Jerry Geisler: My JBU story
"JBU really challenged me to think beyond my academic pursuits and to engage in critical thought and self-reflection to become a better person"
Friday, September 11, 2015
Why did you choose JBU?
My wife and I each reached a point in our professional careers where we realized that completing our education and pursuing graduate degrees was important. At the time, we found the public university in our area did not have a program for working, non-traditional students. There were, of course, several other options to choose from, so we set about developing a criteria for selection.
The criteria were primarily based upon ensuring our eventual degree would hold its value long after we completed the coursework. We, of course, wanted an accredited institution with a reputation for academic rigor. We also decided early on that the university needed to be not-for-profit and have a primary campus with resident, traditional students. Finally, we decided that we were not interested in online or distance learning. Such approaches were still fairly new and we believed then and now that something is lost, at least for us, when there isn’t a regular face-to-face dialogue with both professors and peers.
As we narrowed our list both, we started speaking directly to the universities as well as current students and recent graduates. The feedback from JBU students was collectively far more positive. As we began to engage with John Brown, we were immediately impressed with how differently we were treated by faculty and staff. The focus was on our needs and goals rather than just enrolling two more potential students. JBU took an active interest in helping us to determine if the fit was right.
Our experience in JBU's Degree Completion Program was so overwhelmingly positive in all aspects, there was never a question as to where we would pursue our graduate degrees.
Were there any professors or classes that you particularly enjoyed in the program?
This is a hard question, because there were so many who were great as both people and teachers.
I was fortunate enough to have JBUs retired president Dr. Lee Balzer for my first graduate course, Strategic Analysis & Design. I found him to be inspiringly brilliant, so much so that I decided shortly after his course that I may also have an interest in teaching.
Dr. Timmons was a great mentor for both me and my wife throughout our time at JBU and even after we graduated.
The opportunity to study abroad with Billy Stevenson and Dr. Mike Kennelley as part of the Irish Studies program was a life-changing experience.
I walked away from Mr. McCullough’s accounting courses not only with the intentional knowledge imparted via the academic requirements, but also resolved to completely change how I manage my personal finances. I realized that I can do so much more good with that which I’ve been blessed. How many universities have students who would say their accounting course challenged them to be a better person and steward of their resources?
Dr. Jim Walters taught all of us what it means to love unconditionally as he cared for his wife Lynda during our biblical studies course. Again, here we were as students working to meet the academic requirements, but we had a professor at the front of the room setting the example of living to Biblical principles. How can any one of us walk away without reflecting upon and challenging ourselves with regard to how we live our own lives?
I probably shouldn’t name a favorite because all of the professors were fantastic and took such an interest in students as individuals, but Dr. Delia Haak was first among equals in my opinion. She set the standard worthy of emulation for all professors I’ve known before and since.
Have you been able to apply what you learned to your career?
Without question. And not just the academics. JBU really challenged me to think beyond my academic pursuits and to engage in critical thought and self-reflection to become a better person, husband, father, son, brother and employee. Academically speaking, I regularly draw upon the knowledge which was imparted to me.
How has your life changed since graduating from JBU?
Personally, my wife and I have since had two children. I felt much more secure in the idea of starting a family knowing I had completed my formal education. Professionally, our careers have accelerated since graduating from JBU. I have no doubts whatsoever there is causal relationship.
MS, Leadership and Ethics (’06)
BS, Organizational Management (’05)
Adjunct instructor at JBU (Grad Business)
Recently promoted to VP for Information Security at Walmart