Describe one of your research projects as if talking to somebody who knows nothing about your field.
While most of us non-nursing professionals think of nurses as working in a hospital or other clinical setting, there are many community agencies which employ nurses to provide health services as well as health education and wellness activities. I am working with the Brooks College of Health’s Community Based Nursing Program to develop a Student Assessment Tool that will assist the program in conducting a long-term study of the impact of the community-based program on our nursing students and the impact of the program on more the than 30 community programs which participate. Throughout my career, most of my research has been focused on evaluation-research related to K-12 public schools and non-profit organizations.
How did you end up at UNF?
In 1981, while serving as a school principal in the Jacksonville Public Schools, I was invited by Dr. William (Bill) Merwin, a former UNF Vice President and Provost, and Dr. Andrew Robinson, the former Dean of the UNF College of Education and Human Services, to apply for a position in the Educational Leadership Program.
How do you involve students in your own projects?
Often I am able to involve graduate students in providing technical assistance to non-profit community groups where they help organizations with such things as developing a program evaluation plan, data collection, data analysis, and providing assistance in project management. I have been fortunate enough to have served as the chair of more than 30 doctoral dissertation research studies for students engaged in our Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.
What do you think is the most important trait of a successful student?
Someone who is excited about and totally committed to their chosen field of study.
Having been through Graduate School, what advice can you give a budding academic?
Graduate school is not just about “taking classes,” it’s about “taking people.” Go the extra step and spend as much time as you can interacting with the professors that interest you and challenge you.
Have you led any study abroad classes?
Sort of… I have traveled with my wife, Dr. Sharon Wilburn, who is a Professor in the Brooks College of Health, and the School of Nursing faculty, and students as they have visited program in other countries. This also gave me the opportunity to visit elementary and secondary schools in those countries.
What do you do when you need a break from students and research?
Still using my undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, I continue to perform with a jazz-swing quartet. We perform at local places and events and donate our time to provide entertainment for non-profit groups such as the American Cancer Society. Taking time away from academic work and just going to my music room and practicing for an hour or two is like taking “time out” from everything else.
How has UNF differed from other universities where you have taught?
Smaller and younger. I have worked and taught at the University of Northern Colorado and The Johns Hopkins University.
What is your favorite class or topic to teach?
My favorite class to teach is a graduate class, Foundations of Program Evaluation. In this class, students go into the community, select an organization, and help that organization to develop an actual plan for conducting an assessment of one of their programs.
If you hadn’t become an academic, what would you have done?
Well, I spent the first decade after earning my undergraduate degree trying to make it as a professional musician. So, I probably would have kept at it. While I did not like the absence of any financial security, I loved playing with different musicians and moving frequently from city to city and state to state. Plus, I had a lot of interesting “day jobs.”
What have you published recently?
Most of my recent publications are in the form of program evaluation technical reports that are designed to assist program managers in improving their programs and to meet the reporting requirements of their funding source.
Below are two recent publications related to my work with the Nursing Program and Program Evaluation:
Olinzock, B., Kruger, B., Wilburn, S.T., Wilburn, K.T., Roush, C., (January-March 2009). Building a Baccalaureate Community Nursing Curriculum Using a Participatory Evaluation Approach. The Health Care Manager. 28 (1), 58-65.
Wynn, R.D., Hart, A. I., Wilburn, S T., Weaver, D. M., Wilburn, K.T. (2008, Fall). The Impact of a Multicultural Training Program on Adolescents’ Understanding of Cultural Awareness. The Journal of Multiculturalism in Education, 3, 1-26. Retrieved from http://www.multiculturaljournal.com/issues/.
How would you sum up your program in one sentence to a potential graduate student?
Learning how to use your unique talents to become the leader of your own professional life and helping your organization to be a healthy and successful place to work.
Describe your involvement with a specific student club or organization?
I have played a very small role in working with the Institute for Values, Community, and Leadership by serving as a faculty advisor/sponsor and helping to pilot test some of the Leadership Assessment tools.
I also had the opportunity to be one of the founding faculty members of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership which was UNF’s first doctoral program.
From where did you receive your degrees?
B.S., Music: Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
MED, Music Education: University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Ph.D., Educational Management Systems: Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
In my next life, I want to be reincarnated as someone who can play the saxophone like Stan Getz.
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