CCO Faculty Profile: Dr. Johnna Herrick-Phelps, Assistant Provost of Champlain College Online
Dr. Johnna Herrick-Phelps joins Champlain College Online as the Assistant Provost, leading our 60+ online academic programs. We spoke with her to learn more about her background, her interests, and what brings her to Champlain.
Tell me a little bit about your background - what were you doing prior to coming to Champlain, and what has your career been focused on up until this point?
Most recently, I served as the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Granite State College. My areas of oversight included Graduate Studies, Corporate and Business Partnerships, Instructional Design, and Faculty Affairs.
Prior to Granite State College, I was principal of JH Phelps & Associates, where I consulted for public and private organizations in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching, change management, and diversity in the workplace.
Online education has always been an important part of my work, beginning early in my career as the Director of Online Learning for two campuses of Springfield College. I have always enjoyed being in the classroom, and over the years I have taught at numerous universities and colleges, both in face-to-face and online formats.
What brought you to Champlain College Online?
This position at the College offers me the opportunity to work with an entrepreneurial and innovative organization that aligns with my strengths and presents synergy with key areas I am passionate about.
Have you worked with adult learners in the past? What do you enjoy most about working with adult learners?
Working with adult learners has been central to my work throughout my career, and is certainly one of the elements that I enjoy most and appreciate. While there are many aspects of working with adults that I enjoy, my favorite by far is the opportunity to contribute to and support an adult student as that individual progresses through an educational experience. It is a gift to be able to witness the growth and the confidence gained throughout their journey, and ultimately, to be able to share in a person's joy and happiness at commencement upon finally achieving the dream of obtaining a degree.
What are some of the trends you see in adult and/or online education over the next few years?
While we will continue to see growth in the online education arena, the online landscape will increasingly become more competitive as organizations add online learning to their portfolios. In order to remain current and cutting-edge, it will be important to continue to pursue new and creative ways to advance online education.
How do you see online learning as different from (or similar to) classroom-based learning?
The common thread is, and must be, a quality education for the student. And, it's the student that chooses the best way to get that education, based on the need to make it fit with life obligations. For many students just entering college from high school, the classroom experience is usually preferable for both the academic and the social experience of learning in a face-to-face environment. For the adult student working full-time, online learning is preferable, so that learning, work, and family obligations can co-exist.
However, higher education is developing and advancing ways for any student to bridge online with the face-to-face experience.
How do you feel your business background has influenced your approach to higher education?
My business background allows me to bring real-world work experience to the classroom--in particular, entrepreneurship and small business development, leading organizational change initiatives and developing and maintaining effective organizational communication. Over the years, I have learned the often elusive lesson of how to bridge the communications gap between academia and business.
What's an interesting fact about yourself that we might not know otherwise?
I'm a musician, and I have enjoyed playing the French horn in various groups over the years.
What are you most excited about at Champlain?
I am very excited to be joining such a highly regarded, innovative, and progressive organization with a very talented team of faculty and staff who are very passionate about working with students and obviously love the work they do.