The Hub Major Kim Jones: Balancing education, work, and life with AU
Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

Major Kim Jones: Balancing education, work, and life with AU

By: Kim Jones

I first became a student at Athabasca University in 2008 when I began a Master of Arts – Integrated Studies (MA-IS) specializing in Adult Education.

I enjoyed the experience and decided to continue on to complete a Master of Education (MEd) in Distance Education in 2013. I began the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education program in 2014 and am currently a doctoral candidate.

Major Kim Jones, an Athabasca University alumna and current Doctor of Education candidate, credits AU's flexibility with helping her to achieve her educational goals while managing life's other commitments.
Major Kim Jones, an Athabasca University alumna and current Doctor of Education candidate, credits AU's flexibility with helping her to achieve her educational goals while managing life's other commitments.

After graduating from my bachelor of arts degree majoring in psychology at Concordia University in Montreal in 1999, I spent a couple years teaching at the college level. After being introduced to military life by my husband, who is also a military officer, I decided that I would take the leap and join as well. I began my military career in 2005 as a Resource Management Support Clerk and, soon after that, I started the MA-IS. On completion of this degree, I applied to commission as an officer and was accepted to the Special Commissioning Plan in 2008 to become a Training Development Officer.

I chose to study at AU because I really enjoy the distance-learning experience. I find it convenient and easy to fit into my work and family schedule. From the start, I liked the idea that if my family was posted to another city while studying by distance, this would not impede my progress. I also enjoy the fact that with distance learning, I can work at my own pace and take time to contemplate topics and respond to discussions in a more thoughtful, deliberate manner than I could in a traditional classroom setting.

In 2010, I became a proud mom to a beautiful and bright little girl named Eva. I can still remember participating in an online synchronous discussion with my partners in a collaborative groupwork assignment, all the while holding my baby in my arms. The convenience and flexibility of online learning allowed me to participate fully in enriching academic experiences during times when attending a traditional classroom may have been difficult.

“The flexibility of the programs is especially appealing for those, like myself, who wish to continue their academic journeys and advance their careers and at the same time effectively balance their work obligations and family life. ”

– Major Kim Jones, EdD candidate

Planting the seed

Prior to studying at AU and joining the military, I taught several semesters at both George Brown College in Toronto and Lasalle College in Montreal. This was when I realized how much I enjoyed the classroom and facilitating learning with adult students. The discussions were always rich and I enjoyed interacting with and learning from the diverse classroom population.

This planted a seed that led me to continuing my academic journey in the field of education.  The MA-IS program specializing in Adult Education allowed me to explore various interesting topics, such as learning disabilities and Canadian and international labour education. I went on to complete the MEd and was pleased to have benefitted from the Prior Learning Assessment program, which granted me two course equivalencies for my military Training Development Officer qualification course. After completing that program, I saw the EdD program as my own personal challenge—my own Mount Everest. I continue to climb that mountain a step at a time and will surely enjoy the view from the peak when the time comes.

My studies have enabled me to advance my career, to grow the theoretical base to support practical applications, and to interact, via online forums, with a wide variety of engaging learners from different locations and backgrounds. The class forums have offered insightful discussions and expanded my understanding in so many areas.

I believe that my education and commitment to lifelong learning have increased the value that I bring to my workplace. I wish to use the knowledge that I have gained to encourage and enable continuous improvement of the military training system.

Moving forward, I envision myself continuing to contribute to defence training as a Training Development Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. I love my job and there are always new challenges and exciting opportunities.

I would definitely recommend a graduate program at AU. The flexibility of the programs is especially appealing for those, like myself, who wish to continue their academic journeys and advance their careers and at the same time effectively balance their work obligations and family life. While it hasn’t always been easy, pursuing AU graduate studies has been incredibly enriching and it has expanded my knowledge, abilities and confidence in my area of expertise.

Major Kim Jones is a Training Development Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and is currently the Training Team Lead with the Department of National Defence’s Assistant Deputy Minister (Data, Innovation, Analytics) in the National Capital Region.  She has completed a Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Education in Distance Education from Athabasca University. She is now a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Education in Distance Education program, working on a dissertation titled, “Satisfaction of Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force Members with their Distance Learning Experiences.” She was the winner of the AU Three-Minute Thesis competition in 2018. Originally from Saint John, N.B, she presently lives in Gatineau, Que., with her husband Carl and daughter Eva.

Published:
  • November 17, 2019
Guest Blog from:
Kim Jones