For many of us, Sunday mornings are a time for a relaxing, second cup of coffee and maybe a stolen hour with a newspaper, morning TV, or time spent with a favorite app on our mobile device. If you are a program coordinator for the Online Campus at PCI, you’re likely to spend a couple hours of work time before getting to those leisures.
According to Wind Turbine Technology PC, Sam Schonhoff, Sunday mornings are a critical time to troubleshoot issues for students and check in with instructors. “I check in on students on Sunday mornings and respond to any emails and emergencies,” he explained. Most assignment deadlines occur on weekends in online courses, so that is when the most questions arise. Instructors and program coordinators know that students’ success often hinges on their availability on weekends.
Being a successful program coordinator takes an unusual commitment and passion. “The thing I enjoy most about my job is the fact that we are truly changing people’s lives for the better,” stated Schonhoff. “I do this because it is an opportunity to showcase and share some of the skills that I haven’t been able to use in past careers. That fact that I can, in some way, help better people’s lives is very rewarding.” The Wind Turbine Technology certificate program has been so successful that PCI recently added an associates in applied science degree offering.
Health Information Management PC, Shazia Ashraf, finds spending time in “off-office” hours to be most productive. “I spend a number of hours each week working after-hours completing grading, making phone calls, and communicating with student,” she states. Online students from any campus are often non-traditional in that they hold day jobs and utilize evenings and weekends to complete homework for a class. Calling them during the day is simply not as successful as waiting until the evening. “I love being able to interact with the students and see things from their fresh perspective,” she added. “I learn something new every term!”
Connie Williams, Pharmacy Technician program coordinator for only a few months, has found her weekend work schedule a rewarding benefit for students. “After regular work hours, my days consist of answering student questions about assignments and sometimes basic trouble shooting with students. If my work schedule conflicts with my students’ hours, I will designate extra help time on Saturday mornings and some Sunday afternoons,” she stated.
The program began just a few months ago and, to date, Ms. Williams has taught each course. Having an instructor who is also the curriculum expert is a big plus for students. “ If I’m not directly assisting my students, I am grading their assignments and giving feedback to ensure the student understands the concepts the assignment covers,” she ended. Williams began her career as a trainer while working at a pharmacy in college, something that came naturally to her and eventually became her passion.
With a family history of nursing, Medical Assisting program coordinator, Suzee Gay also feels the need to share and guide those entering the field. “I chose to get into education because I have a great passion for sharing my skills and knowledge with others,” she commented. Like all of her peers, that means after hours and a weekend commitment. “Like all teachers, I spent a lot of my extra time grading assignments and answering student emails.” Her role as both instructor and program coordinator means continual correspondence for both her class and from students in the MA program who need assistance.
“I love watching the students evolve into medical professionals,” stated the MA PC. “It is really wonderful to follow them on their academic journey, boot camp experience, and, finally, extern and graduation.” For Ms. Gay, the hours and commitment are well-worth seeing those events occur in a student’s life.
Pinnacle Career Institute’s newest program, Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning Technician, is headed by Darell High, a veteran of the field with numerous years working in the industry. He also has been an educator in HVAC as well. “The online HVAC program is the first of its kind in the nation and I take great pride in it and want to set the standard for online learning,” High stated. Enrollment began just recently and he intends to make it a successful program of study.
High spends much of his time coaching and supporting students, developing curriculum, and working to educate other departments at PCI of his field and program.
“My goal is to have the biggest program within Pinnacle’s system, as well as being the go-to school for employers when they want to hire technicians. I would like to see a waiting list of employers wanting our students and them being snatched up before or as soon as they graduate,” he ended.
Thanks to all the PCI Program Coordinators for all their hard work and dedication
…. especially on Sunday mornings!