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Spotlight on Walden // Jan 06, 2014

New Graduate Says DBA is Preparing Him for the Future

Jason Newcomer, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) 2013 graduate and a major in the U.S. Air Force overseeing the strategic planning staff at Headquarters Air Force Flight Standards Agency, says his pursuit of a D.B.A. not only helped him connect the organization’s operations and future needs with higher level strategic guidance but also helped him earn a promotion.

“My Pentagon leadership deemed the skills and knowledge I obtained through pursuit of my D.B.A. as critical to my current position as chief of airfield operations strategic planning. It is truly amazing how the credentials and learning outcomes opened doors to create positive social change,” said Dr. Newcomer.

Before crossing the commencement stage in Orlando on Jan. 11, Dr. Newcomer shared with Spotlight on Walden his Walden experience and what’s next for him.

How has your Walden education prepared you for the future?
In addition to my role with the U.S. Air Force, I teach as an adjunct faculty member at another university. The doctoral degree I earned from Walden qualified me for a promotion from instructor to assistant professor at the university and opened future teaching positions as available options once I retire from the Air Force.

Besides your promotions, what other impact has your DBA had on your career?
As an officer, leadership is the most important part of my job. The focus of my doctoral study was on leadership development and it allowed me to couple the benefits of aiding my organization with the benefits of developing my own understanding of leadership concepts. The results of the study contained findings and recommendations that informed the senior decision-makers at the Pentagon on how they might be able to improve the program. Recommendations included a need to reevaluate how the leadership development teams assess past decisions and how their teams’ developmental processes needed more standardization among the various functional groups. An improved officer development program can have a positive effect on not just me, but also help the U.S. military better protect the American people and maintain regional stability.

What advice would you share with current students who are still working toward their graduation?
I think a universal piece of advice that applies to all degree levels is, “hang in there.” Regardless of the degree, there are many academic, personal, and professional challenges that can delay or derail a student. Being resilient is necessary to overcome those hurdles. Resiliency can come from many different sources; mine came from (a) the need to finish what I started, (b) the financial investment, and (c) being a source of inspiration for my peers who were farther behind in the program. When all willpower failed, my dissertation chair and friend, Dr. Sandy Kolberg, was there as a professional and mentor to help keep me on track. I can never thank her enough.

What has it meant to you to have the support of family and friends during your education journey?
It was through strong faith, learned values, shared experiences, and seasoned mentorship that I was able to come this far. I am grateful to my friends and family who stood by my side and granted to me pardon for the many events and quality time I missed in pursuit of this degree. I will never forget those who have played such critical roles.

Now that you have graduated, what’s next?
I recently started a professional development company that focuses on helping others achieve their personal and professional goals. I have always been a go-to person for people who wanted advice, and I enjoyed helping them achieve their goals, so the DBA in leadership was a perfect capstone credential for starting a company doing just that. I also submitted a condensed version of my dissertation to a journal and developed several ideas for future publication. I am writing a second article with colleagues that I plan to submit by the end of January 2014. I would like to capitalize on my doctoral education to maximize my potential as an officer, business professional, educator, and scholar.