Megan Winn (née Miller) currently acts as Student Service Operations Administrator for ACU Online, a new position that was created in August 2017. She first joined the University in May 2015 as a Student Service Advisor, within months of graduating from ACU Online with a Master of Education in Higher Education with a Student Services concentration.
Joining ACU so soon after graduation “honestly feels like it happened overnight,” Megan remembers. “I, like most students who graduate a program, ask ‘What’s next?’ At the master’s level, it’s a little more challenging.” Megan had been working for a nonprofit drug and alcohol abuse prevention program and was a bit concerned that she didn’t have higher education work experience on her resume.
But she aced her interview and was hired immediately as ACU Online’s Student Service Advisor based in Dallas. “I was the only online advisor that actually worked with students from their second course through graduation. They had an admission advisor who got them into the program. And then I took them from there,” Megan explains. This was an exciting new chapter for both Megan and ACU. The school was in the process of transitioning the administration of online programs from a third-party to in-house oversight.
The perfect ambassador for ACU Online, Megan draws from her own very successful graduate student experience. Having enjoyed the intimacy of the “smaller, more connected university” herself, she now delights in her own ability “to make our students feel how special, and important, and unique they are versus being a number in a classroom.”
Choosing ACU Online for Her M.Ed. Degree
Megan Winn hails from the Plano Frisco area of Texas and earned her bachelor’s at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. She studied secondary education, believing teaching was her calling. Although Megan loved working with students, “I realized it wasn’t the right age group of students.” She transitioned into higher education coursework with an emphasis on secondary communication and debate.
When it came time to choose a graduate school, Megan initially looked at Texas State’s Master of Communication program. But her roommate was an ACU alumna who was finishing her own master’s, “and she just raved about her time at ACU and the family feel that she experienced,” Megan remembers. Hanging out with her roommate and her friends, and visits to the campus library, “really drew me closer to ACU, and it made me feel really confident in pursuing their online program,” she adds.
ACU’s Christian focus was one of the deciding factors in Megan’s choice to enroll. She wondered, “Should I leave my foundation of my faith and go to a public university with thousands of people, or do I stay with a smaller, private Christian university?” It was an easy answer for Megan, and she cites the ability to meet face-to-face with a faculty member who might say to her, “Let me pray over this” as a huge benefit “that doesn’t even compare to what I could have gotten at a public university.” Megan also acknowledges that this very personal connection to a caring, attentive faculty is the reason she’s chosen to stay with private Christian universities as she pursues her career.
Megan Winn’s Winning Strategy for Online Learning
Although she found online learning “super intimidating at first,” being fresh out of a four-year residential program, Megan’s confidence increased as she built online relationships with classmates and faculty. The instructors were engaged and always available, and her program’s cohort became close, exchanging emails and phone calls. “Outside of the flexibility of the program, it was genuine relationship that kept me going through the program,” she affirms.
Megan raises a common misconception about online learning: It’s easier than an on-campus program. As she went through her master’s program, she realized how demanding the curriculum, assignments, and papers were. Megan found the intensity both challenging and rewarding, and offers some sage wisdom passed on to her by deans and educators: “There are no back-row students in online classes. Everybody has to participate. You can’t just kind of ride on what other people are talking about.”
Megan Winn’s Future is So Bright . . .
In her current role as ACU Online’s Student Service Operations Administrator, Megan doesn’t work directly with students anymore. But she’s always there in the background, making sure they have a seamless online learning experience.
Megan believes her M.Ed. in Student Services, “the incredible amount of information that I’ve been able to gain and learn over the past three years working with ACU,” and her love for students have helped prepare her to achieve her ultimate career aspiration: dean of students.
This means leaving the online world and returning to the residential arena, but that’s a change she’s willing to make. “There’s something about students who are eager to start school, even if they have no idea what they’re doing, no idea what they want to major in, that really excites me,” Megan enthuses.
While she continues to develop her skills with an eye toward that dean of students’ title, Megan and her new husband, Mike, are settling into their new home in Austin while lavishing Great Danes, Steely and Pepper, with big love.
Do you share Megan’s passion for higher education? Learn more about ACU’s online Master of Education in Higher Education.