SAS Fellow Spotlight: Marianne Justus

SAS Fellow Spotlight: Marianne Justus

This spotlight features Research Fellow and Dissertation Chair Marianne Justus, PhD. Dr. Justus joined the University of Phoenix in 2001 and began active involvement within the School of Advanced Studies in 2007. In addition to completing her 2014 fellowship, she currently facilitates doctoral residencies as well as doctoral courses for the school.

Dr. Justus has recently completed a qualitative exploratory study of emerging technology and the pedagogical implications for faculty adoption. The article for this research has been submitted for publication. Additionally, the study was presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education in March 2015.

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Currently, she is working with Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi on a study related to the methods and means by which cultural competency can be measured, and how the integration of social media within the classroom can impact interaction and engagement for online learners. This project involves 7 projects with 25 faculty members engaged as researchers within the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research. Dr. Justus leads three of these projects and was also involved in the project’s initial development. The target dates for these research teams to present and publish are in the Spring/Summer of 2016. According to Dr. Kebritchi, “is a role model for the center research fellows.”

Dr. Justus was inspired as an early adopter of technology and considers it, “a continuation of my interest in the powerful impact that technology has made in the past, and the potential that it still holds to transform the way we communicate and interact with others.”

Her hopes for the research outcomes are to increase our cultural understandings when learning at a distance and to boost student engagement and success. “Related research in higher education online environments is limited. The research could impact success in online learning; it could impact the isolation that online user’s experience, and it could inform educators responding to global learning issues,” says Dr. Justus. “Understanding how to harness the potential of these emerging technologies is critical to educators at this point in the evolution of distance education.”

In addition to the knowledge and understanding gained through specific research projects, Dr. Justus noted that conducting research, “almost always leads to a desire to conduct more research! Projects often have unexpected findings. If those findings cannot be pursued in the current project due to lack of time, curiosity leads us to do further research on the topic.  Educators never stop learning, and we never stop sharing that knowledge with our students and our fellow faculty within the constraints of time and the desire to have a reasonable and healthy work/life balance. I believe most faculty consider it to be an honor and a privilege to guide doctoral students. At the same time, we should not get caught up in our own importance and must recognize that our students are accomplished professionals in their field and we have much to learn from them.”

Many thanks to Dr. Justus for her continued efforts within the school and good luck with her ongoing projects. We look forward to seeing the outcome!