August 08, 2017 (Tuesday) Our newest Alumni Spotlight is featuring Dr. Alice Tyler Milton. Dr. Milton earned her Doctorate of Education Degree with a minor in Educational Technology from our department. We asked her to answer a few questions about her time at MSU and her current position.
Why did you choose the Ed.D. Program?
My first full-time teaching job was at the Career Development Center in Jackson, Mississippi where I eventually became the chair of the Business Technology Department. The Center employs certified instructors to train students from the feeder high schools (Eight  at the time) in a trade area. It was then (almost instantly) I developed a passion for Business and Technology and realized that I wanted to always work with students in this area to impact their lives.
When I decided to pursue my terminal degree, Mississippi State University was my first choice; therefore, I got a College Catalog and saw the Technology and Education Program was offered. This was perfect because I wanted to stay close to my present vocation - the rest is history.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to the new Ph.D. students about the program?
My advice to students is to absorb all of the challenging requirements for any program at MSU - use the "Sponge effect". Honing research skills will be vital for career growth in education.
Also, join at least one major professional organization to network (growth from trained experts) and learn the wealth of information that will beneficial toward:
1. Completing a degree
2. Finding a great job
3. Learning the new technologies in the chosen field
4. Fueling the dissertation
I know that time management is essential while working on a terminal degree; but, joining a student organization is another avenue of learning skills and networking to make connections. Being active will give one the advantage of possibly landing a great job, and you do not have to be involved in every activity.
Finally, I recommend to continue attaining professional development throughout your career. As a matter of fact, every instructor in my Division is a member of at least one professional organization and also is involved in a student organization or partnership that is beneficial to student growth. Knowledge is power and networking cultivates relationships. Never be afraid to learn new technologies and strategies.
What advice would you give students who are getting ready to defend their dissertation?
I would tell the students to relax and show the committee their expertise in the subject matter. Practice with several groups and friends - this process will lead to a better understanding on how others view their dissertation before the final defense. Moreover, it is wise to visit other defenses which will give them an insight of what will be expected and the visits will assist them in their preparations.
What is your current job title?
Presently, I am the Associate Dean for the Business and Information Technologies Division on the Birmingham and Bessemer Campuses at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama. I work within the Division, serve on the Administrative Cabinet for the College, assist with BlackBoard, serve on committees, serve on the Board of Directors for Kappa Beta Delta (A Division of ACBSP), is a member of the Instructional Officer Association (IOA) for Alabama, secure funds for students to stay in College or further their education, etc. Beginning fall 2017, I will be the Alabama Phi Beta Lambda Adviser.
How did your degree prepare you for the job you have now?
I have utilized my degree to the fullest. The outline of the Technology and Education Program at Mississippi State opened my mind to constantly "think outside of the box" to get the job done and challenge others to follow. I feel that from day one, I was an absorber with a sponge mindset. My studies at MSU challenged me to the point that I grew extensively in my researching and critical-thinking skills.
My capstone adviser, Dr. Connie Forde, was so supportive and gave me the encouragement needed to complete my studies and went beyond the call of duty - I will always be grateful. It is a privilege to have had her as a mentor at Mississippi State. I am proud to say that I was her first doctoral student.
What does a typical day look like for you at work?
Each morning begins with checking with the proctors in our authorized Testing Center to make sure every station is up and running smoothly.I walk the building checking and opening labs for our adjunct instructors on the first and second floors; read overnight emails and monitor instructor courses in BlackBoard; and if it is registration time, check class numbers, loads, overloads, new hires, current availability of adjuncts instructors, etc.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is that I get to meet some wonderful students that are eager to learn and new people. I truly feel fulfilled when I see the pre and post student realizing how they have grown personally, mentally, and professionally. It is a great feeling and does my heart good when students come back to let you know how they appreciate the faculty and staff in the Business and Information Technologies Division, when they give back to help future students, continue their education in another program because they enjoy learning and appear like a "sponge" for education, become a professional Lawson State Phi Beta Lambda member, further their education after the bachelor's degree, etc. I know then that we are accomplishing our goals for the Division.
What are some of your personal hobbies or interests?
Some of my hobbies include reading, creating [501(c)(3)] and working with nonprofit organizations, writing grants, researching Black history (blackhistorysalute.com), and my all-time favorite, spending time with my son (Quintin) and new daughter-in-law (Raven) as of February 25, 2017. Once I am a grandmother, I will have another interest!