GCU handles bulk for doctoral transfer

Yvonne Schneider found a rebirth at GCU's College of Doctoral Studies.

Yvonne Schneider was approaching a dead end in her quest to earn a doctoral degree. Her university was navigating a merger and trimming staff, and a change in her program curriculum threw off her academic balance.

“I just felt I was getting nowhere, and their dissertation courses, I feel, didn't prepared me,” Schneider said. “For me, it was a time to transfer to another university.”

After deep research and recommendations from friends, she chose Grand Canyon University – with one contingency.

Schneider applied as a bulk transfer student, who is permitted to transfer up to 27 credit hours toward their doctorate, though there was no guarantee all the credits she passed at her previous university would be accepted.

“Most of the (universities) I did find were willing to accept maybe 9-12 units, and some none,” she said. “That was not good enough for me.”

Doctoral enrollment counselor Nicholas Monte and student services counselor Ashley Bulka worked quickly to see how many credits would transfer.

Yvonne Schneider was elated to pursue a doctorate in Educational Organization Leadership K12 from GCU.

“I was extremely blessed to get the maximum number of credits to transfer over (27), which was more than any of the other universities,” said Schneider, who enrolled at GCU in May and could graduate as soon as December.

Schneider, who taught in a San Antonio-area suburb, started to pursue a doctorate online from GCU in K-12 educational organization leadership.

“So far I’ve taken a handful of classes and felt I’ve learned a lot more than at my previous university,” Schneider said. “At my previous university, it was just a one-on-one with me and my professor, and it was just like reading the textbook they provided, answer some questions and type a paper. There wasn’t a lot of communication going back and forth, like there is at GCU.

“I like the way things are set up where we have to answer certain discussion posts, and then we have to talk and respond to our peers online because they found different sources out there, what’s current and so forth. It wasn’t just straight out of a textbook – a lot of engagement. Even though it’s online, it’s set up as a positive atmosphere for the students.”

Dr. Michael Berger, dean of the College of Doctoral Studies, said bulk transfer applicants are not uncommon, nor is it axiomatic that every application will be accepted.

But Berger and Assistant Dean Dr. Nicholas Markette said that Schneider’s intentions and instant connection to an accommodating staff paved the way for a seamless transition.

“The three things we’ve been saying for a while now is that what distinguishes our college from other doctoral programs is that we’re focused on community, support and innovation,” Berger said. “And all three of those things are playing up here.

“She met people who really cared about her and wanted to make her part of the community. She felt very important without having to deal with a whole lot of shenanigans around transcripts, evaluations and things along those lines.”

Yvonne Schneider looks forward to resuming her teaching duties as soon as she earns her doctorate from GCU.

Schneider became quickly immersed in the doctoral program, thanks to the support of professors Dr. Chuck Banszewski, Dr. Amy Benton, Dr. Greta Freeman and Dr. Laurel Stanley. She appreciated learning the research database online and continued to receive calls and messages to ensure that her acclimation to the program was smooth.

Doctoral student services advisor Ashley Armstrong assisted Schneider in financial matters.

“The fact is, she always was a good student and has continued that and blossomed while having the support of the counselors and other staffers,” Berger said.

Schneider also was appreciative of the support provided by the professors – particularly Dr. Wayne Schmidt and Dr. Kenneth Sherman – when she had to juggle her studies while attending to the poor health of three family members. That experience helped her maximize her time and arrange her priorities properly.

Because Schneider was a transfer student, she was not required to attend the first residency but played catch-up with several peers before completing Residency Two.

Schneider wanted to bring her topic from her previous school but was advised to change her theme.

“She wanted more learning and more of a connection, and we tend to have all that stuff she was looking for,” Markette said.

GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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