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Professional Development Plan





Steven R. Van Hook, M.A.



March 20, 2002




Walden University

Ph.D. in Education Program





Part 1


Description of Personal and Professional Goals



Brief personal introduction, personal and professional goals, and how these goals intersect with academic interests and field of study – especially in effecting positive social change.


Much of my professional experience has been dedicated to informing and educating the public, whether as a journalist in print and broadcast media, working in social services, managing a USAID-sponsored public education media project in Ukraine, or teaching university courses.


I was especially impressed and distressed during my travels in Eastern Europe, both as a journalist and an international development consultant, by how few educational opportunities were provided to families and children living in outlying regions, and how often they were denied even the possibility of moving to a city with state universities and colleges. I was an occasional guest lecturer to university students in Russia and Ukraine, and I noticed though the quality of proffered education was high, it was frequently to the benefit of children of well-connected parentage.


I encountered a “telecottage” program sponsored by USAID and initiated in rural areas of Hungary, offering village children and adults a chance to study in a modestly equipped computer center, tapping localized learning resources and courses over the Internet. Here were children who had never traveled to a city, let alone a college campus, suddenly gaining access to global repositories of knowledge. I researched similar private and publicly supported projects underway in Asia, South America, Africa, and elsewhere.


At the time, I was completing an online Master’s program in Business Communications with Jones International University from my work base in Kiev, so I had direct experience with the benefits of distance education provided to socially, economically, technologically, and educationally isolated regions. Much of my graduate and professional work since has been devoted to researching ways and developing skills to help advance distance learning opportunities for otherwise precluded people.


My Master’s paper on the topic, “Will Global Learning Get Online?” has been published or distributed in several forums, including the International Global Learning Forum at Appalachian State University; the Global e-Learning 2001 Summit in British Columbia; and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework 2000 - 2004.


I plan to target my Walden doctoral studies into issues related to international distance learning—including social, political, economic, and cultural obstacles—as well as the technological, pedagogical, and transcultural infrastructure that will help enable the full promise distance learning has to offer.



Part 2


Description of Educational Background and Research Proficiency



Academic coursework in social and behavioral sciences

Academic coursework in other fields


Much of my undergraduate and graduate coursework focused on social and behavioral sciences, including sequences in general psychology, counseling psychology, dynamics of communication, economics, history, world religions, etc. I also completed sequences in physics, emerging technologies, literature, and business. I’ve conducted considerable independent study and have an extensive home library with texts in subjects ranging from biology, Russian and Chinese history, business management, sociology, art, intercultural relations, to eastern philosophies, marketing, international economics, and astronomy.



Professional presentations, seminars, and other workshops


I have organized and led presentations, seminars and workgroups in numerous settings, including:


·        A series of seminars across Russia for government and business leaders on effective media relations

·        A workshop in job interview skills for recently displaced workers

·        A workshop in stress management for social service workers

·        A training seminar for educators on implementing various online teaching tools

·        Guest presenter for university professors from across Ukraine on developments in western media

·        Frequent presenter to service groups, community organizations, and news media on developments in Eastern Europe



Volunteer activities


Some of my volunteer activities include three years as a Head Start program officer, several years participating with social service interagency panels, one year with a county Crime Prevention program (including appearances as McGruff the crime dog), one year service on the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury, two years as a VISTA volunteer and trainer, pro-bono media work for groups including Project Moscow Medicine, Amnesty International, the United Nations Association, and memberships in service organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Santa Barbara Media Committee.



Prior experience designing and executing research


I received training in research and investigative reporting at the University of Oregon School of Journalism.  I have had experience conducting online research, accessing academic journals and databases, electronic libraries, university resources, and online media outlets. I proposed, designed, and completed several research papers during my Master’s studies, including topics:


Melding mindsets: A survey of transnational, transcultural and trans-ideological communication issues facing American managers in former socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe



Cross-cultural variances in team effectiveness: The East European experience



Distance education: Will global learning get online?




Publications and other writing experiences


As a professional journalist and writer, my work has appeared in print and broadcast outlets including: NBC affiliates (three years as a television reporter, anchor, and bureau chief), Old Oregon Magazine (the University of Oregon alumni magazine), Southern Oregon Review (three years as a weekly columnist), CNN, Talk-Net Radio affiliate (business and community affairs talk-show host), National Public Radio stations, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Santa Barbara News-Press, the Kiev University Academic Journal, and other outlets in Eastern Europe which translated and published my writings on media and public relations.



Teaching assignments


I’ve been an occasional guest lecturer for the University of Kiev Institute of Journalism. I am currently a credentialed online instructor for Cardean University in the Effective Communications suite and a Foundations of Global Management course. I developed and teach courses in Fundamentals of Advertising and Marketing in a Changing World for the University of California International Program, and I am now developing courses for Antioch University in marketing and global economics to begin teaching in spring 2002.



Professional training


Some of my professional training has included a week-long retreat in community organizing skills through the United States ACTION program as a VISTA volunteer, training and licensing in computer monitoring systems as a probation officer with the Oregon Department of Corrections, and numerous professional seminars for international development project managers through the United States Agency for International Development. I participated in a three-day orientation workshop with Cardean University covering principles including online pedagogy, problem-based learning, cognitive design of course content, tactics for engaging students, etc.



Academic strengths and weaknesses


I am a self motivated and directed student, and found a comfortable fit completing my Master’s degree in an online program. I enjoy designing and executing my own study programs through independent research and practica. I suppose one of my academic weaknesses is that I have found it difficult to target my studies into a narrow field of interest. I have a hard time segmenting schools of knowledge into precise focused boundaries; rather I enjoy synthesizing and sometimes muddling fields as diverse as physics, philosophy, business management, and theories of evolution.



Research strengths or weaknesses


One of my research strengths is I have maintained extensive files and databases of news and journal reports for more than two decades in subjects ranging from international development, education, social issues, sciences, technological developments, media, global economics, and dozens of other topic headings. One of my research weaknesses would be limited financial resources for purchasing quantities of full-text reports through academic databases.



Availability of library, reference, and information technology resources


I subscribe to several online research and media outlets. I have access to the research resources through the University of California at Santa Barbara, as both a faculty and friend-of-the-library member. I am also skilled in conducting online research through numerous general and specialized search engines.



Part 3


Individualized Plan of Study and Program of Study Form


Overall learning goals relating to field of study


I’d like to complete a self-designed specialization program in transcultural distance learning—examining means to expand learning opportunities through new technologies internationally and across cultures, transcending cultural differences while appreciating them, focusing on commonalities and common interests in an increasingly interconnected educational, social, and business network of nations.


Within the Knowledge Area Module (KAM) curriculum, I’ll examine developments in distance education, changes in global social and economic relations, and how those changes impact international learning opportunities. I hope to synthesize my KAM research and writings to contribute to my dissertation in the general subject area of finding efficacy in transcultural distance learning. 



Plan of Study



I will be completing the KAMs in the order as presented in the Curriculum Guide, starting with KAM 1 in my first quarter (Spring 02): Theories of Societal Development; Current Research in International Societal Development; Professional Practice and International Societal Development. For this KAM, I’ll research how changing models of economic interaction impact modes of social interaction. For the Breadth component, I will compare theories of societal changes, especially societal changes triggered through evolving and revolving economic systems. For the Depth component, I will synthesize current literature on how changing models of domestic, international, and global economic interaction have impacted social interplay, grounded in the theoretical foundation of the Breadth component. For the Application component, I will incorporate the theoretical and practical conclusions of Depth and Breadth components within my syllabus and content preparation for an Antioch University course in Global Economics. I will allocate three quarters to complete the first KAM, including the Human Inquiry and Science course (SBSF 8417) in Quarter 2 (Summer 02).




Starting with KAM 2 in my fourth quarter (Winter 02), I will be aiming to complete one KAM per quarter, submitted early enough in the third month of the quarter to allow time for any necessary modifications. I will incorporate a global perspective to this KAM’s subject areas in Theories of Human Development; Current Research in International Human Development; Professional Practice and International Human Development. For Breadth, I will analyze human development theories and principles ranging from sociobiological (e.g., Wilson and Montagu), to psychological (e.g., Jung and Maslow), to spiritual (e.g., Muslim and Hindu). For Depth, I will evaluate how human development theories vary and conflict between cultures. For Application, I will critique my earlier Master’s work in cross-cultural communications within the framework of varied and conflicting human development theories in intercultural relations.




I’ll begin this KAM in my fifth quarter (Spring 03): Theories of Organizational and Social Systems; Current Research in International Organizational and Social Systems; Professional Practice in International Organizational and Social Systems. I’ll focus on cross-cultural issues in international interactions between organizational and social systems.  For Breadth, I will attempt to synthesize divergent social systems theories to form a “unified field” theory of systems development.  For Depth, I will contrast cross-cultural organizational management theories with the unified systems theory from Breadth. For Application, I will evaluate my four-year experience managing Ukrainian and Russian staff in Eastern Europe within perspective of the Depth and Breadth components.




Human Inquiry and Science (SBSF 8417) in Quarter 2 (Summer 02).

Research Design in Education (EDUC 8427) in Quarter 6 (Summer 03).

Data Analysis in Educational Research (EDUC 8437) in Quarter 7 (Fall 03).




I’ll begin this KAM in my sixth quarter (Summer 03): Theories of Intelligence, Learning and Motivation as a Basic Praxis; Distance Education as a Facilitator of Learning; Professional Practice Using Distance Learning Theories. This KAM will help fortify my understanding of learning theories as applied to the pedagogical and technical aspects of distance learning. For Breadth, I will compare theoretical foundations of the processes and exigencies associated with intelligence, learning, and motivation within a learning environment. For Depth, I will contrast and synthesize the best aspects of traditional pedagogy with newer models of andragogy in distance learning environments. For Application, I will incorporate the principles from Breadth and Depth in new student-centered methods of learning within distance courses I develop and teach for Cardean and Antioch universities. Also during this quarter I will take my next course in the Research series, Research Design in Education (EDUC 8427), and complete a 20 day residency.




I’ll begin this KAM in my seventh quarter (Fall 03): Organization of Learning Institutions; New Models in Transcultural Learning Institutions and Curricula; Creating and Implementing Global Learning Opportunities. For Breadth, I will compare theories in the organization of learning institutions, and synthesize the most appropriate theoretical aspects within the Depth component as they may contribute to the practical development of curricula for transcultural learning institutions. For Application, I will integrate the Breadth and Depth components into an international marketing plan for Antioch University’s low-residency online program for undergraduate students, defining and promoting new models of distance learning. I will also take the final course in the Foundation Research Sequence, Data Analysis in Educational Research (EDUC 8437) during this quarter.



I’ll begin this KAM in my eighth quarter (Winter 03): Case Study Method; Current Research and Analysis of Transcultural Education; Transcultural Distance Learning Program: Case Study Report & Evaluation. For Breadth, I will create a bibliography on case studies in educational research, and answer the four items posed under the Breadth of Knowledge component in the Curriculum Guide.  For Depth, I will address the Curriculum Guide items for Depth Knowledge, with a particular focus on methods and literature of case studies in transcultural education. For Application, I will conduct a case study related to an issue in transcultural distance learning, with a study group comprised of international students enrolled in traditional and online learning programs.  During this quarter I will also begin preparing Declaration of Intent to Graduate form, and my Request for Appointment of the Dissertation Supervisory Committee forms, all due within 13 months prior to the last day of my intended graduation quarter.





I am aiming for a graduation date at the end of my 12th quarter (Winter 04). My dissertation topic in general will address Finding Efficacy in Transcultural Distance Learning. I will begin preparing my dissertation proposal in the 8th quarter (Winter 03), and complete a third residency (four day) in December. In the 9th quarter (Spring 04), I will submit copies of my Committee-endorsed proposal, a recording of my proposal oral presentation, and Request for the Approval of the Dissertation Proposal forms (due 10 months prior to graduation). I will complete a final four-day residency in the 10th quarter (Summer 04). Also in the 10th quarter, I will submit two copies of my Committee-endorsed dissertation draft, and Request for Authorization to Conduct the Dissertation Oral Presentation forms (due five months prior to graduation).


Two months prior to my graduation date I will submit my revised dissertation manuscript for form and style review, and signed Approval Pages. Twenty days prior to my graduation, I will submit two copies of my final dissertation to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.



Program of Study (see attached)



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