An Interview with Professor Suzanne Jones

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“That’s something I hear from all students: that faculty at Maryville are available. Students don’t send a message and then never hear back ― they get responses really fast.”

 

Maryville University has always been different from other schools. In fact, we’ve been challenging the status quo in education for nearly 150 years. But what is it that makes us unique?

We sat down with Suzanne Jones, an adjunct professor in our psychology department, to discuss what makes Maryville’s online programs perfectly suited to accommodate our students.

She says the key that makes our programs so tuned in to the needs of our students is the flexibility ― not just in our online learning platform, but also in the way our faculty are willing to work with students.

“We recognize that people have lives,” Professor Jones says. “A lot of students come to the online program because they have families and are working ― they need flexibility.”

Since students often have personal and professional obligations, Professor Jones says many Maryville professors are willing to work with students to help them finish lessons and get assignments turned in. “It’s more important to me that you turn it in late rather than not at all,” she says.

Engagement also is important to the student experience, and at Maryville, we provide that through our intuitive online learning platform. And since our faculty are focused on students first, they are available to participate in real time to keep the discussion moving forward.

“They have discussion boards which allow students to post their ideas and respond to their peers,” Professor Jones says. “To help facilitate the conversations, I will jump in discussion groups and respond. That really keeps the engagement going ― both for me to know what they’re going through, and for each other.”

At Maryville, our faculty take pride in meeting our students’ needs and understanding their perspective. That’s just one way we’re focused on your success above all else.

Check out the full interview with Professor Jones below:

How do you support your online students? 

Professor Jones: I think just being available is a lot of it. That’s something I hear from all students: that faculty at Maryville are available. Students don’t send a message and then never hear back ― they get responses really fast.

Also, recognizing that people have lives. A lot of students come to the online program because they have families and are working ― they need flexibility. One of my students told me on a Saturday night that, because of a sick child, she wasn’t going to be able to get the last two assignments in; she asked for an extension. This is where flexibility on the side of faculty can really help students out. It’s more important to me that you turn it in late rather than not at all.

How do you ensure your online courses are academically equal to the offerings on campus?

Professor Jones: It’s a standardized curriculum, so the students who are online learn the same material as students taking the course on campus. Students don’t want to just read something or watch a video. They want to be involved. They have discussion boards which allow students to post their ideas and respond to their peers. To help facilitate the conversations, I will jump in discussion groups and respond. That really keeps the engagement going ― both for me to know what they’re going through, and for each other.

Maryville prides itself on being brave. In what way do you think the students and faculty here are brave?

Professor Jones: I think more than any other institutions where I’ve worked before, Maryville students are taking more initiative. But I think our students are brave for being willing to jump into the workforce and accept the fact that they’re going to have to work hard. That makes them brave ― their willingness to jump in and do it.

Also, our faculty are willing to keep innovating. I think whether you’re a staff member here or faculty, you definitely have to be willing to keep changing and innovating and keeping a positive attitude through it all.