Are you considering a career change into college teaching? Are you looking for ways to make an impact in the lives of college students? Look no further than this episode of the UMBC Mic'd Up Podcast, where we explore the world of embracing an encore career in teaching.
Marcia Dickerson, P.M.C. '22, College Teaching & Learning Science has always wanted to teach. After retiring from her job in the human services and social services field, Marcia began her teaching journey by enrolling in UMBC's College Teaching and Learning Science Graduate Certificate program. After she competed the program this past year, she's beginning the next leg of her journey in a doctoral program!
Join us as we delve into the world of an encore career in teaching and discover how you can make a positive impact on the next generation of students. Tune in to the UMBC Mic'd Up Podcast now to listen to our enlightening conversation with an inspiring UMBC graduate!
Learn more about UMBC's Graduate Certificate program in College Teaching & Learning Science! https://professionalprograms.umbc.edu/college-teaching-and-learning-science/
Dennise Cardona 0:00
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of UMBC Mic'd Up podcast. My name is Dennise Cardona from the Office of Professional Programs here at UMBC. Today we are joined by Marcia Dickerson. She is a recent graduate of our College Teaching and Learning Science graduate certificate program. I hope that you enjoy this episode. Welcome to the podcast. Marcia, it's wonderful to have you here with us on the UMBC Mic'd Up podcast.
Oh, well, thank you for having me.
Dennise Cardona 0:29
So you just graduated in December from the College Teaching and Learning Science certificate program? Is that correct?
That is correct. Yeah.
Dennise Cardona 0:39
How was that experience? Did you enjoy it?
It was an absolutely fabulous experience, Dennise, you know, I did a lot of work in terms of research to, to finally settle upon UMBC. And, you know, behind that work, meant [inaudible]. Well, first, let me just sort of back up just a little bit. This is my encore career, I've had a wonderful 30 plus year career in the human service, social services field. And I retired a couple of years ago as a director of quality assurance programs with the state government. And so, you know, it's like, okay, I enjoyed, you know, that little time in between, you might say, when you retired, but I'm not the retired type. Okay. The one thing that kind of stood with me during that period, was that I said, you know, you always wanted to teach, okay. And so it brought me back to, you might say, you know, my initial feelings as I was coming through that I really wanted to teach, but, you know, yeah, I was my focus, when I got my degree was in vocational rehabilitation counseling. And, you know, I just emerged, you know, in that field and, and did my thing for, like I said, 30 years? And then it was like, Wow, I can't believe it, the time has come to an end. Now, what do you do? And so during that space, and time I, you know, evaluated, what is it that you're going to do, and it came back, you always wanted to teach. So that's where we are. And so in doing so I say, Okay, this is your encore career, you know, we want to make sure that everything you've learned a lot through the years, so we want to make sure that in doing so that this is going to meet your needs. So that's why I came back. I did a high level search for a high level research on various institutions and their programs. But when it came down to, Dennise, was an institution where first and foremost that I was going to feel comfortable, so what am I talking about diversity and inclusion, that it met my goals, that it would meet my goals, and that my values, my values, and the institution values were in alignment. And so that landed me right here at UNM at UMBC. And I'm gonna tell you that I've had, you know, some, there was a, there was a lot of competition. But UMBC came to the top and I'm so glad that I did. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. So
Dennise Cardona 3:59
That's fantastic. I love hearing that I got chills when you were saying that about UMBC. Because, you know, we pride ourselves, we all work so hard in our community to make it an inclusive and diverse environment. And to hear that, you know, that that resonated with you, that you saw that. And that's just really just so wonderful. I love being a part of this community. I'm very proud to be a UMBC retriever. And I've worked at UMBC for almost 16 years now. And I'm almost, I'm halfway to that point that you are 30 years, but 16 years, and it's been it's ever since I joined the community, that's how I felt I felt the same thing. It's just a welcoming place where you feel comfortable, everybody feels comfortable. We all have our place. And so I think that's fantastic. And, you know, I'll say this because you mentioned you were in your field for 30 years. So, like myself, I'm an older student. I am a more seasoned student. We should say that as a more seasoned student, I'm in a graduate program as well. And I, at first, hesitated. I thought, am I too old to do this? I'm in my 50s. And I thought, am I too old to do this? Is everybody going to be younger and wiser and just more with it and know what they're doing? And that is not at all the case, everybody. We have a range, there's a range, there's a wide range. So you have 20-somethings to say in 60s 70s, even I mean, I've interviewed people who are in their 70s. So there's a place for everybody. And we all come with different levels of experience. And that right there, I think, is what makes you MVC, a rich environment for learning. Because we have our different lenses that we come with, right and our different experiences. So 30 years of you working in that environment, the social work environment, being able to bring that level of experience with you to the college teaching and learning science program is really valuable. I would imagine for all your, for the peers that you have, that you've worked alongside.
Yes, yes, it was. To just elaborate a little bit more with that, you know, in the classroom, you're absolutely right to be able to bring a lot of my experience into that classroom was so well received. You know, my, my, my colleagues at that time, they were from a broad spectrum, as well. There were other teachers, as a matter of fact, there were two who were teaching on the community college level. And a computer scientist and attorney and a gentleman who we connected with, was a captain in the Navy. And our connection was such that when you know, he had shared, you know, that he's, he's engineered to be the captain, but this is MOS, which is Military Occupational spectrum. He was an engineer. And when he had shared that, I said, Oh, my God, we're gonna have something in common because my father was in the Navy mine too. And I was in the army. And I told him, I said, Well, you know, what, my friend? I'm a former military drill officer.
Dennise Cardona 7:34
Yes, yes, I drilled the troops, I drilled a fresh new trip so actually, as you can see, all of this comes together. And in terms of my life's work, you know, being in Human Services, working with people helping them to solve issues and problems they had. And then now to a being in the military drilling, those new troops that are coming in, you know, you might say, helping to discipline them, if you will, sure. I love it, who now I'm going to, I'm on track to being that teacher, myself. So it all comes together and everything is just like it's in alignment. So I'm not you might say not that far out there, if you will, it all comes together. And it really speaks to who I am as a person, because I am that kind of person. I just love it, you know, when I was a younger person coming through, I had always thought that I wanted to be a counselor. So, I have been able to live all of these things out. And now here I am, you know, because the launching point, if you will, is the strength of the college teaching and learning science program, which is probably one of the questions you may want to ask if you know, what is it that you do full time now? Full time I was so inspired and felt that this is it while at UMBC and the CTLS program that I had applied to be a doctoral program and was accepted. So that is what I do now full time. I started soon after I completed in December. I started in January at ISTL University. The program is completely online. It's a doctorate in education in the health sciences profession. So here we come back again and I'm making certain that a program aligns with my values. And it does, because the mission and the vision of ISTL University, their mission is to treat the whole person. So they're found that the institution is found in osteopathic medicine, okay. And when I say their mission was to treat the whole person, so it's from a holistic perspective, spirit, mind and body. And that is also the same mission of where I went to undergraduate school, Springfield College and Massachusetts, spirit, mind and body. So once again, everything is in alignment. So that's what makes this so powerful and positive for me, you know, to be able to have made certain that I did my homework, my due diligence to find an institution that was going to mesh up again, with my values. And my principles. Yeah, the strength of the college teaching and learning science program, especially as I was accepted into ISTL University was that they had accepted two of my classes, from UMBC, from the college teaching and learning science program. And why is because they operate under what is called the Quality Matters certification, which is probably one of the biggest takeaways that I received from this program. I never knew about a Quality Matters certification, but it's like, it's a powerful credential, I can tell you that. Especially if you're going to be in higher education, because what it says is that I have now certified to be able to design and develop course curriculum, and apply in applying what they call the Eight General Standards. So I'm pretty proud about that, as well. So yeah, so you know, every everything is just the stars, if you will just have lined up for me,
Dennise Cardona 12:21
I'm so happy to hear that. It's Wow, there's so much there's so many benefits that came out of you that haven't been in this program, that it just sounds like it's such a great fit. And isn't that the best thing when you find that alignment in life? It's almost like the bells are like, oh, you know, you found your way. And it's, I think that a lot of people struggle to find that pathway. And we struggle to find that clarity, to be able to know is this the right path for me. And to have that happen. And for it to be so clear for you. That is a really powerful gift that I think that just really can shape the next part of your life in the next part of your journey, you'll be able to bring that to this new doctoral program that you're in. And there's just so much you sound so passionate about the field of teaching. And I love how you call it your encore career. That's such a catchy phrase. And it's such a really great way to put it. It really is. I love that you also say, you know, I tried to retire, but it's just not for me, I can totally relate to that. I don't think I'm ever going to actually retire and do nothing with my life. I can't imagine that either. Especially being able to be in that kind of role where you're facilitating somebody's learning of somebody's growth and development, such a powerful, powerful role to play in somebody's life and how purposeful, and what a great way to take your next journey in life. I just think that's fantastic. And you're going to provide so much value to people out there. And I can tell just from your spirit, the way you're talking about it, that you truly already are doing that, and that it's just going to become so much brighter as you move forward with this pathway.
Dennise Cardona 14:12
Now how when you were when you applied to the program, and you were thinking about this program, what were your expectations out of the program? What did you want and desire to happen as a result of taking this certificate program?
The college teaching and learning science program my expectations straightforward, Denise was that I wanted to make certain that I was going to be heard and that I would be acknowledged that my presence mattered. And I'm very, as you can see, I get a little serious about that. Because I know what it feels like not to be seen it Not to be heard or respected for what it is that you do bring. I had that expectation, and it was more than met. And that was so important to me. You know, so often there's, we're not heard, we're not seen, you know that. Others believe that they matter more, that their opinion counts more, because of who they may be. But everybody matters all because we're all individuals first and foremost worthy of respect, and dignity. And that was a very big expectation that I had, I have been in environments where I have not been acknowledged, where I've not been seen, or if I share a viewpoint, it was minimized, or the most devastating thing is then for somebody to come along, and to say what you just said. And then they're heard. And you're sitting there like, Wait a minute.
Dennise Cardona 16:22
Yeah, you bring up such an important and valid point, Marcia. And that's what education is supposed to be. It's supposed to be open and welcoming. And equal across the board for everybody to have that safe environment, that Dojo to practice to practice what you're learning, right, and to be able to do that in a safe way that makes everybody feel validated and heard. And I'm so happy that you had that experience with your UMBC. Program. Yeah, it's so important. I mean, how can you be in an environment of learning and, and learn something, be able to apply that in life, if you don't have that safety, if you don't have that welcoming feeling? If you don't have that feeling of validation, I don't think that's possible.
It will, I would see it as quite a challenge. Which means you never get to really live out your authentic self.
Dennise Cardona 17:20
That's powerful. Wow. So you are able to live out your authentic self right now. It's amazing. Your progression is going to be I can just it's your progression is right on point you have a plan a solid plan? How long is this doctoral program going to take you? Maybe you think
I, you know, going to share with you, you had talked earlier about the I've shared with you a 30 plus year career. This program is for three years. I will just be turning 70 When I finish, but I'm not sure. So the average seven will be 70. I guess you could say I am 67. I'm very proud of that. Because I have a lot of life experiences behind me. And those experiences, I want to be able to share or pay forward? Because I do know a little something after all of these years, but yes, and I indicated it is my encore career. And I can tell you, if people try to put you in a box in terms of your age and so forth, that is on them, because I'm in no box, okay? I'm living out my life. I enjoy it. And I can tell you that the individuals or the young people, if you will, that I've come into contact with, they would say I'm the coolest. Because they have no idea. Now, there'll be some that will. But I have no idea of my age. And I Oh, I'm gonna take it back to this is just a number. Age is just a number. That's all it is. For me, age is a number. You know, when I'm done, I'm done. That's how I feel about it until that time, I'm going to keep it moving forward. And I'm enjoying life. And I'm really enjoying life now because I'm able to have so much more control over it, especially from a career perspective. It's as if I've done my work. And now I'm in the PAs place in a position where I get to really call where I want to go. What do I want to be with? What institution I want to study at because I No, it's going to be a go. Because I've done my work. And I, I've got the receipts, okay, so I can bring it to you and say, Yeah, we want her apart, we want her to be a part of our program. And here are the reasons why. So it's all good. But yes, coming back to your initial question, my program of study is three years, and I'll be I'll be just shy of turning 70 At that time, but you know, I'm looking forward to, I already have the vision, you know, of, of completion and, and getting that big floppy hat. And crossing that stage and just saying, Thank you, I have really lived out my dream. And so I get goosebumps.
Dennise Cardona 20:52
I have goosebumps right now, I feel like this is like the best motivational dialogue, I've heard him so long, I just think it's so cool. And I'm so excited for you. And you've, you're really inspiring. And I think that anybody listening to this on a podcast channel or in a video is going to be so inspired by what you're saying, you just make me want to get off here now and like, go and run and do something really great with my life. That's how I feel after listening to what you're talking about. It's a really great motivator. And I feel like we all have that in us if we just tune in. And I think, you know, it all comes down to being around the people that you're around the most and what they're saying and what they're, how they're acting and the words they use is really important to surround yourself with that positivity and those people who can make a difference in your life. And so, you know, anybody who is in your life right now is probably right there with you on that great journey. So I just think that's super important, really is. This kind of leads me to my I love to have, like a professional development type question in the in these podcasts, because we really do speak to that kind of an audience of people who are working professionals who want to develop themselves, what would you say was the greatest piece of advice that you've ever received?
The greatest piece of advice I ever received, Ah, wow. suffer with theirs to suffer, and joy with theirs to enjoy, and continue to live out your life to the best that you possibly can. And I do that. Because along the way, there's been a lot of suffering, and a lot of obstacles. And I've learned that you don't run away from them, that you run right through them, you have to continue to push forward. And a prime example of that is I lost my father last year in October, so sorry. But I was in the college teaching and learning science program at that time. And I literally did all that I could for my father. So what I say I emphasize that because there was no anger or animosity about anything when he transitioned. So I was able to feel good that I knew that I did. What I could do. It was a challenge. Because as I would watch him each day decline, and then finally into just totally out of it. But at the same time, I had to still be focused on my program. So I work through that challenge of watching my father through his illness, and at the same time be able to come back in alignment and say, You still have a job to do. So enjoy what there is to enjoy, suffer what there is to suffer and continue to fight on to strive on. Because you have a life. My father is only proud of me, even proud of me. More so proud of me down and I know that because he was very instrumental in my life. He taught me how to play tennis as a young person And that tennis that he taught me, I became very, very good at and ultimately had earned an athletic scholarship, playing tennis at Springfield College up in Massachusetts. So he was a model for me. And I know that I serve as a model, not just to a lot of my nieces and nephews, but to others. You know, former clients that I've worked with other young people that I've worked with in terms of doing projects, because I've done a lot of volunteer work and in working with individuals in that kind of capacity. So yes, that is the advice, still to remain focused, and achieve your goals, there's going to be a lot of stuff that's going to come along the way that will try to distract you and get you off your game client. But you have to come back. And make sure you remind yourself of your purpose, and continue to move forward to fulfill it.
Dennise Cardona 26:22
Oh, my God, this, it's just amazing what you just said, I am. I'm floored. I'm just words escaping me right now. They're just that really touched me. And it's very profound, incredibly profound. I can't even think of a better way to end this podcast. And on that note, because it's just I feel like that it's going to resonate with so many people what you just said, so many people need to hear that message because you're right. It's so easy to get distracted with life, because life is full of so many different things. We never know what's going to come at us. But the important thing is to stay focused on what's important to us, and what's important to our loved ones. And if we can keep our head above the water during those really tough times. There's nothing that we can't do. So,
absolutely. And I've experienced it not once or twice, but in a lot of different ways. And always had to come back to the prime point. You know, Marcia, why are you even here, you know, and when I make certain I remind myself of that, I get back in gear, and shovel on me. I love it.
Dennise Cardona 27:43
Marcia, this has been such an incredible conversation, I really have so many takeaways. And I just feel so humbled to be here in your space with you sharing this space, because I just feel like everything you said was so profound and really impactful. So thank you so much for that.
Thank you, thank you for having me. Once again, and I'm glad that we had this opportunity to have this kind of exchange. I don't know what the future holds. But I know Who holds the future. And it's me, you know, if I'm, if I'm, you know, have still some space and time on this planet, I hold that key to what my future is going to look like. So what I do right now is as I'm preparing for tomorrow, when I get that big floppy hat on my head that's so awesome.
Dennise Cardona 28:52
I can't wait. I can't wait for you to have that big floppy hat.
Unknown Speaker 28:57
Yes, I can't wait.
Dennise Cardona 28:58
I say I can't wait. But I want this journey to be fruitful for you and enjoyable and actually to you know, for you to be able to really take it all in and not rush through it because what's the point of rushing through it? Right.
You know? Absolutely. If you live each day to the fullest that you can. It does, it doesn't end.
Dennise Cardona 29:21
Absolutely. Thanks for listening to this episode of the UMBC Mic'd Up podcast. I hope you enjoyed it. If you'd like to learn more about our offerings, do a search for College Teaching and Learning Science at UMBC or click the link in the show notes.