Program helps adult students complete degrees

Thu, 2010-04-08 14:35 -- univcomm
April 8, 2010

Adults going back to school these days have many reasons for attending. Some because of job loss or career change; some because they just weren’t ready for college in their younger years. For Derek Madinger, 41, it was the latter.

advance-students“I just regretted not getting my degree,” said Madinger.

He tried going to college out of high school, taking English and literature courses with the idea to be a writer. He dropped out at age 21. Then, he tried going back at age 26, but had a child and full-time job that kept him from staying with the program.

Madinger himself admits to some poor choices and decisions that kept him from finishing his degree, but has put all his energy into moving forward and making positive changes toward a better future for both himself and those who love him the most.

[PHOTO: Derek Madinger talks with classmates Pat Storm, middle, and Lynn Wright before the start of their Social Problems in the Workforce class at the Anderson University Flagship Center. Credit: Don Knight/The Herald Bulletin]

Now, Madinger is ready. He will be walking down the aisle at graduation in May at Anderson University, accepting a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership.

“I plan to use what I have learned in management in the restaurant business.” He has helped manage the Texas Roadhouse chain of restaurants, along with his father, Steve Madinger.

He decided to enroll in the Organizational Leadership cohort at the urging of a friend, Natalie Edwards, assessment counselor at Anderson University.

“She kept telling me I’d be perfect for this program and how it would fit into my busy schedule.”

This program is tailored to the needs of busy working adults and offers a blend of both online and in-class involvement.

Meeting one night a week for four hours, each class runs between five to seven weeks at a time.

This allows adults trying to balance family and work to have the flexibility they need along with the convenience and choice in order to reach their educational goals.

Jeff Hency, director of the ADVANCE program in the School of Adult Learning, says the program attempts to serve adult students, like Madinger, who desire to complete their college degree but are unable to do so because of scheduling conflicts.

“They can select a traditional major and attend classes during the day or they can complete a degree through our accelerated programs that meet one night a week and/or online,” said Hency. “We attempt to meet the academic needs of working adults.”

“I like the teachers in the program,” said Madinger. “There are people in the real world from very diverse backgrounds coming together to work on group projects and solve problems. What you see is different experiences coming together.”

“Derek is a fine example of our adult students who are committed to fitting school into their lives,” said Aleza Beverly, dean of the School of Adult Learning at Anderson University.

“We offer classes face-to-face in the daytime and evening, online and in blended formats to help students manage going back to school in ways that work for them. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. Our graduates prove it.”

She said, “Many of our organizational leadership and management foundations grads are working right here in our community — helping to make Anderson a better place to work and to live. We’re proud of Derek and his accomplishments and look forward to seeing great things from him and his classmates.”

Madinger points out that it is a very writing intensive program geared toward business, economics, finance and management skills needed to succeed. “I have found it has helped me to develop better leadership and communication skills. I’m able to look at problems at different angles and see other viewpoints.”

"I have had the privilege of teaching him (Madinger) in our accelerated degree program for adult students,” said Hency.

“I have watched him grow not only academically but spiritually as well. The unique aspect or our degree programs is the intertwining faith and intellect. Derek is one who has truly grasped how these works together to make a difference in this world. I have confidence that Derek will be an exceptional leader no matter where he chooses to be employed. He has a servant’s heart.”

Madinger also has a daughter in college, Taylor, who is a freshman at Purdue University. He hopes to set a good example of hard work and finishing what you start.

Anyone interested in learning more about the programs offered through the School of Adult Learning at Anderson University can call (765) 641-4250.

— Kim Ousely, for The Herald Bulletin; reposted with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.