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The Grad Post Fall 2019, Graduate Spotlight, Cynthia Groover

Recent Graduate, Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration

What drew you to Georgia Southern for your graduate studies?

As an employee, there simply was no good excuse to not take advantage of the Tuition Assistance Program and pursue the Ed.D. as the ultimate in professional development. I knew I had an idea for a research project that could improve the way our office, the Office was Institutional Effectiveness (OIE), was supporting the University, so it just made sense to take the plunge.

What are your Georgia Southern “points of pride?” What is one thing you are most proud of during your time here at Georgia Southern? 

I absolutely love working with professionals across campus and helping them look critically at how they’re doing what they’re doing for our students and helping them tell their stories of how they’re making Georgia Southern a better place for students to excel. There is so much good work happening throughout campus, and I think it’s great when we can show where specific places on campus took something they were doing, noticed it wasn’t working as well as they’d hoped or planned, and then put something in place to make a real improvement. It’s great when everything goes as planned, but we can also make progress when we hit those little speed bumps as well.

Tell us about your research?

I literally took the work I do every day here in OIE and turned it into my research. At the time I began the dissertation process, OIE had been supporting a fairly static set of resources for administrative and student affairs assessment on campus for about 5 years, but we didn’t really have much data that showed us that those resources were, in fact, helping anyone effectively engage in assessment. My research helped provide data my office can use to improve the way it fulfills one of its major responsibilities – ensuring effective assessment practices are ongoing, throughout the institution.

Tell us about what you do at Georgia Southern.

My new, official title is “Assessment and Accreditation Specialist,” in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. I get to work with administrative and student affairs units across campus, helping them develop their assessment practices and processes to be sure we, as an institution, are providing the best environment and services possible for our students to be successful, both in and outside the classroom.  I’m also directly involved with a lot of our activity relating to our regional accreditor, SACSCOC, so things related to our recent consolidation prospectus and report and our reaffirmation of accreditation reports, for example, frequently come across my desk.

I can’t say enough good things about the faculty in the Ed.D. program. I had an amazing committee in Drs. Juliann McBrayer (my chair), Richard Cleveland, and Amy Jo Riggs. The dissertation process was definitely not easy, but they believed in my study from day one, even when I was having some serious doubts. Collaborating with them to arrive at the final dissertation has definitely been a highlight of my time here at Georgia Southern.

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