students.”
      Andersen graduated magna cum laude in 2006. Although his degree didn’t help with the first promotion, it did with the second. He’s now a captain. And he’s considering an online MBA.
      “Although I haven’t decided what the next chapter in my professional life will be, having my bachelor’s degree from WSU gives me many more options."

By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online

1 comment:

  1. Great choice Capt. Andersen! I also finished my Business degree online and had Rich Miller as my DDP advisor. My degree opened up the world of business and I have worked from home since graduating in 2005.

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