Coach Adds to Knowledge with Master’s Degree in Adult and Lifelong Learning

June 1, 2023  |  by Heidi Wells, Global Campus

David Howard
David Howard

David (D.C.) Howard took a few days off from his two jobs to walk in the graduation ceremony May 13 at the University of Arkansas, his first visit to the Fayetteville campus.

Howard found time while working as director of programs, partnerships and training for PeerForward and founder and principal of Wayineers to complete a master's degree in adult and lifelong learning delivered online by the U of A.

PeerForward focuses on peer mentorship to help young people navigate life after high school and into college and careers. Howard has been with PeerForward for 15 years. Four years ago, he founded Wayineers, a professional coaching and consulting company where he uses his knowledge and expertise to work with clients in career, relationship and executive coaching.

"Everyone can use some of what I call TLC: therapy, learning and coaching, about the past, present and future," Howard says. "A lot of folks realized, 'I need someone to help navigate my future.'"

Howard lives in South Carolina and has a bachelor's degree from Florida State University.

"My bachelor's degree was in history with a double minor in biology and chemistry," Howard says. "I knew I wanted to get a master's degree, and I started a couple of times and withdrew. People don't always look best at those who don't complete."

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Howard decided he wanted to start that journey again. He works with youth but was also intrigued by the adult education environment. He wanted to help adults learn. He researched universities and found out about the U of A program in adult and lifelong learning, a program delivered online at the master's and doctoral levels by the College of Education and Health Professions.

Howard says two courses, in particular, have proved useful in his work so far. His first semester he took a course on coaching. Although he is a professionally trained coach, he was able to see coaching from a different perspective and has used new methods he learned in the course with his clients.

The program planning course gave him "a lot of ahas," Howard says, that helped him in his work with PeerForward.

"Being a director, I have a budget, and I have to navigate politics in programs," he says. "The course enabled me to put some academic knowledge behind what I deal with on an everyday basis."


Personal Recommendation

Howard is not new to online education but going through an academic degree program in its entirety was a new experience for Howard. And, he has been working remotely since 2015.

"Being able to engage with individuals via online has become more commonplace than in person," he says. "With regard to the U of A and this program, what really made this worthwhile for me is each professor in their own way showed a willingness to make the engagement personable but still keep it professional. They make it seem just as dynamic as an in-person experience. Each had their own way of doing that, including video recaps of what we talked about or get into, discussion boards, Kaltura videos so we can see presentations of fellow classmates. They make sure you don't feel shortchanged due to it being a virtual experience."

Going back to the information-gathering and application phases of the program, Howard says Kenda Grover, associate professor of adult and lifelong learning, made the program feel right for him, responding to his questions about the program with detail-oriented answers. Later, Howard says, he was thankful that Grover cared when he lost both his parents and his older brother from COVID.

"That took me out mentally in the spring of 2022," Howard says. "I did not do well in those classes. Dr. Grover walked me through how to stay on track. She got me to the point where I am now."

Someone not familiar with the adult and lifelong learning program might think it has a narrow focus and application, but Howard points out the opposite is true.

"When you fully immerse yourself, you see it's vast," he says. "For the person considering master's programs, don't sell this program short. There is some level of connection you'll have in this program if you're doing anything with adults. Adult education is not just this one little circle."


DC Howard celebrates his degree at the graduation reception May 12 hosted by the Global Campus at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House on the U of A campus.
DC Howard celebrates his degree at the graduation reception May 12 hosted by the Global Campus at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House on the U of A campus.

New Wardrobe

D.C. Howard still lives in South Carolina, where he grew up. He did leave to go to college for his bachelor's in Florida. Going to the U of A in Fayetteville didn't require him to leave his home state because he could study online.

And his heart is big enough to add a love for the Razorbacks. Wearing an Arkansas Razorback pullover during a recent interview, he was proud to share that he goes all in. A section of his closet is now devoted to his Razorback gear.

Photo of Heidi Wells

Heidi Wells

Content Strategist

Heidi Wells is the content strategist for the Global Campus at the University of Arkansas and editor of The Online Learner. Her writing spans more than 30 years as a communicator at the U of A and a reporter and editor at Arkansas newspapers. Wells earned two degrees from the U of A: a master's in 2013 and a bachelor's in 1988.

Wells can be reached at or 479-575-7239.

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Master of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning

The M.Ed. in Adult and Lifelong Learning degree will prepare students for employment in programs that provide adult literacy and education, lifelong learning, community and nonprofit organizations, military education, post secondary education, and continuing professional education. The program will focus on the development of students as emerging scholars and practitioners.

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