From Tech to UNT: Great Education, Awkward Football for Life

Just about anyone who knows me, knows that I am finishing up my Master’s degree at Norwich University and am immediately starting my Ph.D. What they may not know is where, because over the past few months, I have floated many names of potential institutions to start my next degree program. After a process of mutual rejection and disappointments, I have landed in the Learning Technologies Ph.D. program at the University of North Texas.

There is a lot that I like about this. For starters, UNT is forward-thinking with the program and have opened it to include distance learners. This was important for me, because Tech did not have a single Ph.D. program that I felt captured the essence of the doctoral work I wanted to pursue in computing, education, and cognition. Because of this, it originally appeared that I would need to leave the professional nest that I have built for myself in Ruston. Fortunately, that will not be the case, as I have grown quite attached to some of my coworkers.

Secondly, I like the fact that UNT, like Tech, is an institution that is building prestige. When I was deliberating whether or not to pursue the Ph.D. program at UNT or wait to reapply to more competitive (read: prestigious) universities, one thing that resonated with me was the idea that it is much more satisfying to help build a program than to stand on the backs of people who have already built elite programs.

What I’m not looking forward to about UNT is football. For those who may not be aware, both Louisiana Tech and UNT are members of Conference USA. More specifically, both are members of C-USA’s Western Division which means that UNT and Tech face off on the gridiron more-or-less every year theses days. To make matters especially awkward, my first year as a UNT student finds the Mean Green taking a trip to Ruston in November – for Tech’s homecoming game. Pretty awkward time to don green for the first time.

Kidding aside, I’m really excited about being involved with the program at North Texas. Classes started today, and so far the professors like my type: no nonsense. It will be interesting adapting to the teaching methodologies at UNT after spending a year-and-a-half with Norwich. Still, it should be easier than adapting to wearing green after fifteen years of blue.