Recent Master of Education graduate, Lisa found balance with teaching and taking classes while making her family investment a priority. Enjoy her story about their fun family camping traditions and strategies for adult learning.
Our camping tradition is really rooted in my own childhood experiences. After my parents divorced, my dad joined a group called Parents without Partners (PWP), and they led a lot of family events and activities. One of the events was a family weekend camping trip. My dad bought a tent and some sleeping bags and away we went. Some of my most favorite memories from my childhood are from those camping times with my dad and siblings. Eventually, we upgraded to a pop-up camper. It was a cost efficient vacation for our family of 4 children, and we loved traveling to different camping spots!
Years later, actually, the year I graduated from NWC in 2005 with my undergrad, my husband and I bought a tent, supplies, and began our own tradition. It was just the two of us then. The year after our son was born we upgraded to a pop-up camper, and again to a travel trailer the year I decided to pursue my masters. Oh, the luxuries of camping with a travel trailer AND A/C! It has been a favorite pastime of my family.
Usually, camping is a full extended family experience (my parents, my sisters and their family, and cousins too). I am the “camping queen” to all of them. My sister even bought me a shirt and a tiara to go with it. We plan menus for the whole weekend to help cut down on cost for each family and then we cook and eat as a big family. My husband is the “camp chef” and does an awesome job cooking over an open fire.
Enjoying Summer and Taking Classes
Taking summer courses and enjoying the summer has definitely been possible. I either stayed up late during the week to have my coursework completed before we went camping or used my mobile hotspot to log in at the campground. I also did a lot of work when my son took part in summer programs too. I would drop him off and then go find a place to do coursework until it was time to pick him up. It makes a big difference that I have summer vacation from teaching. I would go to his ballgames and then come home and do homework when the family was in bed. I also downloaded the Blackboard app on my smartphone, so in route to events, I could respond to discussions.
Balance and Efficiency
At times it has been a struggle to find balance while pursuing my master’s degree. I only have one child; I can’t imagine how the juggling is with more than one. The first semester was the hardest find a routine and balance. Once I had a routine and planned what I was going to do each day then it became a bit easier. I have a certain task I try to do each day and then use the weekends to get most things finished. I also give myself one day a week off from any coursework. Thursdays are my day to get home from work and I do not even look at my courses. I give myself permission to veg and watch my TV shows. I believe that is important. Many times, I have stayed up after my family has gone to bed to finish classwork. There are also breaks between semester sessions that are a blessing. They give us family time to come back together and refresh. We try to plan ahead for major events so I can get my work started earlier. The professors are always willing to work with you. I am extremely grateful for their understanding on the importance of time with family.
A Support System is Key
Working toward your master’s isn’t an easy endeavor to take on without the support of family and friends. It is important to have a network of people you can rely on and help when things get overwhelming. My husband has really had to step up helping with meals, laundry, and taking our son on father/son outings so I could have time to work quietly. I heard from many friends and colleagues who said they had regretted not pursuing their master’s degree. I didn’t want to look back on my own life and wonder “what if.” So I say, “just do it!”
The 2017 Northwestern College commencement ceremony was certainly one for the archives. For the first time since 1996, Master of Educations students walked across the graduation stage. Although preceded by two graduate cohorts, these students collectively marked Northwestern history as the first Master’s students to complete their advanced degree entirely online. Forty-six Master of Education students and four RN to BSN program graduates earning their Bachelors of Science in Nursing completed their Northwestern degrees online this year. As online programs increasingly grow in availability and popularity, Northwestern seeks to serve working professionals with quality continuing education opportunities rooted in faith and community.
Building online programs that encourage working students to develop relationships with fellow students and faculty without meeting face-to-face or even online at the same time is not an easy task. It takes a common purpose and a lot of dedication for students and faculty to have the best experience. In observing the commencement ceremony and reception, it was obvious how impactful these online programs are in the lives of both students and staff. Their touch points had remained on either side of computer screens until the celebration, which allowed faculty to finally meet their student’s newborn or hug their student who battled and beat heart surgery. For all – it was more than celebrating academic accomplishments but acknowledging life’s journey.
“We [the Graduate School and Adult Learning faculty and staff] were ecstatic to meet the graduates who attended graduation. The online environment at NWC allows faculty to get to know these students so personally, however, the opportunity to give them a hug and see their joy in being hooded was unforgettable. In addition, the reception after the ceremony was an awesome time to spend with our graduates and their families while honoring their accomplishment, “said Master of Education Director Sara Waring-Tiedeman.
As President Greg Christy encourages all graduates, “Northwestern has been part of God’s will for your life, and I pray what you learned here enables you to eagerly and skillfully respond to God’s call in your work, faith and family life.” Northwestern College is now an influence for student eighteen years of age or fifty-five, but regardless empowering them to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world.
For two years, I spent my spring break serving on a Spring Service Project working with a ministry called Hope for Opelousas. This ministry works with students hailing from St. Landry’s Parish, the poorest school district in the state.
My first year, I walked into Opelousas Junior High, wide-eyed and ready to change the world. What I didn’t realize was how complicated building relationships would be. I spent the week working with students, tutoring HFO kids, and connecting with members of the community. But when I left, I still felt unsure. I didn’t know whether I’d made my impact or helped anyone. In fact, it had felt as though the people of Louisiana had changed me more than I had changed them.
Fast forward to the spring of my junior year. After not feeling as though I had done enough, I decided to sign up to return to Opelousas a second year. This year, I knew I’d make a difference. After joining together with my team of 19 other individuals, I was awestruck by the wonderful people I’d be embarking on this journey with. But when we got down to Opelousas a second time, I realized I wasn’t there to change the world. I was there just to show I care and love people deeply.
I spent three days serving in Opelousas Junior High once again, walking alongside a new teacher who had just finished her training and walked into a messy classroom of students mid-year. She was worn down from trying to take control of a group of students she’d never worked with before. However, the characteristic I kept seeing shine through this teacher was her love and deep desire to help these students.
The days I wasn’t serving in the school, I helped scrape and prime a house to be painted. We also cleaned out a storage area for a local organization that offered extracurricular activities for students in the area. While standing around and cleaning all day may not sound like a treat, spending time with the wonderful people of Opelousas and Northwestern certainly was, and seeing the excitement of everyone as the house was closer to completion definitely made the days worth it.
Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was serving a student named Landon. Landon was a 7 th grader who attended one of my classes at Opelousas Junior High. After school, I had the opportunity to work alongside him and tutor him through HFO. Watching this student work to the best of his abilities to make his mother proud was phenomenal.
It was here that I learned that I wasn’t there to change peoples’ lives. Instead, I was there to love, and that was enough. After all, just like Hope for Opelousas’ mission statement says, “Love changes everything.”
Meet the Author
Nicole is an English Teaching major at Northwestern. She serves as the Blog Coordinator and writing tutor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. As a writing tutor, she is already preparing for her teaching career. Nicole will graduate May 2017 and serve as the 10th grade english teacher at MOC-FV in Orange City.
Nicole also has a passion for social justice and young adult literature.
Northwestern College graduate students took part in the inaugural Celebration of Research on Thursday. Six graduate students presented their work to fellow students, staff, faculty, family and community members. Each of the graduate students presented their research from the cumulating capstone course in their Master of Education program. Each student provided an abstract, poster, and artifacts for the event. Their research covered a wide range of topics. Overall, the projects contained practical action research that the graduate students had completed in their own classrooms.
The research papers can be viewed in the institutional repository, NWCommons. They are also indexed and included in WorldCat. The event was a fantastic celebration capping National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week. Plans are already being put into place for the second Celebration of Research in the spring of 2018!
For more information and to read more M.Ed student stories, view the Master of Education page.
In the 16-week Capstone course students apply the cumulative knowledge and skills learned in their master’s program. Research focus may be related to student learning, teacher effectiveness, school quality, school policy or other area by approval. The course professor will work closely with each student on their project and timeline providing direct guidance on each step of the project.
The capstone project fits one of these areas:
· Action research in your classroom, building or district
· Literature review on a trend or issue in education
· School improvement project
· Building, district or state-level advocacy project
· Other, with approval
Each capstone will be summarized in a written paper in the style of an article that could be published in a scholarly journal. The paper will include:
· An introduction to the problem, question or issue that served as the impetus for the capstone
· Justification for why the work was needed
· A review of current published research used to inform the work on the capstone
· The process the student took to implement, solve, try, or advocate
· The results of the work
If you have specific questions regarding this course please contact Dr. Sara Tiedeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 712-707-7407.
Meet the Author
Sara Tiedeman is chief administrator for Northwestern’s Master of Education degree programs. Waring-Tiedeman earned a doctorate in educational administration, specializing in educational leadership and adult education, at the University of South Dakota. She also holds a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor’s degree in English.
Sara lives in Orange City with her husband and son. She has a passion for education and helping adult learners expand their knowledge and teaching skills.
There are endless reasons to continue your education in earning a BSN. Each student has his or her own motivation, but we are here to help you broaden your career options, grow in your nursing abilities, and achieve your education goals. Whether you’re preparing to transfer directly from your ADN at a community or technical college, or you’ve been working in the field for years, you may be asking how do I even start!
First things first, contact an enrollment counselor to guide you through the steps.
We will look at your unofficial or official ADN transcripts to give you a transcript evaluation and optional plan of study. You can get a good idea of what YOUR program will be and when it works best for you to start. Next, you can apply for free and send official transcripts for admittance, file FAFSA and request financial aid, and the final step happens when we register you for your first semester!
5 tips in preparing for a successful and stress-free transfer:
- Prepare early
The sooner you begin thinking about continuing your degree, the better. Give yourself time to plan when you’ll be finishing your associate degree, taking your boards, and beginning your BSN. When you choose your BSN program early, you can be best prepared ahead of time. You can take nearly all of the electives while you are still in your ADN program. If you would like help in choosing which courses to take, contact an enrollment counselor and your current academic advisor.
If you’re already a working nurse, it’s not too late. We’re here for support and help make the program fit you.
- Know what transfers
One of the most important steps in transferring is knowing exactly what courses transfer and what courses you will have left to take in the BSN program. You can send unofficial transcripts to an enrollment counselor to be evaluated. We have partnerships with many community colleges to make the transferring of credits as seamless as possible.
- Determine financial aid
Continuing your education is more than a time investment. There are many ways to help make your program affordable - from grants and loans to specific RN to BSN scholarships. You will want to file FAFSA. Our financial aid office will put together an aid package for you, and we have additional resources for you.
- ASK questions
No question is a dumb question. Enrollment counselors can answer questions about program requirements, course structure, financial aid, academic tutor support, or what happens if you need to stop out a semester.
Have you ever met a nurse that wasn’t busy? Neither have I. You will be busy, but your determination to be a life-changing caregiver is the same determination to complete your degree. You CAN balance work, family, and life. An online program does give you flexibility. Believe in yourself to embrace the hard work in takes to achieve your goal. Write down your goals so when it gets tough you can refer back. Having a good support system that includes your advisor, professors, family, and friends makes all the difference.
As a nurse you are a lifelong caregiver. You have the heart to care for the most broken and worn down people of the Lord’s kingdom – take courage!
Read more about how to transfer your ADN credits toward your BSN.
Meet the Author
Leslie Stover is the marketing coordinator for the Graduate School and Adult Learning programs. She has worked as an enrollment counselor for the RN to BSN program assisting nursing students to begin their BSN program.
Leslie is a graduate of Northwestern College. Since her graduation she has completed her Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She enjoys helping working professionals achieve their education goals and professional development through Northwestern programs and continuing education events.
The clinical/practicum component within the online RN-BSN program is flexible and tailored to coincide with the demands of a busy schedule. There are three nursing courses that have a practicum component; each clinical looks a little different.
In NUR 280A: Health Assessment, the clinical requirement is basically completing health assessments within a virtual program known as Shadow Health®. The clinical experience is 30 hours that can be done on your own time and in the comfort of your own home.
In NUR 460A : Nursing Leadership and Clinical Scholarship the clinical/practicum experience equals 30 hours (all inclusive). Some of the activities you will need to complete include: Leadership Practicum: 16 hours (based on approved learning contract)
- shadow a nurse leader (someone in administrative, not clinical position) for 8 hours and observe their leadership/management roles and skills
- interview 2 people: one nurse managers or nurse leaders (not resource or charge nurses rather in administrative position) and one non-nursing administrator/CEO.
Discussion board postings, IHI open school modules; Clinical leadership paper reflecting on your clinical learning.
The last nursing course with clinical/practicum is NUR 440A: Public Health Nursing. This course has the largest clinical component. It totals 60 hours but the majority can be completed when it is convenient for you. Some of the clinical requirements include: interviewing a public health nurse, completing a windshield survey of your chosen county, observing care in home health and hospice settings, observing a minimum of four hours in either a WIC clinic, school, or Occupational health; you also need to complete online activities, case studies and discussion boards related to clinical content. Although there is a lot of work with this clinical, most of it can be completed on your own time. The only things that will need to happen during the workday are the observations.
The goal of this clinical/practicum experiences are for you to see different perspectives of nursing practice. While you are experienced nurses, you may not have had administrative or public health roles. Often if one has the opportunity to see multiple perspectives in health care, it creates an understanding of why certain decisions are made (or not made) and gives an organizational or systems perspective rather than only from an individual viewpoint.
Of course, you can always contact us for more specific information about clinicals and course requirements. Take a look at all the courses you would take in the program: RN to BSN Program Requirements.
Meet the Author
Karie is the program director for the online RN to BSN program. She has extensive teaching experience, including a strong background in the development and delivery of online courses. She previously taught at Northwest Iowa Community College for seven years.
Karie also worked for the Orange City Area Health System for 11 years as a nurse manager and floor nurse. She has worked in medical/surgical nursing, obstetrics and mental health. She advises all of the online students and teaches several classes both online and on campus for traditional students. Karie truly has a passion to develop nurses for life-long care-giving and servant leadership in the healthcare.
We often have questions about how and when students can pay their bills. We're here to help make the process as convenient as possible from online payment options to monthly payment plans.
Student payments are due by Aug. 1 for first semester and the second semester payments are due in January of the new semester by the 3rd of the month. Online students can view their bill online and should make their payment online on MyNWC under the billing information tab. Payment can be made with e-check which has no fee, or by credit card which has a 2.75% fee.
Online students may pay on a monthly payment plan by completing a monthly payment form found on MyNWC under the “billing information” tab. Enrollment for 1st semester must be made by July 1 and by November registration for the spring semester. The monthly payment form needs to be completed and e-mailed to the business office by the date given on the form. First semester payments are due July 25, August 25, Sept. 25, Oct. 25 and November 25. Second semester payments are due Dec. 25, January 25, February 25, March 25 and April 25.
There is a $25.00 per semester set up fee for monthly payments. There is no additional interest charged unless your payment is delinquent. In that case, you will owe the entire balance and interest of 1% per month will be charged to your account. Monthly payments may change if you change your class schedule, or there is an adjustment in your financial aid package.
If you do not make your payments, you will not be able to get into classes, Blackboard or use campus facilities and we cannot give you a diploma or release your transcripts or credentials until you settle your account. We are always available if you have questions!
please call (712-707-7125) or email (email@example.com).
I’m excited to write my first blog for NWC! What’s even more exciting is that I can write this about a fun topic that we all enjoy – FOOD!!
My goal in this particular blog is to give you some helpful hints in trying to manage your family schedule, homework, household chores, etc. while feeding your family. I know that there are some weeks it seems I especially fail, so don’t feel that this is by any means the best method. Make sure you give yourself some grace!
So how do I figure out what meals to make and when? Well, there are a couple of methods I use:
- Look in your cupboards and freezer to see what should get eaten or has been sitting there for awhile. If it’s not expired, determine what you can make with it. You can do this by looking for recipes that contain a few of your ingredients. One of the best websites I have found for this is allrecipes.com
- Take out one of your cookbooks each month and view recipes you think your family might like. Lay them out on a calendar according to your schedule. Make sure you write down any ingredients you might need for your next shopping trip to the grocery store.
- Once a month sit down and plan your meals according to the family’s schedule. Make sure to assign crockpot meals for those nights you are super busy! Also, build in some leftover days. Make sure you take advantage of tailgates and fundraising meals at various churches, schools, and other community events! It’s a great way to ease the stress and mess!
- Look at Pinterest for Meal Planning tips and tricks. Find one that best suits your family, food preferences, and lifestyle.
- Cook some meals with friends! I love to get together with a group of friends and set aside a day to make meals! You can also participate in meal exchanges too!
Ultimately, you need to do what works for you and your family’s lifestyle. No matter what or when you eat, I would encourage you to enjoy your family meals together! Ask each other about your day.
Remember some of the fondest memories are made around the table together!
Meet the Author
Crystal is the senior enrollment counselor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. She works especially with our Master of Ed. students in preparing to begin the program, advising on classes and registration, and walking alongside as they progress to graduation. She also completed her MBA online all while balancing work, family, and life commitments.
When Crystal is not helping students register for classes or building programs of study, you might find her training for a half-marathon, cheering on her kid's sporting events, volunteering at church or cooking meals with friends.
Enrolling in college is a huge step—whether it’s transferring to complete your degree or returning to school after some (or much!) time away. The transition to completing homework and writing papers on a regular basis can be intimidating at first. Thankfully, you are not alone in making the transition to academic life.
Academic support is available to those who need it. As a writing tutor at Northwestern, I have had the opportunity to help students in an online nursing course. While tutoring looks a little different online, we are here to walk alongside you to help you succeed.
Receiving feedback will be a different process than face-to-face interaction. However, the quality of support will remain the same, and tutors will go out of their way to help as much as they possibly can.
When asking for help, students will typically send an electronic copy of their paper via email. Depending on tutor and student availability, a time can then be set up to discuss the paper. Tutors aren’t there just to provide constructive criticism; we will also help you to capitalize on your strengths and grow more confident in whatever subject you’re working in.
In the past, I have done Skype meetings or phone calls. In-document comments are also provided so students can more easily remember the comments discussed. From there, any further questions can be discussed via email, phone call, or Skype. Tutors are willing to help and work to meet your schedule demands.
While college or grad school can seem demanding, you are not alone. Whatever class you’re concerned with, from math and chemistry to writing, support is available. The tutors are willing to work with your schedule to provide you with the best feedback possible. For more information about tutoring services, contact your Northwestern academic advisor.
Meet the Author
Nicole is an English Teaching major at Northwestern. She serves as the Blog Coordinator and writing tutor for the Graduate School and Adult Learning. As a writing tutor, she is already preparing for her career goals of teaching 8th, 9th, or 12 grade English.
Nicole also has a passion for social justice and young adult literature.