Interview with Peggy L. Steffen, member of LIGS University Board of Trustees and U.S. Department of State Embassy Science Fellow, assigned to the American Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam to promote climate education (2014).
Aloha, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Peggy L. Steffen and I have been an active educator for over 40 years, beginning with high school and college science teaching and then as a federal government education program manager. Now retired, I am working with STEM networks and robotics teams to help students see the value of STEM in their life and to consider challenging careers in their future.
Where did you hear about LIGS University and what inspired you to join the board member?
I was first introduced to LIGS University by a colleague who serves on the Board of Trustees.
What area/s are important and interesting for you as a Board member?
I heard about LIGS University from my friend and colleague, Richard Jones. He encouraged me to find out more about this new community for learning. After a phone call with the founder, Pavel Makovsky, I knew that this university was something that fit my education philosophy; high quality education access for all regardless of geographic location.
What is your goal/s as LIGS Board member?
My experience in teaching pedagogy, managing education programs for success and developing strategic plans for government agencies that require implementation plans with milestones and target goals and deliverables would be the most important skills that I bring to the Board.
What do you like about working in the field of education?
I have seen the power of education to change lives and to see students dream and achieve something better for themselves and their communities. Quality education is critical for the development of global citizens that will create opportunities in a sustainable world.
What do you think are the benefits of online form of education?
Many students have their education opportunities limited by financial resources and transportation infrastructure. An online program avoids those limitations and connects students with mentors and instructors with common education goals. It can also provide a much more personal experience with experts.
Can you think of the main reasons why should students choose LIGS University?
I believe that students would find a more targeted education experience with smaller classes and many knowledgeable international experts at LIGS University. They would also have opportunities to interact with other global students providing a wider view of different fields of study.
What do education and personal development mean to you?
Everyone is a teacher at some point in their life, but not all try to keep learning new ideas and skills. Continued professional and personal growth is critical to a healthy mind and even though I am “retired”, it is still important for me to learn, to attend conferences, and to experience new adventures in education.
LIGS is in accreditation process from WASC. Where do you see the value of accreditation for universities and for students?
Students need to know that the education that they are investing in comes from the highest standards of teaching and learning. Accreditation is a key part of that process and assures students that the degrees that they will work hard to attain will culminate in a useful education from a respected institution.
Thank you for your time
Peggy L. Steffen
Previous Employment, Science Education Activities, Activities and Honors, Professional Experience:
Director of the Excellence in Science Teaching Award Program for the Iowa Academy of Science, Academy of Science Award for Excellence in Biology Teaching, State winner Presidential Award for Science Teaching, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, NASA Administrators Award for innovative education program development, U.S. Department of State Embassy Science Fellow, Thomas B. Ervin Distinguished Service Award, National Earth Science Teachers. Former Department Chair and Director of K-12 science curriculum development (Ottumwa Community Schools, Ottumwa, Iowa).