Higher Education is Career Path for Adult and Lifelong Learning Student

October 12, 2023  |  by Heidi Wells, Global Campus

Brittney Laney
Brittney Laney

Brittney Laney of Springdale, Arkansas, plans to use the master’s degree she’s earning online from the University of Arkansas in her work with another higher education institution, a new medical school under development.

A program assistant for the Office of Curricular Affairs at Alice L. Walton School of Medicine, Laney says the school is developing curriculum, finding clinical partners for students and hiring faculty members. The four-year medical degree plans to enroll its inaugural class for the fall 2025 semester, pending programmatic and institutional accreditation.

“The work my team does is really closely aligned with the master’s degree in adult and lifelong learning,” Laney says. “We have conversations daily about adult learning principles, learning objectives and program objectives. It is helpful to understand concepts and speak the language. I hope to use my degree to stay at Alice L. Walton School of Medicine.”

The medical school founded by philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton broke ground in Bentonville this spring. Laney expects to finish up her master’s degree in 2025, the same year the school plans to admit its first students.

“A big motivator is I want to be done before the students are here,” Laney says.

TheM.Ed. in adult and lifelong learning is delivered online by the College of Education and Health Professions. Laney was awarded a W.E. Manning Scholarship from the U of A Global Campus for students in online degree programs for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Laney enjoyed in-person classes during her undergraduate program in business management at the U of A, but she knew an online program would serve her better for a graduate degree.

“I was working in higher ed and knew I needed a master’s to advance my career,” says Laney, who formerly worked for the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing in the College of Education and Health Professions. “I was hesitant, but I really enjoy the asynchronous delivery. It’s very accessible and I can complete everything at my own pace and schedule. It lets me balance school and my personal life.”


Personal Recommendation

Laney says she would recommend the program to others.

“It has not been an easy experience, but it’s been worth it,” she says. “I have to remind myself there is only so much you can do in a day. A little progress made every day adds up over a week and a semester. On weeknights, I try to get a few pages done. I might be working on finishing up an assignment or a citation page so I don’t get so far behind. Then, on the weekend, I try to get big chunks done.”

While the program is accessible to anyone in any state or country anywhere, some people may not realize how helpful it is to residents of areas of Arkansas outside the northwest corner, Laney points out.

“That’s been interesting to see people from different parts of the state,” she says. “I know it can be hard for people from other corners of the state to go to the U of A. Accessibility of the program is good for them. Also, I’m one of the younger ones. People in their 50s and 60s bring a different perspective because they’ve been working so much longer.”

High-Quality Faculty

Brittney Laney also says the faculty add to the quality of the adult and lifelong learning program.

“The faculty are some of the best I’ve ever had and I think that’s because, in the adult learning program, they’re experts in adult learning. They really, really know how to accommodate nontraditional students. That’s really cool to see and taken into consideration in every course, lesson and assignment. You can see that; that’s something special.”

Brittney Laney, Program Assistant for the Office of Curricular Affairs, Alice L. Walton School of Medicine

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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 heidiw@uark.edu 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.

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