McKendree Online Father’s Day Spotlight Feature: Introducing Bill Robbins!

Bill and his family
Bill and his family.

At McKendree University, we understand and appreciate the effort that fathers put in to raising their children every day. Countless fathers instill courage, strength, and knowledge in their children at an early age and strive to provide the best example for them. We see this every day on our campus, whether it’s listening to colleagues talk about their young ones or seeing all of the hard work and dedication that our students put into both their studies and their families.

Today, we are taking the time to honor our McKendree dads with a spotlight blog on one of our online students and fathers, Bill Robbins!

Bill is currently working toward an MBA and knows all too well the struggles of balancing scholastic and work duties with the duties of fatherhood. The father of four children, ages 19, 17, 16, and 15, Bill has become a bit of an expert at balancing school and home life. He says, “The balance comes from stripping away time previously spent on superfluous activities. There are only 24 hours in the day. Leveled up time management in my career has tightened the attention span for work-related issues and projects; similar time management techniques have helped in streamlining the ‘have-to’ activities like grocery shopping. Being more purposeful with time and efforts allows me to commit fully to work, school, and supporting the efforts and pursuits of my children and not becoming too sleep-deprived!”

Born and raised in Carbondale, Illinois, Bill says that he was fortunate to have his father in his life. “Looking back, I vividly remember how my dad was always there for me, no matter what,” he said. “He was my confidant, my hero, and my most trusted advisor. He rarely told me how to overcome, but he was always there to lend an ear, a shoulder, and the time to share his wisdom, allowing me the space to figure out my best path.”

A father now himself, Bill has loved watching his children encounter and experience new things around them since the time they were born. “It is always a wonder watching as they figure out the world, engage in new things, and grow from those encounters,” he said.

Like just about any father, Bill finds it hard to pinpoint his most cherished memory of raising his children. “I always seem to really remember when they were about the ages of 4, 5, 6, and 8 years old,” he said. “Any time we were out and about, I would often take a particularly old-fashioned, hilly road back to our house. I’d cruise over the hills ever so gently – with just enough lilt to send them into road-tickled laughter. Seeing all four in the mirror having the best time sent me soaring. It’s one of my best memories.” It isn’t surprising that this memory is one of his favorites since Bill tells us that his favorite thing to do with his children is to laugh.

Bill is grateful for the greatest and perhaps most difficult lesson that his father taught him – how to be available to his children without hovering. “The fine line between being supportive and becoming overbearing can be difficult to navigate,” he said. “My goal is for my kids to know that I am always there, and I support their well-made decisions, regardless of the outcome. When I cheer them on, it is not to push them toward something of obligation but to honor their hard work and dedication to their goals.”

To Bill, education means many things – rewarding, encouraging, and yes, in a way, selfish! He said, “Education is one of the most rewarding selfish pursuits. Conventionally, a selfish act does not have a positive connotation. However, education is a personal effort. Even though you are surrounded by others, led by mentors, and shared in tandem with peers, ultimately, the focus is one’s self. Few other pursuits are as fulfilling and rewarding. Additionally, furthering my education is an encouragement to my kids, even as they encourage me. They are seeing my commitment to this degree, and they get to cheer me on. They are seeing for themselves that formal education doesn’t have to end at the first graduation, but rather it is something to continue, be it toward a new degree or skill.”

Bill chose McKendree Online because of our long-established, highly reputable brick-and-mortar institution. “I am fortunate to be able to come to a school with a proven non-traditional program tailored for me,” he noted. “Our professors are top-notch, tuition is affordable, and McKendree is interested in my success. The intentional care and concern embedded in every aspect of the program is evident.”

Upon completion of his MBA, Bill believes that he can invest his degree into his current career trajectory and may even build upon it to pursue a degree in economics or law or maybe something entirely new.

Bill has some advice for those who are thinking about furthering their education – be diligent about mapping out time. “Block the schedule out and be true to the plan,” he said. “Each class has a syllabus to draw on for that plan. Your daily life should have a plan of action as well. Streamline your schedule, reduce the waste, and establish time management habits. Frankly, it takes care of the rest!”

We wish a very happy Father’s Day to all of our McKendree fathers, whether they are students, staff, faculty, or future Bearcats. We hope that you have a wonderful, restful day with your families!


Get the Inside Scoop About McKendree Online’s MBA Program!

online MBA programRecently, we watched 566 Bearcats receive their hard-earned bachelor’s degrees during our commencement ceremony on the front lawn. Those graduates have just achieved their dreams of finishing college and are ready to move on to the next chapter in their lives. Some will or already have obtained jobs in their field while others are setting their sights on learning more by entering our master’s program.

Whether you’re determined to earn your master’s degree as soon as you receive your bachelor’s degree diploma or you’ve decided to further your education after years of being out in the field, any time is the right time to dive into our master’s program. Our very own Graduate Admission Counselor, Patty Aubel, has taken time out to give you the inside scoop about what our online MBA program is all about. Read on to learn more!

You might think that only business majors should even consider enrolling in our online MBA courses. This is not the case, however! As Patty says, “Any major is eligible. The MBA is not just for the business majors or even for those in a traditional business type of profession. There is a wide range of professions that call for learning better ways to do business due to someone’s new leadership role or new responsibilities they have been given. Working in non-profit, medical, mining, higher education, or even government – these are just some of our MBA students’ fields!”

Why should a student consider enrolling in the online MBA program? There is a multitude of benefits that a student will experience when he or she takes the step to join the program. “When I hear from students beginning the program, they mention that they want to be challenged, make their families and themselves proud, reach their goals, secure themselves in their place of employment, or gain business knowledge to help make themselves stand out for new positions or promotions,” Patty said. “Obtaining an MBA tends to give someone an edge when it comes to being promoted, taking on more responsibilities at their place of employment, or giving someone the marketability they desire when searching for new employment.”

In addition to giving our students an edge in the market and helping them achieve their goals, our online MBA program is very flexible. “Working on class assignments online from home or any location at midnight or at any time of the day – this makes the degree workable for just about anyone,” Patty points out. “However, ‘online’ does not mean working alone or out there by yourself. The online courses are very interactive and require posting and responding to other students’ posts. Instructors have online office hours and are accessible to students via phone, email, and some even offer face-to-face meetings.”

As for unique classes in the MBA program, Patty mentioned our latest concentration addition within the degree. “There is now an MBA that includes a set of three courses that, in the end, will give students a concentration in Human Resources. Anyone in the HR field can also take just these three courses to prepare for an HR certification exam,” she said.

You might be wondering at this point what the steps are to enroll in the MBA. There is only one – any student with a bachelor’s degree is eligible to apply for the online MBA program. “As far as any prerequisite coursework for the MBA program, there are four foundation courses: accounting, statistics, microeconomics, and marketing/management,” said Patty. “If any of these were not taken in their undergrad, students are simply enrolled in the courses in which they are deficient. This does not hold up their enrollment in the program. As they complete each course, they can enroll in the MBA course that matches that particular prerequisite.”

We asked Patty what she would like students going into this program to know about McKendree Online, and here is what she said: “The beauty of the online format is the flexibility that it provides. Every student is busy and needs flexibility at one time or another during the time they are in the program. An occasional pause due to work or perhaps a family vacation is not uncommon. On the other hand, there are students who want to double up on courses. If taking two courses at a time while working and maintaining the pace, a student could actually complete the entire degree in one calendar year. Every student’s need for time is different, and our online program helps address this need.”

Interested in our online MBA courses or any other online courses? Learn more about how you can get started by visiting!

McKendree Online Makes Juggling a Busy Life Easy for May 2016 Nursing Graduate Megan Holtmann

Megan HoltmannThis Nurses Week, McKendree University remembers and celebrates nurses and the important role that they play in healthcare. Nurses are the critical backbone of medical care in our hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes, military facilities, schools, and several other facilities. They work tirelessly to provide patients with the best care possible, yet oftentimes their many contributions go unnoticed. We at McKendree recognize and celebrate these amazing people and the vital role that they play in our lives. That’s why we are spotlighting Megan Holtmann, a May 2016 graduate from our online Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Manager/Administrator program!

When Megan applied for the program, she was working as a floor nurse and wanted to move up among the ranks by furthering her education. In addition to her full-time job in St. Louis, she had also just gotten married, moved into a new home, and was coaching cheerleading. When she saw that McKendree not only had an online program but also a management program, she was ecstatic and applied. Now she is graduating with a Master’s Degree in Nursing Management.

While Megan chose McKendree Online for its flexibility, which fit perfectly into her busy life, she said that one of the biggest reasons for choosing McKendree was her husband. “My husband is an alum of McKendree, and he always spoke very highly of the school,” she said. “I saw that the university offered an online nursing management program, and it really sparked my interest. I love the atmosphere at McKendree, too. It is so inviting! I also really appreciate all of my professors I’ve had over the past several years. They want nothing but the best for their students!”

When it comes to feeling like a part of the online student body, Megan feels a close connection to her classmates, even though they do not physically see and interact with each other. “Some of our classmates are in many of our classes, and I get so excited if a physical class meeting is scheduled and we meet everyone,” she said. “There was a meeting that I attended, and two classmates whom I had many classes with were there as well. We were all so excited to finally meet; it’s like we were all best friends who hadn’t seen each other for a while!”

Although there are many facets that Megan enjoyed in regards to the online program, one of her favorite things about McKendree was the attention and support she received from her professors, particularly Dr. Rennegarbe. “She has been a huge part in my success from the beginning,” Megan said. “When I applied to the school, I had asked to start the program in January, as opposed to the typical fall schedule because I was getting married in October. Dr. Rennegarbe was so excited to hear about the wedding and subsequently allowed me to start the program in the spring semester. I did not have her for many classes in the beginning; however, once I delved into the management courses, she became one of my primary professors.”

Dr. Rennegarbe also enjoyed having Megan in her classes. “Megan has been a delight to have in the MSN Management/Administration track,” she said. “She is enthusiastic and professional. She will be an outstanding nurse leader, and she represents the future of our nursing profession.”

Megan is from Aviston, Illinois, and currently lives there with her husband, Brandon, their 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, and their mini-Dachshund, Mylie. Megan enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her family. She also wishes to give back to the university and other students after she finishes her online program, perhaps as a teacher!

We asked Megan her advice to someone who is thinking about enrolling in our online courses, and she said, “I highly encourage anyone thinking about getting their management degree to look at McKendree. I have had nothing but wonderful experiences; the professors are very attentive and offer their help whenever needed. They want their students to succeed in their classes. The classes are small, the one-on-one sessions with the professors are so beneficial, and the online classroom atmosphere is nothing but positive.”

Thinking about furthering your education but lead a busy life? Make sure to visit us online at to see how we can make a difference. In the meantime, be sure to take a moment this week to thank the nurses in your life for all that they do!

Have You Heard? We Are Now Offering a Master of Business Administration Degree With an HRM Concentration!


Are you interested in gaining an understanding of human resource management practices so you can help manage employees in your organization more effectively? Do you want to get an extra edge over the competition in the workforce? Are you aiming to complete one of the professional certification exams for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)? If so, McKendree University can help!

We are now offering our Master of Business Administration degree with a Human Resource Management (HRM) concentration, starting in Fall 2016! This program is perfect for those who manage business practices, business information, strategic plans, and relationships across an organization. It is also beneficial for those who communicate the objectives of initiatives and programs across their organizations and those who simply wish to bolster their resumes.

Our MBA concentration in HRM has a long and successful history on-campus for several years and was first developed as an evening program for adults living near our Radcliff, Kentucky campus. This online format will now open our program up to a larger student population, including employees needing advanced hours for professional development or promotion, recent college grads who want an advantage in the job market, and even experienced HRM professionals who are preparing for one of the professional certification exams. This program will sharpen students’ written and oral presentation skills, critical thinking, teamwork, and sound decision-making. It focuses on several topics including leading change management, diversity and the workforce, strategic communications, legal issues, and more.

Best of all, depending on the format and the number of courses you choose to take per term, this flexible program can be completed in as little as 12 months! “We know that our students lead busy lives. Most MBA students work full-time, and many have significant family and personal commitments,” said Dr. Roxanne Beard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management and Director of the MBA Program. “Our MBA is designed to be flexible. The MBA program is offered 100% online, or students may complete the program by taking only face-to-face classes. Many students actually create their own MBA experience by choosing a combination of face-to-face and online classes that best fits their schedule.”

Interested in this program? Call 1-800-BEARCAT, ext. 6576 or visit for more information!

Meet Dr. Beard, Director of the MBA Program!

Roxanne BeardThis month, we are proud to introduce Dr. Roxanne Beard, Director of the MBA Program and Associate Professor of Management! Dr. Beard has been with us since Dr. Frank Spreng retired last year and has been dedicated to helping our students in the MBA program reach their goals through her classes and the classes of her colleagues.

Dr. Beard grew up in a very small village in Ohio and said that she had a typical childhood. “I’m just a plain old farm kid who was active in Junior Fair Board and 4-H,” she mused. “My family raised world champion Belgium draft horses for several generations.” She eventually made her way to the St. Louis area after working with several faculty colleagues in the area in which she had done research and publishing.

“My colleagues’ opinions of McKendree were strongly positive,” Dr. Beard said. “It was during the application process that I began to truly appreciate what a wonderful place this is for students and faculty alike. The digital press, Facebook, Twitter, and other media accounts portrayed a thriving, supportive university. I was ‘all in’ for McKendree even before I arrived.”

Perhaps Dr. Beard’s favorite part about working at McKendree is working with our team of dedicated faculty and staff to help our students achieve their dreams. “It’s true that obtaining an MBA requires dedication and commitment, but in my experience, the personalized attention that McKendree students receive both inside and beyond the classroom is exceptional,” Dr. Beard said. “After graduation, our students often obtain significant promotions, experience accelerated career opportunities, enjoy wonderful networking opportunities with alumni and faculty, and possess the ability to solve some of today’s toughest business challenges. It’s a very gratifying job!”

Dr. Beard also wants those who haven’t yet experienced McKendree to know that students are our #1 focus here. “It’s a community of amazing people who are dedicated to one thing – helping each student achieve their full potential and realize their personal and professional dreams!” she said. “The student-centered approach here is a rare thing. Many schools only talk about being student-centered, but here at McKendree, student success is ‘job #1.’”

Curriculum-wise, Dr. Beard feels that McKendree’s MBA program is unique because it provides students with the tools and skills needed in today’s dynamic business environment. “The curriculum covers economics, accounting, financing, marketing, and management,” she noted. “Importantly, the program also develops the general skills most desired by employers – critical thinking, decision making, written and oral communication, and the ability to optimize interpersonal relationships. In addition, students in the MBA Human Resource Management concentration also cover workforce diversity, change management, employment regulations, and legal issues related to leading and managing human capital.”

When asked what her favorite subject to teach in her program was, Dr. Beard said hands-down that it is Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. “Some would argue that activities such as managing stock investments, minimizing tax liabilities, forecasting economic trends, or analyzing complex data are the most difficult parts of business. In fact, these are not easy, but I love Organizational Behavior because I believe that managing the organization’s human capital is the most challenging aspect,” she said. “For most businesses, their most valuable asset – their employees – walks out the door at 5 p.m. Keeping that workforce highly motivated and engaged on a day-to-day basis is crucial to organizational success.”

Dr. Beard is excited about the future of the MBA program here at McKendree. “Where many in the higher education industry see the current turbulent environment as challenging and restrictive, faculty in the School of Business here are future-focused problem-solvers. We are exploring several exciting opportunities to fit in our mission!” she said.

When Dr. Beard isn’t busy teaching and shaping the lives of our students, she can be found camping at the Marriott Spa, camping in a tent, and geocaching with her Border Collie, Jazz. She also loves discovering new mole recipes (mole is the signature sauce of Mexico) and experimenting with the ingredients, which make up the complex flavors.

What’s Dr. Beard currently reading? Currently, she is rereading one of the books that helped her assist her team of executives in leading a successful turnaround at a failing hospital during her career in healthcare. “The book by John Kotter is called Leading Change, and it is an Organizational Behavior classic,” Dr. Beard said. Other books that I’m reading right now include Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking With People Who Think Differently by Markova and McArthur and Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals by Alinsky. I am exploring the possibility of including material covering a personal code of ethics and the importance of ‘the try’ from the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leaderships in future courses.”

Be sure to read more about our amazing faculty and staff members and what they can do for you and your future by exploring our blog!

Interested In Criminal Justice? There’s a Master’s Degree for That at McKendree!

McKendree criminal justice program onlineWe have some exciting news for all Bearcats, alumni, and Bearcats-to-be out there who are interested in pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. McKendree University will be offering an online Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice this summer! You will also have the opportunity to take either online or on-campus courses for the Criminal Justice program starting in the fall semester this year.

When you enroll in our newest program, you can expect to become well-rounded in criminal justice and criminal theory, the nature of crime and crime patterns, the analysis of crime data, and ethical decision-making in the use of discretion and the design of policy. You will be required to take core classes, which consist of Advanced Studies in Criminal Justice, Criminology Theory, Research Methods and Concepts, and Statistical Analysis.

In addition to the above courses, you can choose classes from a large variety of electives within the program including the following courses:

*Issues in Policing

*Terrorism and Homeland Security

*Advanced Criminal Law

*Corrections and Correctional Practices

*Ethics, the Law, and Individual Rights

*Police Administration and Management

*History and Philosophy of Punishment

*Class, Race, and Gender in Criminal Justice


Taken full-time, you can complete the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program in just 2 years! If you’d rather take it part-time, you can complete the program in only 3 years.

Criminal justice is a booming field filled with countless job opportunities. If you’re already working in the field, you will have several opportunities for advancement with a master’s degree. You can obtain your degree here, all while balancing the demands of work and your family and society obligations!

“The issues of crime and justice are enduring, but the context in which we must address them are ever-changing,” said Jennifer Webster, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Master of Arts in the Criminal Justice Program. “The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at McKendree seeks to develop leaders in the field of criminal justice who are critical thinkers and ethical decision-makers with the knowledge and the adaptability to face the challenges of the modern world.”

If you’ve ever wanted to further your education in criminal justice or pursue criminal justice at a doctoral level, then be sure to sign up for classes in the summer now! You can learn more by visiting

Introducing Our Graduate Admissions Counselor, Karen Reyes!

Karen ReyesOur latest spotlight feature this month showcases Karen Reyes, our Graduate Admissions Counselor here at McKendree University! She has been working hard every day, counseling and recruiting students for our graduate school since October 2015.

Karen grew up in Belleville and became acquainted with the McKendree family at an early age when she had taken piano lessons from a McKendree University professor as a child. She found herself returning to McKendree in the hopes of helping students return to school and achieve their dreams.

“I felt I could make a difference at McKendree University, but I found I would also benefit just as much from working with these individuals,” said Karen.

Karen chose McKendree in part because of the caring nature of the faculty and staff. “They have a true sense of community,” she said. “Each person seems genuinely concerned about each other, and they ultimately want to work to help the students succeed.”

Karen believes that no one class is unique in our online program. Rather, she feels that all of the classes come together to create a unique experience for each student. “What is unique is the fact that a student can complete an entire program online and all of the courses maintain interest and relevance,” she added.

When Karen isn’t helping students fulfill their new goals and life directions, she can be found doing activities with her children and enjoying the outdoors when the weather is warm. She is currently reading I Am Malala, a national bestselling memoir about the girl who recently stood up for education, was shot by the Taliban, and lived.

Read more about our dedicated faculty and staff members by exploring our blog! Be on the lookout for more spotlights and exciting news about McKendree soon.