Interview with Gloria Y. Niles, Ph.D., member of LIGS University Board of Trustees and Director of Distance Education at the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu
Aloha, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Gloria Niles, and I am an enthusiastic educator dedicated to advancing teaching and learning with technology. I have experience with online learning as a student, instructor, designer, and an administrator and I bring over 25 years of experience in Higher Education. I currently serve as the Director of Distance Education at the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu, as a faculty specialist charged with oversight of all facets of online learning.
I received a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Special Education Leadership from Capella University, a Masters in Education with a specialization in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University, East Bay, and a Bachelors degree in Organizational Management from Patten University.
Where did you hear about LIGS University and what inspired you to take on the role of a board member?
I was first introduced to LIGS University by a colleague who serves on the Board of Trustees.
What areas are of interest and importance to you as a Board member?
As a member of the Board of Trustees, I am interested in supporting the development of an effective strategic plan that aligns with the mission of LIGS University. I am particularly interested in lending my expertise in the area of academic affairs and governance as LIGS University navigates through this transition and evolution.
What are your goals as a Board member?
My goal as a member of the Board of Trustees of LIGS University is to lend support based on my areas of expertise, work collaboratively with other members of the Board, as well as administration, faculty, and staff of LIGS University to continue to advance the mission of LIGS University.
What do you like about working in the field of education?
Education is continually evolving particularly as technology continues to provide new avenues for people all over the world to collaborate and build new knowledge. The field of education fascinates me because it touches every field of study and advances society.
What do you think are the benefits of an online form of education?
The benefits of online forms of education are the ability to transcend geographical barriers as well as time constraints. Online forms of education bring learning to the individual, rather than the individual needing to go to a particular place to achieve an education. Online learning also has the benefit of providing more opportunities to address multiple learning styles, making learning personalized to unique styles of learning.
In your opinion, what are the main reasons for choosing LIGS University as a student?
LIGS University provides a unique opportunity to learn with peers from across the world. The international perspective of the diverse faculty and student body is a tremendous advantage. Also, the Oxford style of learning allows the learner to work closely with faculty to customize learning in ways that are unique to the goals of the learner.
What do education and personal development mean to you?
For me personally, education and professional development represent a commitment to lifelong learning. In the Hawaiian language “Aʻo” means both teaching and learning. This single word, for me, represents the interdependence of these two words. My love for learning led me to a career in education. One can only be effective as a teacher if they are continuing to learn.
LIGS University is currently involved in the accreditation process with WASC. Do you see the value of accreditations for universities and for students?
Achieving accreditation through WSCUC is a valued and essential process of internal self-evaluation and external review. The comprehensive process of accreditation leads to continuous improvement, which strengthens the institution. It assures all stakeholders that an education from LIGS University meets or exceeded standards.
Thank you for your time