Latoya Groves served as the Banner Carrier for the Winter 2014 convocation ceremony in December. Latoya was selected for her outstanding academic achievements and exemplary commitment to her education.
Was there a specific event or person that made you decide to apply for admission to CLS?
Yes. I first heard about the Administrative Leadership program through a co-worker who had just applied for it. I was excited to hear about a program that caters to working professionals such as myself. I had also connected with a few people from the College of Liberal Studies through my Co-active Coaching cohort and they told me more about the program. Between the two, I determined that it was a good fit for my interests and available time.
Is there anyone you would like to thank, or who was instrumental in your success?
I would like to first thank my husband, Josh, who was a tremendous support system throughout my journey of studying, working full time and running a part-time business. I also want to thank all the connections I’ve made at OU during my time here, both colleagues and professors.
What surprised you most about your time with CLS?
The amount of reading for each class surprised me! I definitely had to make my reading a priority in my life. While the programs have some flexibility for working professionals, the reading load is still very demanding.
What did you find most interesting during your studies?
The thing I found most interesting was exploring how different motivational theories can be applied to cross-cultural and multigenerational workplaces. I found it very interesting how many leadership theories are based on Western practices and that in multicultural situations one must be careful to be aware of how they are communicating and motivating.
Did you have a favorite instructor?
They were all instrumental to my success in the program and I’m grateful for all of their dedication to the program and the students. Their passion was very clear for the material they taught.
How has what you’ve learned benefitted you so far?
I think the Administrative Leadership program has helped me identify different solutions for working with people and motivating them. I have become more aware of the challenges and sensitivities of varying situations and am a better person for it. It’s been a lot of fun!
How do you see finishing your degree benefitting you in the near future?
I think the major benefit of finishing my degree will be twofold: First, I have learned how to be a critical thinker and have new understandings of different motivational theories under my belt, which helps me better manage myself and others; second, having an advanced degree increases my perceived credibility as an employee at the University of Oklahoma.
If you could offer some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Test theory in real-world situations. Do not just do the homework and move on. Think about what you are learning and see if you can find practical application or understanding in your everyday life. This will improve retention, understanding and enjoyment of the learning process.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
As a first generation college graduate, I consider my greatest achievement the completion of my master’s degree. As a lifelong learner, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for me!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I aspire to be still working in a university setting, advocating for the student in whatever way I can. I’m not sure what that will look like, yet. One thing I do know is higher education is where my heart is.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.