Walden faculty member Dr. Yvonne Doll speaks from experience in describing the fit between military service and online higher education.
Dr. Yvonne Doll, a faculty member in Walden University’s School of Management, is a trailblazer. A member of the second class that admitted women to West Point, she selected the military police corps in the U.S. Army for her service after graduation. For 26 years, she worked around the world as a security officer, criminal investigator, operations officer, comptroller, commander, and leadership teacher. During this time, she was also a wife, mother, and student in bachelor’s and master’s degrees programs. She earned a doctorate in management after retiring from the service and joined Walden in 2010.
In honor of Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, Spotlight on Walden talked to Dr. Doll about her experiences in the service and how online higher education can help prepare veterans for a career after service to their country.
Looking back at my years in the Army, including as a West Point cadet, I had many great experiences. First, my education at the United States Military Academy was first rate. After graduating from West Point in May 1981, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. My best job was when I was the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) commander in Hawaii and the Pacific. My special agents were dedicated, trained, and committed to obtaining the facts and putting the criminals in prison. During my service, I was able to meet, help, and train so many honorable, selfless people. I never looked at my career as a job; it was something I loved to do.
Thanks to my military career, I benefited from a range of experiences and cultures that has widened my perspective and deepened my understanding of the importance of clearly communicating with each other. In the service, I learned that active listening is one of the most underrated but important skills in education. I think I am a better educator because I try to identify the real problem using critical-thinking skills, discuss the alternatives, get everyone into the discussion, and explore possible solutions.
Veterans are intelligent, realistic team players who can follow rules but also think independently and will give you honest answers and comments. Veterans will tell you the truth, even if the news is ugly. Veterans can adapt to change, and they have a highly developed sense of duty and loyalty and ethical standards.
My higher education degree has opened many doors for career advancement. After I graduated with my doctoral degree from an online program, I was promoted to associate professor and able to chair many graduate studies for my students. The beauty of online education, especially for service men and women, is you have so much flexibility. You can go to school in the early morning, at night, on the weekends, or while stationed overseas. You control your time and you do not need to commute to a building to learn with others. Also, advanced educational degrees help active duty members get promoted in their careers, and as lifelong learners, they expand their knowledge base, change their thinking patterns, meet students from all over the world, and improve their writing and research abilities.
For active duty servicemembers and veterans who want to learn more about going back to school online, watch the webinar “Walden Salutes Our Military Community” at www.brainshark.com/walden/SalutetoMilitary.