Sally Hyatt works as an assistant dean at the Blair College of Health and Presbyterian School of Nursing, a part of Queens University in Charlotte, NC. She lives in Charlotte, yet commutes to the University of South Carolina to attend the College of Education to earn her Ph.D. in Education Leadership: Higher Education.
Sally’s interests in research and scholarship led her to the Ph.D. program for educational administration. She selected USC over other competitive programs because of recent graduates she knew and their stories of success and positive experiences.
“The College of Education will impress and challenge you. It’s a hidden gem”
Sally started her doctoral journey in the fall of 2012 and has benefited from positive experiences just as her peers had described to her- faculty in the College of Education seek to nurture student research interests and provide experiences outside the classroom to help students develop as scholars:
On more than one occasion faculty offered to review scholarly papers she submitted to present at conferences. As the result of their help and encouragement, Sally is scheduled to independently present a scholarly paper at the Council for the Study of Community Colleges in April.
Dr. Douglas Smith helped Sally co-author a book review publication in Journal of College Student Retention, and he deferred to Sally as the lead author.
As a journal editor, Dr. Susan Bon offered to help Sally publish a book review in the Journal of School Public Relations, and as a result of Dr Bon's efforts, she was published in the 2015 Fall edition.
Sally has found that the program at UofSC sparks her intellectual curiosity inside and outside the classroom; these experiences are not always formal. As a commuter student who works full-time, she drives down from Charlotte, NC to attend class. She often stays after class to grab a bite to eat with other students and professors to continue class discussions.
Class is fun, but still challenging. She says, as she remembers one class in particular, when about a third of the way through, she felt like she had no idea what was going on. She quickly found she wasn’t alone, so she and a group of students began to meet after class to break things down and discuss the content each week. They not only became friends, but the class turned into being one of her favorites. “This is just one of many examples of how challenging classes are fun, it’s part of the student/faculty culture,” Sally said proudly.
“The College of Education will impress and challenge you. It’s a hidden gem,” Sally remarks. “Folks don’t seem to realize how well it is positioned to cultivate student success.” Sally goes on to explain that while the programs are not easy, the classes can be hard and faculty have high expectations, there is no shortage of supportive faculty and staff to help. Campuses of all kinds say they have rigorous programs with supportive faculty/staff, but in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina, it isn’t just lip service. The support and investment is sincere. Sally explains a strong support system at home also helps, and she is blessed with the support of her husband and daughter.
Every student needs to be disciplined, dedicated, and have the ability to fit the coursework into their life. Sally was lucky enough to be able to take leave from work, but for some of her friends it meant taking longer than they thought to finish. “You have to find a healthy balance,” Sally explains. Her Ph.D. will hopefully help her move into a tenure-track position. She also wishes to continue to work towards developing publications from her dissertation research and furthering her research at Queens.