August 2023

Online grad shaping curriculum in districts

Looking back on her graduate studies and her current impact, Dr. Deborah I. Hare-Workman can’t help but think of the biblical prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4, where he asks God to increase his territory. Similarly, Deborah feels she is an example of that, benefiting first from Wayland’s influence on her life and now able to impact far larger numbers.

Deborah earned the Master of Arts in Humanities degree in 2018 through Wayland’s online campus.Deborah Hare-Workman But before that, she was already well into a career in education, stemming from a childhood as an avid reader and desire to become a teacher. After serving as a school librarian, she moved into teaching children with special needs in the classroom.

“I especially enjoyed when my students with autism began to communicate, especially when they did so vocally,” she said. “My next challenge was working with students in special education whose native language was not English and developing their communication skills.”

Today, Deborah teaches primarily K-12 multilingual students in English Language Development (ELD) for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit in New Oxford, Pa. She enjoys both relating with her students and discovering how authors manipulate language in various contexts to establish meaning.

“I love annotating texts and finding the way that morphemes, words, phrases, and sentences connect and form a whole text,” she said, noting that Wayland’s Structures of Language course was instrumental in helping her understand how language works. “When my students make their own language discoveries, it is evidence they are successfully interpreting texts.”

A pair of Pioneers

A resident of Pennsylvania, Deborah was not familiar with Wayland until her son, JP N. Ivey, enrolled to earn his bachelor’s degree at the San Antonio campus while serving in the Air Force. The graduate degree in humanities fit her interests and background, and enrolling at the same time was a bonding experience.

“Taking classes at Wayland was one thing we could do together at a distance. So, my studies at Wayland were a family thing,” she said. “I even ordered a couple of the textbooks from his classes so I could follow along, and we read each other’s papers.”

Hare field trip
Dr. Hare-Workman and students on tour.

Deborah said she particularly enjoyed the Bible and literature classes, and she called the degree both a pastime and a professional pursuit.

“The courses certainly lived up to my expectations with expert instructors like Dr. Jeff Anderson, Dr. Laura Brandenburg, Dr. Karen Beth Strovas, and others who challenged me, allowed academic choices, and patiently led me through my studies when I had questions,” she said.

She segued easily into a doctoral degree in English Pedagogy at Murray State University, learning about functional linguistics as purposeful communication beyond grammar, and she found the implications in distinguishing the content of ELD from English and Language Arts fascinating. Naturally, this led to a fascination in curriculum for ELD, and she was also needing a practical project for her doctoral degree under Murray's Dr. Kristie Ennis.

Shaping future learning

Deborah said she learned that the Lincoln Intermediate Unit where she serves as ELD Specialist was planning to write a curriculum, and she petitioned her supervisor, Ms. Kate Fritz, to be involved with that. In return, she was invited to lead the project and has been involved for the last year in the work. The curriculum will be implemented in the new 2023-24 school year, and she hopes it will be embraced as both valuable and usable.

“The ELD curriculum establishes that multilingual learners will be instructed in English development by deconstructing language by its many features such as noun/verb groups, referents, connectors,

Hare with welcome
Welcoming students to class!

idioms, and evaluative words that accomplish language functions such as narrate, inform, or argue,” she explained. “In this way, learners of English can interpret and then construct their own language for their own communicative purposes.”

At present, Deborah is hopeful that an article she penned about the experience – titled “Journeying Through ELD Curriculum Writing” – will be chosen for publication in the TESOL Journal.

All of this, she says, can be traced to her growth in content knowledge of the English language and literature while studying at Wayland. She also believes her knowledge in the Word of God grew during that time.

“My time at Wayland was a time of growth and exploration that has greatly enriched my life and, I feel, the lives of my students and my colleagues who I am delighted to serve,” said Deborah.


Devotional: The power of patience 

Do you consider yourself to be patient? Our daily lives require us to exercise patience, whether the issues we face are small or big. Receiving a bad grade, dealing with a difficult

co-worker, experiencing conflict with a friend or getting sick are all situations that require us to be patient, and it is often easier said than done.

Unfortunately, we cannot control every aspect of our lives. The way others treat us and the situations we find ourselves in are sometimes simply beyond our control, and we have to find ways to cope with them.

So, how can we be patient in seemingly impossible circumstances?

Woman practicing patience

Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” In life, we will face trials. However, as believers, we can find hope in knowing that we have a loving God who is in control of our lives. When we put our trust in His perfect plan rather than our own, we do not need to feel anxious, worried or impatient.

In addition, we do not have to struggle to find patience within ourselves. In fact, when we call upon God, He can give us the strength to be patient. While we may not understand the waiting period we are in, we can rest in the fact that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Rather than trying to make things happen, we can let go of the reigns and give Him the power in our lives.

If you are in the midst of a season of waiting, remember that God’s plan is greater than anything we could imagine. As His children, He does not withhold good things from us. When we give our lives to Him and are faithful in prayer, He will work through us in incredible ways.


In the mix

As a graduate, you automatically become a part of the alumni association for your university. An alumni association brings former students together to maintain a connection with their university and fellow graduates.

Being a part of an association can open many doors for you and allow you to reap a lot of different benefits. Not only does it give the opportunity to stay engaged, but it also allows you to help new and potential students. 

There are ways to stay engaged with the university through communications, social media, virtual and in-person networking and professional development opportunities. Alumni also serve as great volunteers within the WBU community, from speaking in classes to mentoring students to helping build service projects that benefit their community. A support network can be challenging to come by, but an alumni network can give you a sense of belonging. The people you meet, the relationships you build and knowledge you learn from an alumni network is an incredibly useful tool for expanding your horizons.

Knowing that there are so many others who have shared in similar experiences is important. It enables you to have an instant connection with others in your field who have gone through the same schooling as you have.

WBU at the Ballpark-San Antonio Missions Game

Graduating and receiving your diploma with that great sense of pride does not mean your time with the university has to be over. Getting involved in your alumni association can provide connections, career services, an alumni network, a wealth of knowledge and the opportunity to help the students who come after you.

Being an alumnus and receiving all the perks that come along with it is a two-way street. Alumni participation is critical to building and maintaining a strong community within the university.

Lastly, a good alum and mentor to others starts with being sure you are focused on the needs of others in matching your time and expectations for involvement," Durette said. "Being willing to share the lessons learned on your journey, strategies for meeting challenges, finding opportunities for growth and connection are a few good ways. It all starts with asking, ‘How can I help?’”