In May 2023, I graduated from Boise State University’s Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) program, earning a master’s degree. Prior to joining OPWL, I had spent 10 years working as an instructional designer. Over the course of my career, I became more interested in what the organizations I worked for were trying to achieve with all the training we were creating. Simply seeing the high cost involved in developing training was enough to give me pause. In short, I wanted to better understand the numerous factors at play beyond training that influence workplace performance. While I did pretty well figuring some things out on my own, I eventually concluded that a formal course of study would be a better way to satisfy my curiosity.
As a working professional, Boise State’s OPWL program interested me with it being offered 100% online. Beyond that, what most drew me to OPWL was its intentional focus on workplace performance. Whereas other graduate programs included some aspects, OPWL’s core curriculum covered the various components of workplace performance in more depth and coupled this study with hands-on, project-based learning. This approach was very appealing because I wanted to have a solid foundation of both theory and practice over the course of my graduate study. Beyond the core curriculum, I noticed OPWL electives were aligned with what I was seeing in industry, or the “real world.”
Now, it’s one thing to have a great curriculum, but I also wanted to be sure I would receive top-notch service and support over the course of my graduate study. After being satisfied with what I saw on the OPWL website, I reached out to express interest. The reception was absolutely wonderful, being a perfect combination of professionalism and warmth. Upon acceptance into and throughout my program, OPWL faculty and staff continued to engage with me in the same manner.
While I was sure of my decision to attend OPWL, I admittedly underestimated how much I would learn. I originally intended to continue on as a full-time instructional designer upon graduation. However, towards the end of the program I pivoted to independent consulting, this time focused on workplace performance. I came to this decision while reflecting on my graduate school experience in preparation for my OPWL portfolio. I was pleasantly surprised at the sheer depth and breadth of knowledge and experience I had amassed in such a short amount of time. I’ve successfully made the pivot to independent consulting and am not looking back!
It’s taken me a while to write this testimonial because I simply wasn’t sure where to begin. And as I wrap this up I’m not quite sure perhaps even where to end. For the sake of brevity, I’ll leave you with this: if you’re looking for a graduate program that can meet you where you are and take you where you need to be, I strongly recommend OPWL as the way to get there.
OPWL Honors: Spring 2023
OPWL Community Builder Award: For building community in the classroom by raising the learning efforts of everyone consistently throughout their studies.
OPWL Professional Community Contribution: For the following conference presentations with a proceeding and grant project report:
- “Lifting an LI, FG, and/or URM, support program off the ground during COVID-19”
- “Supporting faculty who serve LI, FB, and/or URM, during COVID-19”
- “SEnS-GPS Year 1 internal evaluation report”
Publications and Presentations
Bayas, L. K., Giacumo, L. A., Early, C., Peterson, K. R., Farid, A., McLaughlin, B., … & Vacha-Haase, T. (2021). Lifting an LI, FG, and/or UR Support Program Off the Ground during COVID-19: Successes and Lessons Learned.
“Examining Performance Consulting in Emerging Economies: Where have we been, and where are we going?” 2023 Performance Improvement Conference. International Society for Performance Improvement. April 23 – 27, 2023.