Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Lifelong Learning image

by Dr. Hank Kelly, OCU Provost

As the soil of the Earth needs to be fed to blossom, our brains are the absorbent sponge waiting to be fed with new ideas and concepts. Water it daily to stimulate growth, and you will yield a bountiful harvest of information and knowledge. –Matt Mayberry

An education is important and prepares you to succeed in life, but if you do not continue to learn, increasing in knowledge and skills, you will eventually stagnate.  All too often promising leaders plateau early in their careers—because they stopped learning.  Even if you never change jobs again, your job will continue to change.  As a result, your strengths and weaknesses, relative to the needs of your job, are changing.  Those who do not continuously learn will be left behind by those who are learning.  As Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Lifelong learners acquire information that enables them to do things that they couldn’t do previously. Additionally, they are more motivated for everyday activities, develop mental and thinking skills, add fun to their lives, and make new friends.  Finally, the professional benefits to lifelong learners include having more options for further employment, being in a better position than their competitors, and becoming better employees.

Lifelong learning is so important at OCU that one of the University’s Objectives is to “Demonstrate academic scholarship that creates a foundation for lifelong intellectual and professional development.”  OCU is producing self-directed, lifelong learners.  How is this achieved?  Most importantly, our faculty model lifelong learning.

Other ways this is achieved are many:

  • Students apply what they learn, not just acquire information.
  • Students engage in discussions to create curiosity.
  • Students are introduced to their chosen profession and what is required to succeed.
  • Faculty help students find their passions.
  • Students are assigned real-world case studies and try to solve real-world problems.
  • Students learn it is OK to try and fail, encouraging a "growth mindset," as advocated by Carol Dweck.
  • Students broaden their horizons by exposure to people and situations outside their "comfort zone."
  • Students discuss current events.
  • They perform research and discern good from bad information.
  • They learn to read and write critically.

Here are some ways to become accomplished at lifelong learning:

  • Read a variety of books, fiction and non-fiction, on a broad range of topics. As Charles Scribner, Jr. said: “Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.”  Personally, I highlight important points in books I read. Then I type up the words highlighted so that I can study them—not just read them.
  • Watch TED talks, webinars, and other videos.  Listen to podcasts or political debates on talk radio.  Read blogs.  Take a MOOC (massive open online course).  Watch movies.  All of these activities help you see the world from different perspectives.
  • Attend conferences/seminars/workshops.
  • Ask questions of skilled people. As Charles Lamb said: “We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves. We encourage one another in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.” Questions to ask during a learning session, according to John Maxwell:
    • What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
    • What are you learning now?
    • What have you read that I should read?
  • Seek out a coach or mentor.
  • Seek feedback from your supervisor, subordinates, and peers.
  • Coach others.
  • Take on more responsibility in your job, church, or other organization in which you are involved.
  • Take up a hobby.
  • When you encounter new information, think about what you believe and why. Question and research the information.
  • Finally, ask yourself the question: What did I learn?  According to John Maxwell, “Experience isn’t the best teacher—evaluated experience is.” Always have a journal with you and write down each meeting you have with peers and business associates. Keep track of what you discussed so you can look back at what you learned and what transpired.  Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.

Do you want to be more successful and have more fun in life?  Being a lifelong learner will help you do both. I encourage you to incorporate some of these suggested methods of learning.  Find out what works for you.  My last advice is:  Step out of your "comfort zone."

Articles of Interest

2019 Georgia Commencement image

2019 Georgia Commencement

2019 Georgia Commencement image

Published: April 11, 2019

On Saturday, April 6th, Ohio Christian University held its fourth commencement ceremony in Jonesboro, Georgia at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center. This is the first year at this location. OCU President, Dr. Jon Kulaga welcomed the record crowd of nearly 1,300 students, family and honored guests declaring, “We are living in a time where Christians have never been more needed-to be out there in society being salt and light.” He further challenged them stating that “your community needs you, your city needs you and your country needs you”.    Terence Chatmon was the commencement
On Saturday, April 6th, Ohio Christian University held its fourth commencement ceremony in Jonesboro, Georgia at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center. This is the first year at this location. OCU President, Dr. Jon Kulaga welcomed the record crowd of nearly 1,300 students, family and honored guests declaring, “We are living in a time where Christians have never been more needed-to be
On Saturday, April 6th, Ohio Christian University held its fourth commencement ceremony in Jonesboro, Georgia at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center. This is the first year at this location
Faith and Work Seminar a First on Campus image

Faith and Work Seminar a First on Campus

Faith and Work Seminar a First on Campus image

Published: April 10, 2019

On Saturday March 23rd, Ohio Christian University hosted the Faith
On Saturday March 23rd, Ohio Christian University hosted the Faith
On Saturday March 23rd, Ohio Christian University hosted the Faith

Archived Articles of Interest

Academic Presentation: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Headache Pain image

Academic Presentation: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Headache Pain

Academic Presentation: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Chronic Headache Pain image

Published: March 1, 2013

On February 20, OCU Assistant Professor of Psychology Matthew Decker provided an academic presentation on “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Chronic Headache Pain.” The presentation was attended by OCU faculty, students and members of the community. The ACT treatment involves being in the moment and making sure your actions match your values.“For me, ACT and other ‘third wave’ treatments are improvements on the older treatments, but many of them are still being validated for various problems and disorders,” Decker said.Professor Decker led a study in which participants who
On February 20, OCU Assistant Professor of Psychology Matthew Decker provided an academic presentation on “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Chronic Headache Pain.” The presentation was attended by OCU faculty, students and members of the community. The ACT treatment involves being in the moment and making sure your actions match your values.“For me, ACT and other ‘third wave’
On February 20, OCU Assistant Professor of Psychology Matthew Decker provided an academic presentation on “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Chronic Headache Pain.” The presentation was
OCU Faculty Provide Monthly Academic Presentations image

OCU Faculty Provide Monthly Academic Presentations

OCU Faculty Provide Monthly Academic Presentations image

Published: December 3, 2012

Ohio Christian University faculty have begun monthly presentations to enhance the academic quality and engagement of faculty, students, and community members. These events are also being made available live through video conferencing so that faculty and students in online programs are able to participate.On December 5th, Prof. Thad Hicks will present on the topic of Managing Compassion Fatigue. Prof. Hicks serves as Assistant Professor of Disaster Management and is working on a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies. Compassion Fatigue, or secondary traumatic stress disorder, is a condition
Ohio Christian University faculty have begun monthly presentations to enhance the academic quality and engagement of faculty, students, and community members. These events are also being made available live through video conferencing so that faculty and students in online programs are able to participate.On December 5th, Prof. Thad Hicks will present on the topic of Managing Compassion
Ohio Christian University faculty have begun monthly presentations to enhance the academic quality and engagement of faculty, students, and community members. These events are also being made
Ohio Christian University to Celebrate a Record Number of Graduates on May 5, 2012 image

Ohio Christian University to Celebrate a Record Number of Graduates on May 5, 2012

Ohio Christian University to Celebrate a Record Number of Graduates on May 5, 2012 image

Published: April 30, 2012

President Mark A. Smith will preside over the largest graduation ceremony in the history of Ohio Christian University this coming Saturday, May 5, 2012, with 386 graduates.This year's graduation includes the conference of 141 associate's degrees and 235 bachelor's degrees. OCU also celebrates its first conference of master's degrees with 10 students earning the Master of Arts in Ministry.Graduation practice (required for all graduating students) begins a 1 p.m. on Friday, May 4. The graduation ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5 in the OCU Maxwell Center. 
President Mark A. Smith will preside over the largest graduation ceremony in the history of Ohio Christian University this coming Saturday, May 5, 2012, with 386 graduates.This year's graduation includes the conference of 141 associate's degrees and 235 bachelor's degrees. OCU also celebrates its first conference of master's degrees with 10 students earning the Master of Arts in Ministry.
President Mark A. Smith will preside over the largest graduation ceremony in the history of Ohio Christian University this coming Saturday, May 5, 2012, with 386 graduates.This year's graduation
Dr. Jim Smith

OCU Professor is Published

Dr. Jim Smith

Published: November 30, 2010

Ohio Christian University Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling Dr. Jim Smith contributed two chapters for the recently published collaborative work Nelson's Church Leader's Manual for Congregational Care, available from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The two chapters are on lay ministry care for those with substance abuse issues and mental disorders.  Smith is well qualified to write on these topics as he holds three graduate degrees and is a licensed counselor as well as an ordained minister.  Smith states, "The connection to be part of this collaboration was brought about by God." OCU
Ohio Christian University Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling Dr. Jim Smith contributed two chapters for the recently published collaborative work Nelson's Church Leader's Manual for Congregational Care, available from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The two chapters are on lay ministry care for those with substance abuse issues and mental disorders.  Smith is well qualified to write on these
Ohio Christian University Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling Dr. Jim Smith contributed two chapters for the recently published collaborative work Nelson's Church Leader's Manual for