Spotlight on Part-time SNL Faculty member, Pamela Meyer!

You are inAgility Shift Book Talkvited to join SNL’s Director of the Center to Advance Education for Adults and Part-Time faculty member, Pamela Meyer, for her talk about her latest book THE AGILITY SHIFT at DePaul’s Center for Creativity and Innovation on Oct 22nd at the DePaul Club.

Meyer’s book has already been written up in Investor’s Business Daily and HR Professional and tops the list of Business Traveler’s recommended reading list!

* Free to DePaul students, faculty and staff *

Details and registration:


Meet Dr. Gretchen Wilbur…

Gretchen Wilbur is the School for New Learning’s Director of Assessment, an Associate Professor, and an upcoming Faculty Mentor for the MA in Educating Adults (MAEA) program. We asked her if she would share her background and experiences with current and future SNL students.

wordpressWhere are you from and what is your educational background?

I grew up in North Carolina and have lived and worked in England, Tennessee, Michigan, Missouri, and Kansas. I attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh for my B.A. in Psychology and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN for my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Currently my home is in Chicago, where I have worked for DePaul for 6 years.           

What is your Area of Expertise/Scope of Work?

My areas of expertise are in Multicultural Education, Reflective Practice, and Assessment. I am especially curious about building cultures of learning in classrooms and organizations. My roles include facilitating the learning of undergraduate and graduate students through teaching, mentoring, and assessment. I also direct the assessment activities at SNL. This includes a variety of things, such as leading the college assessment system, facilitating ongoing improvement, and advocating alternative ways to assess competences and outcomes. I have previously held positions as Professor and Chair of Education Departments, Executive Director of Curriculum for Kansas City, MO School District, and Director of a Regional Equity Center.

Are there any current consulting projects you are working on?

I am a part of several projects that connect my areas of expertise and practice. I work with the Center for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) in prior learning assessment and competence-based education. I also work with universities in Jamaica, Kenya, Italy, and Ireland to implement instructional approaches that promote equity outcomes, integrate technology, and promote intercultural competence-based learning. I have the opportunity to use these experiences to facilitate systems approaches for higher education change and improvement.

Have you received any Distinctions/Awards while at DePaul?

While at DePaul I have received the following:

Spirit of Assessment Award Nominee, DePaul University, 2015

Women of Spirit and Action Honoree, DePaul University, 2013

University Research Council Grant Award, 2011

What do you like about teaching at DePaul?

I really like the diversity at DePaul as well as the opportunities to work internationally. There are people from all over the world with many different life experiences and I find this very enriching. I especially enjoy the diversity of my students—age, ethnicity, work settings, and life experiences. Students bring varied and rich perspectives to the topics and issues about which we inquire. This deepens everyone’s learning and expands all of our perspectives—I learn as much from my students as they learn from me; we all learn from each other.

What do you like about the MAEA program?

Several things! I like the way that it brings together my passions, scholarly interests, and my experience facilitating learning. I am stimulated by working with adults who can immediately apply their new learning in their practice settings. I also find the reflective component of the program powerful because we get to examine ourselves as learners in relation to facilitating the learning of others. As part of the program we can integrate experiences across life, work, and school and this makes the formal curriculum relevant and meaningful.

Who would you say is the most influential person in your life?

Oh my goodness, this is a difficult question that I try to avoid. The most? There are many people that have had a significant impact on my worldview, scholarly interests and life passions and there will be many more, I know. I am drawn to authentic people who practice what they preach and these include scholars, colleagues, and soul mates. But since you make me pick ‘the most’ then I will say Rodney. Rodney was a 10 year old in my class of students labeled “emotionally disturbed” and he lived in the projects where I also started a summer art camp. Rodney was reflective, insightful, and contemplative. Rodney didn’t do his schoolwork and hardly talked at all. He stayed on the sidelines, watching me set up classroom learning and art camp activities, and he eventually came to participate. Rodney taught me that students have many gifts and incredible intelligences, which are rarely recognized or valued in formal education. Unknowingly or maybe knowingly, he taught me that trust, respect, and listening with your heart are the qualities that are most important for learning and teaching. And he taught me that education must change!

Meet Dr. Arieahn Matamonasa…

We asked Arieahn Matamonasa, Assistant Professor in SNL, if she would share her background and experiences with current and future SNL students.


Where is your Residence/Hometown? 

I’ve lived and worked in Chicago for the last 20 years. Right now I live in the southwest suburbs where there is room for my horses and dogs. 

What is your Area of Expertise?

 My Ph.D. is in Clinical Psychology and I am a Licensed Psychologist in addition to my Assistant Professor role here at DePaul. My expertise is in multicultural psychology and Native American studies- and also more recently in Animal Assisted Therapies and Animal Human Interaction. I have published work and speak all over the world on these topics as well as incorporate this into my elective course offerings.

How long have you worked for DePaul?

I have worked here for 16 years, although it seems like yesterday that I started. What many students are most interested to know is that I am a graduate of DePaul!

Where were you educated?

I completed my undergraduate degree at DePaul with a focus in psychology and adult education. My Masters is in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University and my Ph.D. is in Philosophy with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology also from Fielding.  

Are there any current consulting projects you are working on?

As part of my role here as an Assistant Professor I am always writing and publishing. What I am most excited about now is a book I am working on. It is a 10 Chapter book called “All My Relations: Indigenous perspectives on Human-Animal Relationships”  This is a HUGE task and harder than most people think- but I am so passionate about the subject matter that I have found I really love writing and researching for this type of project.

Have you received any Distinctions/Awards while at DePaul?

I received a Student Diversity Award from the American Psychological Association Div. 29 in 2001, the Fielding Ethnic Minority Dissertation Award in 2005, The DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011, and the Wicklander Fellowship for Applied Professional Ethics in 2012.

What do you like about teaching at DePaul?

 What I most appreciate at DePaul -especially at SNL is the opportunity for both collaborative and experiential learning.

What do you like about the MAAPS program?

I love the idea that students can chart their own “course” and design a customized program that targets their learning needs and professional goals. I think the strength of the MAAPS program is on the emphasis it places on the student’s professional area and the application of knowledge to the practice site.

Who would you say is the most influential person in your life?

This is a challenging question as I have had many wonderful mentors in my life- including some of my current colleagues. I would not be where I am without them and I try to “give back” for all the mentoring I’ve received by being in this role for others. As far as the MOST influential person in my life- I would have to say it was my father who passed away in 2009. He was a great healer and teacher and his influence has shaped every aspect of my life.

Meet Dr. Ruth Gannon Cook…

Meet Dr. Ruth Gannon Cook – our upcoming Faculty Mentor for the Master of Arts in Educating Adults Cluster 10, starting this Fall!

Dr. Ruth Gannon Cook

Ruth is a tenured Associate Professor who has been teaching in  DePaul’s, School for New Learning  for the past eight years.  She has taught courses on the  application of technology as well as training, and organizational change courses and core courses in the undergraduate and graduate SNL programs.  She also recently authored the book “What Motivates Faculty to Teach in Distance Education?: A Case Study and Meta-Literature Review,” and has written ten book chapters on e-learning. Prior teaching experience has included eight years at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and the University of Houston system where she also served as Director of Distance Education, and four years at Colorado Mountain College where she also served as a Program Director. Her earlier career included hosting a radio show and cable TV show for six years, and serving as a Vice President for a manufacturing company.

We asked Ruth a few questions: 

What sorts of topics will you be covering this Fall in Developing Professional Identity, the first course of the MAEA program?

In the Developing Professional Identify Course we will cover the contents of the two textbooks, Elias, J., & Merriam, S. (2005). “Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education, 3rd ed.,” and Pratt, D. & Associates. (2005), “Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher Education.” I’ll cover how students can begin translating what they’re learning in the program right now into their practice settings.  We will discuss issues related to prospective career opportunities available upon completing your MAEA.  I also will begin coaching students as they lay the foundation to establish a professional reputation in the field of educating adults.

What advice do you have for graduate students or prospective graduate students?

“We live in a very stressful world, so when I talk with prospective graduate students I ask them how they currently use their time, I ask them how they will handle juggling work and their studies, and I ask them if they have the support of their employer and, more important, their spouses and families. A graduate degree can be very helpful for one’s career in many career fields, but a prospective student also needs to understand that she/he needs to continue to have a vision of how they will forge their career path with the intention to use that graduate degree. There are so many possibilities, even in an economy like the one we are in, sometimes we need to expand our view of how we can attain our goals—perhaps those goals can be achieved, just a different way. If graduate students are open and willing to explore all avenues with that shiny new graduate degree, there is no limit to the success they can achieve—the world truly is their career-place.”

What inspired you to write your book?  What motivates you personally to teach online?

I wrote the book “What Motivates Faculty to Teach in Distance Education?” because I had conducted my dissertation on this topic, and I thought that the data I had uncovered in my dissertation research could be informative to many universities, administrators, and faculty who are considering or currently teaching online and distance education courses. So I went back and conducted further extensive research and collected it into what is now my book. It is very heartening that a number of administrators at other universities have emailed and called me to tell me they have bought the book, used the data and recommendations, and that it was very helpful.

What motivates me personally to teach online is what motivated me 15 years ago when I first decided to do my doctorate with an emphasis in instructional design and distance education, and that is to offer opportunities for students who could not, otherwise, attend college except via distance learning, or what we today call e-learning. It wonderful to get the feedback from students who are graduating that share they could not have done it unless they could undertake doing their studies online. It is very heartening and it reminds me every day why I love what I do so much. I currently conduct extensive research in semiotics—and cyber-semiotics in relation to designing e-learning; and I am working on two books on semiotics, one is interdisciplinary, and one is an edited book with my research partner, Dr. Caroline Crawford.

Hometown:  New Orleans (Now resides in Chicago)


  • B.A.:  Business, Loyola University (New Orleans)
  • M.S. Ed.:  Educational Administration, Loyola University (New Orleans)
  • Certificate for Advanced Studies: Emphasis in Change Diffusion and Technology Integration Queens College (Cambridge, UK)
  • Ed.D.:  Instructional Technology, University of Houston, College of Education (Texas)

Recent Awards:

  • “Women of Spirit” Award, 2009 DePaul University
  • “Best Paper” (multiple awards), 2007 E-Learn International Conference, American Association for Computer Education, Quebec, Canada.

For more information about the Master of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) program  please contact or visit our website.

Spotlight on Faculty: Dr. Russ Rogers

Q: How long have you been on the faculty at SNL?         

I joined the SNL faculty in 1993. So it’s been 18 years.

Q: What’s your academic area? 

If you’re asking about my degrees, my doctoral and post-doctoral study was in Organizational Behavior/Psychology—which I came to through prior graduate study in Applied Behavioral Science/Human Resource Development after even earlier degrees (undergraduate and graduate) in English Literature and Philosophy.

Q: How did you get from English Literature to Organizational Behavior?

The bridge for me was (and still is) in the nature of “story.” Through literature and poetry, I found a world of language that both helped me make sense of my world and helped me give expression to feelings and awarenesses heretofore trapped in silence. My dream—back then—was to be the next Great American Poet!! Meanwhile, my adulthood started to emerge and my experience of working. Here, I noted a troubling phenomenon in myself and so many of my friends: our energy and excitement was being dampened down and the culprit seemed to be “work.” I recall H.L. Lindsay’s line, “It’s the world’s great crime. Its babes grow dull.” Indeed, we were. We were becoming dull—dulled by work.

Then, one day, sitting outside the building where I worked, I saw the building/organization as itself a “story.” All of my training in literary criticism now began to morph from application to written stories (e.g., King Lear, Ulysses, The Brothers Karamazov, etc.)—to the “story” in that building/organization. Soon I was hooked by the idea of organizations-as-stories and started exploring the notions of worker as character-in-story versus worker as author-of-story (or, at least, partial author!).

Q: How did you come to join the faculty at SNL?

By the twists and turns of chance and choice, I discovered SNL soon after moving to Chicago from Los Angeles. Worn out by too-much-travel/too-many-hotels, I had just sold my consulting firm to what was then Arthur Anderson and was in a “non-compete” phase for a few years. While finishing up some remaining corporate projects, I started to re-dabble in the world of higher education—teaching a few grad courses within intensive executive graduate programs here in the Midwest and back in southern California. . .and I liked it!

Through a fluke of networking, the then-director of SNL’s Graduate Programs asked me to teach the Change seminar and, later, the Leadership seminar. I did—and became intrigued by SNL’s philosophy, its willingness to experiment and its mix of entrepreneurial graduate students—not to mention the good hearts and minds of its faculty. The energy was compelling. Consequently, as an opportunity became available to join SNL’s resident faculty, I applied, ran the gauntlet of some tough-yet-fascinating interviews and, as they say, the rest is history.

Q: But why teach?

I understand your question but let me start with—why learn? For me, the growth of capacity has always been high adventure—the capacity to think, to do, to feel, to wonder, to play, to change, to engage, to reengage, to stretch, on and on. Indeed, I simply refuse to believe that we, as adults, are done—that this is a good as it gets. Indeed, I believe adults (and their organizations) deserve to be different than their past patterns and I believe that learning (real learning; not jargon) is the means to get us there—to get us to betterbetter personal lives, better relationships, better professional contributions, better organizations, etc. Such learning, I contend, supports the requisite shifts in imagination (and skill-building) that enable us—eventually—to participate and contribute with greater capacity.

That’s what compels me in teaching—the chance to engage in the dynamics of learning. The quasi-critical taunt is, “Those who can’t do, teach.” I understand the point of this taunt; however, for me, I align more with J. E. King’s statement: “Those who can, do. Those who believe others can too, also teach.”

Q: You make a distinction between “real learning” and “jargon.” What do you mean?

I believe there is a difference between “learning” and merely “ratifying what one already thinks.” Here, I have a profound respect for the authority of systemic observation, suspended judgment, questioned assumptions and evaluated experience. “Real learning” in this sense (i.e., applying such actions/values) involves some deliberate willingness to explore complexity without paralysis of thought and action, to make room in one’s mind for possibility and (dare I say it?) to be willing to unlearn prior follies!

Q: You hang ideas on the walls of your classroom when you teach. Why?  

I think of a classroom as an arena for coming to grips with problems in the presence of ideas. The ideas I hang around the room (aligned to the focus of each session) offer some context for our “thinking together.” They also offer additional data-points (and voices) beyond those in the room and, like the mark of a good research document, they offer “footnotes” (or wallnotes!) from which to deepen analysis. They also offer a vehicle through which to put some color into an otherwise typically drab classroom.

Q: In addition to your work at DePaul, do you still work with corporate organizations?

Every faculty member works to keep his/her knowledge-base current and relevant—both to help the University contribute to the greater society and to better bridge the artificial gulf between ideas and practice in order to help students better learn ideas for practice. I do this by participating in national organizations devoted to organizational effectiveness and performance improvement and by maintaining a few “real-world” consulting engagements each year. Currently, I have some organizational projects cooking (in areas of leadership development, system restructuring, change management, merger/acquisition, performance management, etc.) with CNA, PepsiCo, Chicago Board of Trade, Mechanical Contractors Association, California State Compensation Insurance Fund and Dynamic Aviation/VA.

%d bloggers like this: