Brown Inspired by Diverse Perspectives
Though she may be a new instructor in the College of Business, Dr. Marcia Brown is no stranger to Bellevue University.
“As an alumna of Bellevue University, I'm grateful for the opportunity to now teach at Bellevue University and establish trusting and empowering relationships with students, encouraging life-long learning,” she said.
Part of her full-circle journey involves working with diverse student populations and in her educational leadership, organizational leadership and psychology courses.
“Having the opportunity to work with so many students from different backgrounds, enables us all to learn more from each other,” she said. “When there is collaboration among and between faculty and students, the learning environment is increasingly rich and dynamic.”
Appreciating the Journey of Lifelong Learners
Brown also taps into the richness of her own life and background in teaching her students.
She said, “My maternal grandfather and grandmother were impoverished immigrant workers from Mexico, and my mother was born into this life in 1946, completely unaware of the challenges that lay ahead of her. Until many years ago, I, too, was unmindful to the adversity my mom experienced. She rarely spoke of her hardships, but rather focused on the endless possibilities of success despite circumstance.”
As Brown began to learn more about her mother’s educational journey. She found out that it took her mother five years to complete her associate’s degree. Most notable is not only the degree but the amount of determination and dedication with which she earned it.
“Perseverance and the will to succeed both personally and professionally defined my mom's character,” Brown said.
“When teaching, I often think of my mom and appreciate the increased confidence and personal achievement she finds within herself as a lifelong learner. I’m thankful and grateful to those who inspired my beautiful mom, and my hope is to continue to inspire others to achieve their educational goals, as well.”
Researching Ways to Help Active Duty Service Members
Research also has proven an important part of Brown’s higher education journey.
“Two of my favorite areas of research are military and leadership, as well as sports leadership.” she said. “I had the honor and privilege to complete my dissertation on active duty military service members enrolled in higher education while deployed.”
Her interest in this topic tracks back, again, to her personal experience. “My husband retired from the United States Air Force after serving on active duty for 24 years,” she said. “I had the opportunity to learn about the challenges active-duty service members faced when pursuing higher education while deployed.”
Using the insights gained through her research, Brown’s said she looks forward to helping Bellevue University – where military students and family members make up more than 20% of the student body – as well as other colleges and universities better serve those who serve.
From Mental Health to Higher Education
Brown’s journey back to Bellevue began when she obtained a bachelor's degree in psychology from the university in 1997.
She continued on, earning a master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a doctorate degree in educational studies from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
She spent her early professional years gaining clinical experience in mental health. In 2005, she had the opportunity to teach at the post-secondary higher education level, and excitedly, took on the new challenge.
“Applying my knowledge and experiences from within the mental health field to teaching has provided many meaningful learning opportunities,” she said.
Fifteen years into teaching, Brown is still taking on new challenges in higher education, including starting her new role at Bellevue University.