SJU Online Degree Proves Its Value by “Opening Doors”
Sharell Walker ’11C, ’13MLIS decided to pursue a master’s degree in Library and Information Science through one of the University’s nationally ranked online learning programs because it offered a unique gateway to a career she loves.
“Without the professors, course offerings, and framework of the online degree that St. John’s offers, I wouldn’t have achieved the success I enjoy today,” said Walker, who is a librarian at the Lander College for Women, a division of Touro College in New York City.
The online degree, Walker explained, afforded the flexibility to accommodate her work schedule while providing opportunities not always available in traditional classrooms. “When professors had us engage one another in discussions,” she said, “we had ample time to formulate a more complete answer. The responses were much more thoughtful. For me, the online degree was better than a lecture-style class.”
“Instructors could always count on Sharell to do her best, whether in designing websites, solving database problems, or presenting her research,” said James Vorbach, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director, Library and Information Science. “She often asked questions that stimulated productive class discussions. Her work on collaborative and individual assignments was of the highest quality.”
As both an undergraduate and graduate student at St. John’s, Walker benefited from her professors’ mentoring. “There were so many who were near and dear to my heart,” she said. For example, Vorbach encouraged her to “take as many technology courses as I could handle. His advice placed me on a solid career track very early on.”
Today, Walker teaches Introduction to Information Literacy Orientations at Touro. She also serves as a daily contact for students striving to master everything from getting the most out of a library to crafting a proper bibliography. She also guides students through the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. “It’s not that I think students rely on the Internet too much,” she said, “but I don’t think they understand that a Google search won’t generate the most scholarly results.”
Walker still feels a strong connection to St. John’s. “Before I started at SJU, my personal faith was not very strong. Only after taking required theology courses did I change the way I felt about service. I’m much more in tune with the needs of others which informs my everyday life and career.”