Ed.D. in Adult and Lifelong Learning
“The things that I would study and learn I would be able to put immediately into practice. And it kept me on the cutting edge of the current literature as far as research goes. I was able to apply that immediately day in and day out in my job.”
Randy Scaggs has worked with college students for the better part of his professional life. He can relate to them in part because he's also been a college student over several years while earning four degrees. And he's picked up multiple certificates and licenses along the way.
Scaggs, a student affairs professional at North Arkansas College in Harrison, said earning his doctorate in adult and lifelong learning from the U of A was very important to him both personally and professionally.
"It has meant the world to me," he said. "The things that I would study and learn, I would be able to put immediately into practice. And it kept me on the cutting edge of the current literature, as far as research goes. I was able to apply that immediately day in and day out in my job. It also helped me build a vision for my career and where I wanted to go and use it, and then personally it's just a goal I have had. It was an innate desire to learn and truly be a lifelong learner."
The presentation of a framed diploma marked his most recent educational attainment. The Razorbug Diploma Tour stopped June 28 at Scaggs' home on the Norfork River in Baxter County. Kevin Roessger, associate professor in the adult and lifelong program, traveled from Fayetteville to make the presentation behind the home with both the Razorbug and the tranquil river in the background.
The Razorbug is a 2005 Volkswagen Beetle converted to look like a Razorback, with tusks, snout, razor-edged spine, hooves and curly tail. Some of Scaggs' colleagues from the Student Success Center at North Arkansas College drove from Harrison to help celebrate with him, his wife, parents and neighbors. Ed Pohl, the new dean of the Graduate School and International Education, sent a congratulatory letter and GSIE swag.
After the diploma presentation and the brief Q&A between Scaggs and Roessger, the new U of A alumnus told the Razorbug Diploma Tour crew he had something to show them.
Despite the heat of a June summer day in northeast Arkansas, Scaggs wore a T-shirt under his button-down shirt and suit jacket. He had already taken off the jacket for the interview portion, and now he reached up to unbutton the shirt. Underneath was a gift from his brother he proudly displayed: A shirt lettered with FinishEd followed by a graduation cap over the letter D, so that Ed.D., the abbreviation for a Doctor of Education degree, stood out. It said Dr. Scaggs underneath.
The Doctor of Education degree in adult and lifelong learning is delivered online by the College of Education and Health Professions, but it's a little different than most online degree programs at the U of A. Students are required to attend three in-person meetings on campus per semester. That doesn't necessarily translate to only local students, Roessger said. Some students fly to Fayetteville from several states away.
Those meetings were a highlight for him, Scaggs said.
"My favorite part of the program is when we would, in our cohort, come together on a Saturday and get to know each other and feed off each other and get to know each other's background," he said. "The influence that I received from my counterparts in the program, the motivation and the teamwork from that aspect, but I also really enjoyed digging into areas that I didn't really know that I had an interest. It would pique that and create a hunger to learn more."
"In addition to learning from my colleagues, the faculty are amazing," Scaggs continued. "Along with Dr. Roessger, Dr. Kenda Grover and my dissertation chair, Dr. Kit Kacirek, have greatly contributed to my learning and development."
Career in Education
Scaggs' dedication to education is evident beyond the words on his chest. He has spent his career working in primarily student services at several institutions of higher education. He began working with students while still a student himself at Central Baptist College in Conway, where he was a manager for the men's basketball team, a residence hall assistant and director of intramural sports and assistant men's basketball coach. He earned a bachelor's degree from Central Baptist and a master's degree from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. He has numerous other certifications in leadership, real estate, insurance, homeland security, adult mental health and firefighting.
Over the years, his other work positions included director of admissions for Ozarka College in Melbourne (Izard County), special assistant to the chancellor and later director of enrollment management with the University of Arkansas Community College-Batesville and director of admissions for North Arkansas College in Harrison. Since 2017, he has worked as a professional academic adviser at North Arkansas College.
"I am able to use my experience of learning online and apply that to the students that I visit with every day," Scaggs said. "Those students are balancing life, they're balancing kids, they're balancing jobs, and I can share with them exactly, that I know exactly how they feel and what they're going through and the challenges that they experience."
He hopes to serve as an example to students because he also was a first-generation college student and can show them that, with hard work and perseverance, they can have a vision of success and work hard toward a degree like he did.
"My first advice would be to start young and start early if you can because, first of all, you're not going to be able to use it until you receive the education," he said. "If you're going to use it in your career, then the earlier you start, the longer period of time you're going to be able to use it to impact others and impact the world and your community. But I'm also a perfect example for someone that starts late. You're not ever too old to begin. It's just an accomplishment for me personally."