Interview with Richard M. Jones, Ed.D. ,Vice Chair of LIGS University Board of Trustees and Associate Professor, University of Hawai`i – West O`ahu
Aloha, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure, I’m Rick Jones. I’ve been in the education field for over thirty years. I have taught online science content courses since the later ’90s and seen huge changes in the quality of online learning in that time.
Where did you hear about LIGS University and what inspired you to take on the role of a board member?
The first time I heard about LIGS was when I received a call from Pavel asking to meet and chat about higher education, accreditation, and online learning. After our initial chat, I surfed the LIGS website and was very impressed by what they were doing and could become. When contacted sometime later and asked if I would serve on the Board, I was more than happy to be part of something unique with unlimited potential.
What areas are of interest and importance to you as a Board member?
I would have to say that I think the most important thing for me is keeping focused on the students and the curriculum. The Board can help keep LIGS innovative and aligned with global workforce needs while retaining the local concept of Aloha. One interesting aspect for me is the truly international nature of the members and how this keeps our perspective from becoming too parochial.
What are your goals as a Board member?
My first goal is to help LIGS become WASC accredited. Second is building rigor in our programs and adding new degrees and programs that will help LIGS become a leader in online degrees globally.
What do you like about working in the field of education?
I will never stop being amazed by how different every day, heck every class, can be. Education is not a factory turning out thousands of identical widgets. Every student brings their own strengths, weaknesses, needs, and desires into their program, so flexibility and creativity are essential as we work with them on their journey toward their degree and a better future.
What do you think are the benefits of an online form of education?
I think the biggest benefit is the flexibility of time and space. If the curriculum is well designed, the content rigorous, rich, and relevant; the online platform stable and secure; and the instruction is based on the best practices of adult learning and distance delivery it should not matter if you are in a classroom, in your office, on a bus, or in Antarctica. Excellent online education means “in your time in your place”.
In your opinion, what are the main reasons for choosing LIGS University as a student?
The main reasons are great instructors, curriculum, future, affordability, and flexibility. It also provides localized focus with global reach.
What do education and personal development mean to you?
Education is critical to earning potential, but it is much more than that. Education builds confidence and broadens one’s perspective and sphere of influence. Seeking to further your education also opens you to new experiences, new ways of thinking and doing, and new frontiers to be discovered.
LIGS University is currently involved in the accreditation process with WASC. Do you see the value of accreditations for universities and for students?
The value in accreditation is that it provides students with an understanding that the course of study, the institution, and the instructors have met essential criteria deemed as critical for a degree-granting university. This understanding gives the students confidence that their degree has come from a reputable institution. For the university, accreditation provides credibility with other universities, the public and investors. Not to mention that in Hawaii all Institutions of Higher Education must be accredited, so LIGS will work to meet the benchmarks needed to become accredited. Once accredited, LIGS will adopt the “Continual Improvement” model and refine our practices to meet the ever-changing needs of our students.
Thank you for your time