Alumni Spotlight: Josh Sipper
Knowing that education does not end once the diploma is in hand, Josh Sipper ('97) of Wetumpka, Ala., is a confirmed life-long learner and educator.
After receiving a Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Faulkner, Sipper spent time in the Air Force and then went on to earn his Masters of Education degree from Troy University. In September Sipper received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in e-learning from Trident University.
He now combines his education with his Air Force experience as an information technology specialist in distance learning at the LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.
"Distance learning is only going to grow," Sipper said. "It is definitely here to stay because it offers more opportunities and is a more affordable avenue to an education. In fact my entire doctoral program was online."
Sipper's enthusiasm for e-learning provides an exciting insight into the future of education, but it leads one to wonder if traditional college experience will be replaced by computer-based education.
"I think the future of the traditional four-year program is solid," Sipper said. "Distance education will only complement it and enhance it. But masters and doctoral programs will definitely move toward on-line formats."
Sipper says one reason why undergraduate programs will stay traditional is that although online learning can be more convenient, it can be more challenging too.
"No one is standing over you making you complete your work and holding your hand," he said. "The motivation definitely has to come from within. I'm not sure a lot of 18-year olds are ready for that."
That is why Sipper says he is thankful for his undergraduate experiences at Faulkner.
"Nothing can take the place of the years I spent at Faulkner," Sipper said. "My best friends were made at Faulkner and those relationships and the spiritual emphasis have kept me grounded throughout the years. To have studied Bible under men like Leonard Johnson and Eris Benson was a privilege. My four years at Faulkner gave me a solid foundation."