Andria Carpenter Says Tri-County Degree Opened Doors
CONTACT: LISA GARRETT, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7/15/2020
(By Lisa Garrett)
ANDERSON --- As an alumna and longtime staff member at Anderson University (AU), Andria Carpenter is a diehard Trojan, both professionally and personally.
She has a bachelor’s degree from her alma mater and has worked there for 14 years in several capacities -- currently as director of professional and lifelong learning in the Anderson University Center for Innovation and Digital Learning (CIDL) where on a typical day, she engages in the development of curriculum and course delivery in both formal and informal learning communities.
With the onset of COVID-19 this spring, the CIDL staff moved quickly to implement new and effective learning models through technology training and faculty support. “We have worked with our colleagues to develop and move curricula from seated classes to online delivery throughout the summer. CIDL is an awesome team of educators who provide instructional design, cutting edge pedagogy, and technology training that is utilized by faculty and recognized by colleagues throughout the higher education community,” she said.
Other facets of her job include developing on-demand courses for organizations who want to offer professional development opportunities leading to professional development hours, CEUs and industry-recognized certifications for their associates.
“We endeavor to build relationships between formal and informal learning communities and to remove barriers for those who wish to participate in our non-academic courses, special interest trips, and campus and community learning events, all the while expanding the great reputation of Anderson University,” she said.
Carpenter says a bachelor’s degree from AU and a master’s degree from Kansas State University have advanced her career and enhanced her life, but her first college degree from Tri-County Technical College is the most important one because of the new pathway it opened up for her.
She and her husband, Bill, an engineer, moved to Anderson from Indiana in 1988. College was always a goal for Carpenter; the desire was there, but the timing was always off. Not long after they relocated to Anderson, the couple agreed the time was right for her to go back to school. She was accepted into Clemson University. “But I attended orientation and realized all my priorities had changed. We had a baby and block education was not going to work with my new family. My dream was dashed,” she remembers.
Until she discovered Tri-County, where evening classes were offered for working adults and stay-at-home mothers like herself, who were ready to resume their education. She was able to take a few classes and in 1995 while on vacation with her husband and three daughters, she said, “I have a burning desire to go to school full time.”
She looked at the Tri-County catalog and saw the office systems technology degree. “It was interesting and the classes taught you how to apply what you learned. And you were ready to step into the job market when you graduated,” she said.
“Tri-County was the best choice for me. It was wonderful. I could take the kids with me and leave them at the day care center while I took classes. (Back then Tri-County operated an on-campus center.) This worked for us.”
She was in her mid-30s when she stepped into the classroom where most of her classmates were younger than she. During this time she says she made several discoveries that affected her future. “An instructor pulled me aside and said, ‘you are a great presenter and a lot of it has to do with your life experience. The girls love to listen to you. You are who they will be 10 years from now. You truly are a teacher.’ When that instructor approached me and said those words, she instilled in me a level of confidence you can’t buy,” said Carpenter.
“It was so affirming. She saw in me what I thought was there. But I wasn’t sure. As a first-generation graduate, this was not the kind of motivational conversation to which I was accustomed.”
A year later, she graduated from Tri-County, with her husband and the kids, ages 4, 6 and 8, in attendance and equally as proud as she was.
She started her career as a systems analyst at Ogletree Law Firm
where for two years she continued to develop her office and technology skills. In 1999 she went to work at AU where she was systems database administrator in information technology from 1999 –2007.
In 2003 she received her bachelor’s degree in human services and resources through AU’s ACCEL adult education program by working during the day and taking classes in the evening.
In 2007 she accepted a position as registrar at Erskine Theological Seminary.
After five years, she went to Southern Wesleyan University where she was
learning management systems administrator in the Center for Teaching Excellence from 2012 –2015.
In August of 2015 she returned to AU as coordinator of assessment and user experience for the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning until July 2018 when she was promoted to her current position.
“I came back because I love AU and because it’s located in my community; it’s where I live. I’ve always been very involved with AU, as an alumna, a parent and a friend,” she said.
In May of 2017 she graduated with honors with an M.S. degree in adult, occupational, and continuing education from Kansas State University
Looking back she says her Tri-County degree opened doors of opportunity for her and her family. “Big changes happened after I received my two-year degree,” she said. “The benefits are exponential. I never would have been considered for my first job without my two-year degree and my job at AU allowed me to pursue a bachelor’s degree through the tuition reimbursement program. Because of that, and because our daughters received both academic and sports scholarships, we were able to provide them with an education we might not have been able to, otherwise. We have financed four degrees in a way that we would never have dreamed possible,” she added.
“My Tri-County degree has continued to serve me well. The things I learned 20 years ago I still use today,” she said.
Her love of lifelong learning that was ignited at Tri-County was passed down to her daughters, all of whom have master’s degrees and the oldest is pursuing a Ph. D. Carpenter will join her daughter in the pursuit of a terminal degree next January when she begins the Ph. D adult learning and leadership program through Kansas State University.
About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study,