Chelsea Hansen completed her undergraduate degree at Virginia Wesleyan College. She earned her MA in Psychology from Northcentral University and is weeks away from completing her PhD in Psychology at Northcentral University. On her appointment, she said "I am extremely honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve as Provost at Allied American University. I am really excited to further serve our students in this new role, working with the most talented and dedicated professionals in the industry."
Chelsea Hansen serves the university and its students as its Chief Academic Officer by administering academic policies, establishing standards for the hiring and academic performance of the faculty, and maintaining overall educational excellence through the assessment of student learning and ongoing academic improvement aligned with the university mission and institutional learning outcomes.
She previously spent five years as a professor at Upper Iowa University, Indian River State College, and Midlands Technical College while serving as an addiction therapist with a specialization in trauma and opiate dependence. Immediately before joining AAU, Hansen was a department chair at Everglades University.
Name a few things about yourself that wouldn’t be found in a traditional bio.
I started college when I was 16 and finished my Master’s degree at 22. I started teaching Psychology at 22 years old, so I was often mistaken for a student on campus. It made for some pretty funny moments over the years!
What drew you to online education?
I’m passionate about online learning because I feel it allows us to reach students who would otherwise never be able to go to school. I feel it is the way of the future.
You’ve worked in both online and brick-and-mortar education. How are they different?
The difference is that in an online modality students are always actively engaged in the learning process, utilizing the discussion board, participating in activities and assignments, and they must be participating in the course. Students who choose an online degree program are motivated, organized and very focused on their success.
Similarly, I learned that online education is the great equalizer. Students in an online setting felt that they were evaluated for their merit and their participation without any predisposed or predetermined notions. In the end, they really liked that and it was very helpful for them.
Is the approach different for a student attending an online school vs. a brick-and-mortar school?
No, not really. For online, what’s key for the student’s success is for them to be engaged as quickly as possible. For students at Allied American University, the first thing is to make sure that you engage with the discussion board the first week, post your assignments, make sure that you’re on task with all of the requirements that need to be met for the course.
The other thing is the unique relationship the student has with their instructor. Online students have a much more personal relationship with their instructor than they would in the on ground classroom, as they are communicating one-on-one with the instructor. There are conversations and emails, as well as discussions through iBoard. Additionally, AAU’s online classes, with our ratio of 10 students to 1 teacher in a class, provide personal interaction and open communication with the faculty, which is key to the student’s success.
What about the technology? How does that come into play?
There’s been so much that has happened in online learning. It’s incredible. The type of programs and products we can provide for our students with all of the rich media and the resources on the web and all of the materials developed by the publishers to make sure the students are really engaged in the learning process are just wonderful. I remember when online learning used to be just like reading a textbook on the screen: all words, very boring, little visual appeal and very little interaction with the instructor.
What advice would you give to a busy mother of two who has some reservations about online education but is looking to pursue a bachelor’s degree?
The online format for her is absolutely ideal. She can choose the flexibility to determine the time and the place to learn, based on her busy schedule. When children are young and home all day, she has the late evening, early hours of the morning as well as the weekend to complete her coursework. It’s an ideal format for her and it is helpful for her with personal and professional enrichment to balance her life. Attending school online allows her to take care of her children, watch them grow as they develop, be available for them, and also meet her own personal and professional goals. Our students take courses online; they can study from anywhere. It’s up to them to find the right study space.
What’s your perfect study/work space? What helps you concentrate?
For our students, it is crucial to have the tools and the space to complete their coursework. Many prefer a dedicated study space that is relatively stable, such as a desk or a space at home. Others enjoy the flexibility of working in a library; or wherever their laptop is, there the study space is. For AAU students, their learning style will determine their study space and style.
Depending on what I am studying, I usually like some type of background noise, such as soft music playing or the television turned on and this actually helps me concentrate. If I am taking a test I need absolute quiet and no distractions.
What made you choose a career with AAU? What makes AAU stand out from other universities?
I love how closely we work with the military here at AAU. I have worked for the Navy and the Army in the past, and there is nothing more fulfilling than helping Service Members achieve their goals. I am so happy to be associated with an institution of such high quality and academic integrity.
Any comments on AAU’s online learning environment or the diversity of the instructors at AAU?
Our faculty members are located throughout the world and bring their unique experience and expertise to the AAU classroom. We count Fulbright Scholars and academic and industry leaders among our outstanding faculty practitioners.
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