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Valdosta State University faculty member expands her qualitative studies through UGA’s online graduate certificate in qualitative research

Valdosta State University faculty member expands her qualitative studies through UGA’s online graduate certificate in qualitative research

In 2018, Gwen Ruttencutter joined Valdosta State University as a clinical faculty member in the department of leadership, technology and workforce development. Ruttencutter teaches adult learning and research methodology courses for adult and career education doctoral and masters’ programs. In addition, she teaches in the undergraduate office administration and technology program. 

In summer 2021, Ruttencutter will complete her Graduate Certificate Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies. 

Gwen Ruttencutter, Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative StudiesWith a Ph.D. in educational psychology and research (adult learning) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Ruttencutter examines teaching and learning in higher education contexts, using the lenses of adult learning, positive psychology and collaborative communication. Her master’s and undergraduate degrees are in workforce education and development.

“Having the flexibility of online, asynchronous courses while also paired with high- quality content and faculty facilitation allows me to engage fully and also manage my teaching load and other life responsibilities,” Ruttencutter said. 

Ruttencutter selected the University of Georgia’s online graduate certificate in qualitative research because it is well known and has a highly respected reputation for the caliber of its faculty and their contributions to theory and methods of qualitative research. 

Now engaged in her studies, Ruttencutter explains how everything she learns in her coursework is immediately applicable to her current work or provides ways to expand the content of the courses she teaches.

“In addition to learning the content of my courses, I am learning the pedagogical practices of teaching qualitative methodologies online, through observing the faculty’s praxes,” she said. “Having a double-helping of learning is such a gift.”

Ruttencutter said the Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies certificate is just that–interdisciplinary–working and learning from others in various disciplines. She praised the online program for being designed with adult, online learners in mind. Ruttencutter said the courses are clearly organized and feedback is designed to “develop further our thinking and abilities in the qualitative paradigm.”

Ruttencutter plans to continue engaging in qualitative research within her field and function as a methodologist collaborating with scholars in other fields who want  to use a qualitative paradigm. Additionally, Ruttencutter believes the certificate strengthens her work as a dissertation methodologist supporting doctoral students.

“Going forward, I plan to continue examining teaching and learning in higher education using qualitative approaches,” Ruttencutter said.I would also like to partner as a qualitative methodologist with community organizations interested in action research.”