Each month, faculty and staff are recognized for their enormous contribution to Union. In the words of President Sublett, “Only people make a difference in an organization and only people are important in our lives.”
This week is National Distance Learning Week. In recognition of the Center for Teaching and Learning, UI&U is turning the spotlight on Eileen Baker, eLearning Development Specialist, and Mary A. Amos, Senior Academic Technologist and Designer, and UI&U alumna. Both work to provide a seamless transition for our students/faculty/staff and their online experience.
What excites you about being a part of higher education?
Eileen – Learning is a lifelong journey and passion of mine. Working in higher education allows me to indulge in this passion.
What excites me is there is no typical day in higher education. There are always new features to explore in CampusWeb and new technology to learn about. I get to share this knowledge with faculty, staff, and students to help them use it effectively.
Mary – Working in higher education is an opportunity to help people reach their potential, their goals, improve their lives and in some cases make dreams come true. Working in the Center for Teaching and Learning offers me the opportunity to investigate and implement new technology that supports our faculty in their teaching and students in learning. I love being in a position to facilitate innovation, helping support our faculty, staff, and students with current technologies.
What attracted you to become a part of the Union family?
Eileen – I was in my mid-twenties when pursuing my undergraduate degree. UI&U’s mission of focusing on adult students really spoke to me. Having a strong online presence removes location barriers and opens the educational doors to everyone, both traditional and non-traditional students alike!
Mary – When I first joined Union, it was an opportunity to explore the IT field. I was able to advance my skills in this area and realized I was also able to continue my own education in the Masters of Education program. Earning my degree from Union was a life changing experience that still helps me to better understand our student needs as well as assist our faculty in the online environment.
Q. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?
A. Eileen – I’m an animal lover, so something with animals; maybe the founder of a non-profit rescue, working for a foundation, or a veterinarian.
Mary – I would be a successful well-paid travel writer specializing in pet friendly places.
Q. What surprises people about you?
A. Eileen – I took a winding road to realize my passion and getting into higher education. People are surprised by my past careers in finance as a banker and healthcare as a licensed massage therapist.
Mary – I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan! I listen to his iheart radio show frequently and am working toward being debt free.
Q. What is your favorite book, and why?
A. Eileen – So many books come to mind, but I’ll limit to my favorite childhood book; The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.
When reading it as a child, I was struck by the immense generosity of the tree to the Boy…examples of unconditional love. When reading it now as an adult, I am struck by how selfishness led to the Boy’s discontentment. Always wanting more, never giving back, and not showing thanks or gratitude breeds unhappiness.
I’m amazed by the brevity of the book, and yet there are so many interpretations of the meaning.
Mary – Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It is part of a series of four books. A friend recommended I read them out of order, which is unusual, but I was glad I did. By reading the second book prior to the first, I fell in love with these amazing strong southern women. Then when I read the first book, the reader is introduced to some of their character flaws, but I had already fallen in love with them. You are more accepting of their actions. If I had read the books in order, I may not have continued reading the series. I also love anything by Fannie Flag who wrote Fried Green Tomatoes as the Whistle Stop Café and for great humor my go to author is Tom Robbins.