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Spirit of Sharing

November 30, 2021 Jim Warner
Outdoor shot of Erica Hulse

Erica Hulse is the person people go to to get things done—a reputation that has helped earn her the respect of her peers. She has helped shape the new Online MBA program (OMBA) as a student support coordinator—ensuring that our grad students have an advocate who cares about their successes in the classroom and as professionals. Erica’s passion for student success is what helped earn her a Cardinal Spirit Award.

As one of her nominators offered, “[Erica] has an unending compassion for students and regularly goes above and beyond by calling students and supporting them through their struggles…She is friendly, supportive, and maintains a positive attitude to knocking down barriers in the pursuit of doing what’s right for students.”

After working with online programs and graduate students for the last six years, Erica joined the College last November and immediately impacted the fledgling program. “I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to help build our support system for online students and faculty from the ground up,” reflects Erica. As a former online student, Erica understands the specific challenges and concerns that come from online education.

Building An Online Community

One of the most pressing challenges was the student experience and building a sense of community in the virtual setting. “It was a valuable learning experience to ask questions [of OMBA students] and really meet their needs,” says Erica. Having an open line of communication has helped the team implement solutions that will improve the experience for future graduate students. “I know that [OMBA Director Zac Goldman, PhD] has been working with our students to streamline our courses to make sure that content is innovative and inclusive for online learners.”

Meanwhile, Erica’s role has evolved in the past year, including developing opportunities to share student stories. She has written several articles and student profiles—some of whose reach extended beyond the College. Erica’s interview with OMBA student Michael Henderson over the summer spawned a story by his employer, GE Appliances. “[The article] kind of had a delightful snowball effect,” beams Erica. “I hope [it] really helped him to further his professional goals.”

Erica’s first year at the College closes by earning a Cardinal Spirit Award. “It’s a really special award because it comes from the people that I work with every day; these are my colleagues and the people that make the College of Business what it is,” says Erica. “And so for them to feel that I bring positivity and a sense of optimism and growth to what we do in the College; that means more to me than the external reward.”

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