In my family, pursuing higher education was an expectation. There was never a discussion of whether we would go to college, but rather where we would go to college. This was true for my generation, not so for that of my parents.
The son of a retail salesman and a homemaker, my father was one of eight siblings: four boys and four girls growing up with modest means. The girls became teachers right out of high school to help support the four boys’ college education. Once the boys graduated, the girls went on to college. On my mother’s side all attended college, some as adult students. My mom went to college at the same time as I did. I saw her work hard to achieve her professional goals later in life, and pull all-nighters working on her projects. She became my inspiration.
For the most part, I have spent my academic career working with adults and I have been an adult student as well.
The adult education field has taught me that those individuals who take the nontraditional road, those who go back to school to complete their degrees while juggling family, work, and other life events, work harder to reach their goals and their sense of accomplishment has deeper roots.
Representing Alpha Sigma Lambda at my school in a way helps me value the efforts our students make and celebrate those who accomplish academic excellence. Their life goals, their hurdles and how they overcome them encourage me to work harder, and remind me that I am a better person as a result of knowing them.
About the Author
Maria R. Altobello is the Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Franklin Pierce University. She joined the faculty in 2001 and served in the Dean’s office as Associate Dean (2012-2015) prior to becoming the Dean.
Dr. Altobello received an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Distance Education and an M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University, an A.L.M. in Information Technology from Harvard University, and a B.S. in Business from Universidad Metropolitana (Venezuela).
Dr. Altobello is committed to lifelong learning. Her research interests relate to issues surrounding adult learners, including prior level assessment, retention, and quality in distance education. She has been the recipient of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Center for Adult and Experiential Learning destined to study prior level assessment and retention in adult student populations. She has served as Chapter Councilor for Alpha Sigma Lambda since 2013 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2017 as the member at large.