Spotlight on Education

LSU Online exemplifies LSU’s innovative approach to transforming education.

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Fierce for priming students to succeed at every stage

Meet Sasha Thackaberry, PhD, LSU Online vice provost of digital and continuing education, and Demetria Faircloth-Ivory, an LSU Online alumna and active duty soldier in the Army National Guard.

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The jobs of tomorrow will require more than a single skill set. Like many LSU initiatives focused on preparing students for a rapidly evolving workplace, LSU Online’s commitment to interdisciplinary education recognizes the need to meld the arts, sciences, and humanities in a diverse slate of degree- and certificate-granting programs—and to continue educating students well past the conventional graduation date.

“Education is not a point of time in endeavor anymore. It happens through the life span,” Sasha Thackaberry, LSU Online vice provost of digital and continuing education, explained. “Many people will need to return to school to build additional skills. LSU wants to be our students’ ‘forever partner’ in education.”

In addition to continuing education, Thackaberry noted that LSU Online meets the needs of students whose lives cannot accommodate a full-time or on-campus degree path. “The fantastic thing about LSU Online is that we’re enabling these students to stay in Louisiana for their education, which allows them to reinvest in their communities. This creates entrepreneurs, attracts new businesses, and spurs job growth for the state.”

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One LSU Online alumna, Demetria Faircloth-Ivory, already had a busy, full life of parenting and serving in the Army National Guard. When she began studying leadership and human resources development online, her goal was to complete the master’s program in 12 months—and she did. Faircloth-Ivory praised her LSU professors and the administrative team for their responsiveness on the other side of the computer screen, describing her experience as “awesome.” She also recalled how good it felt to walk across the stage at graduation. “I do get emotional when I think about it now,” she said.

Faircloth-Ivory’s decision to pursue a graduate degree was motivated by a desire to both enhance her job prospects and be a role model for her daughters, then 13 and one.

“I want my daughters to understand the importance of education,” Faircloth-Ivory shared. “To me, the best example is for my husband and me to have our degrees. To go the traditional route would have taken much longer because I’m juggling family, as well as being an active duty soldier. Earning a master’s degree online made it possible to work from anywhere. I already have over 20 years of experience in human resources. However, this degree means that when I leave the military, my opportunities will be endless.”

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