Virginia Adjunct Faculty Member Selected for World Caucus at Oxford

June 04, 2015

Leadership and learning styles topped the agenda for a distinguished group of scholars at the Autonomous Learning World Caucus at Wolfson College of the University of Oxford from March 7, to March 13, 2015.

Adjunct faculty member Dr. Sandra Bryant of Saint Leo University’s Chesapeake and Newport News (Virginia) education offices was selected for this honor. Dr. Bryant teaches in the MBA program.

This was Dr. Bryant’s seventh year to participate in the program at the prestigious university in the United Kingdom. She initially was invited based on a presentation she gave to a faculty group at Regent University about student retention.

“It is everyone’s responsibility, not just admissions’,” she said. “I’ve been going back every year. “I focused on improving the self-confidence and the self-efficacy of our students instead of always presenting the answer. It’s the nexus between leadership and communication.”

The invitation-only caucus welcomed scholars and “scholars-to-be,” Dr. Bryant said, “as there were some doctoral students who are embarking on their careers and were in attendance to learn about autonomous learning.”

This group of scholars discussed leadership, emotional intelligence, and other topics related to business, management, and learning. As a result of her participation in the Autonomous Learning World Caucus, Dr. Bryant was inducted into the Order of Beta Phi Fellows in 2008. Other notable Beta Phi Fellows include J.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Saint Augustine.

While participating in the Autonomous Learning World Caucus in the United Kingdom, Dr. Bryant focused on lifelong learning: “how we encourage our students to move toward that instead of being spoon-fed,” she said. “I examined what techniques we can utilize—what topics are important to the up-and-coming scholars-to-be.”

Not only was the caucus a learning experience for Dr. Bryant, but she also received affirmation about her teaching methods. “It was confirmation that my approach to learning theory was really working,” she said. “Students have required classes, but they don’t have to take them with any [set] faculty member. Some wait for a particular faculty member who their peers have recommended. One can tell by the amount of student referrals or repetitive students in their classes.

“There are students in current classes that ask if I’m teaching a course the next semester or say, ‘I like the way you do this.’ And ‘you’re bringing stuff into the real world.’”

Dr. Bryant is finding that her theories have practical applications. And as an adjunct faculty member at Saint Leo’s Newport News and Chesapeake education offices, she ties in students’ backgrounds to her teaching methods. “With our military population with years of experience, they could write their own leadership textbook,” she said. “I like to draw on that as much as I can.”

She hopes to share what she learned at the caucus with other faculty members, many of whom are doing research into lifelong learning and teaching methods. She would like to present at IABC.

While Chesapeake, Newport News, and South Hampton Roads education offices offer an MBA degree, Bryant has her “fingers crossed” that a Doctor of Business Administration degree will be offered at those locations in the future, perhaps in a cohort model.

Dr. Bryant’s time in the United Kingdom was not all work. During her March trip, she explored the area in and around Oxford, a city in southern England. “There is just so much to see,” she said. “There is a lot to be accomplished. A few of my favorites include the chapel on the Exeter College Campus of Oxford and the spires in the City of Oxford.”