In today’s world, adults have to constantly adapt to the complex demands of a rapidly changing, interconnected world that require new skill sets. Aliki Nicolaides, associate professor in the Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development (LLOD) program, focuses her teaching and research on how to optimize learning/developmental conditions for adults, groups, and systems.
Nicolaides has been teaching for the College of Education at the University of Georgia since 2010, with past experience as an entrepreneur and consultant. Her consulting practice was focused on leadership development in young adults, as well as the personal transformation of adult learners interested in effecting change in the world.
“My unique perspective on organizational and individual transformation comes from working all over the world on developing programs for leadership and mentoring, in Singapore’s secondary schools, in the New York City Public School System, and for the United Nations’ web-based teaching systems,” she explains.
Nicolaides is committed to students’ transformational learning, growth, and development. She believes that earning a master’s degree is a journey from being a good student in undergraduate to becoming a scholar whose work has meaningful impact.
“In our [LLOD] program, we are committed to developing our students as scholar leaders who seek understanding, grow their capacity for making deep meaning, and are skillful in ways that bring knowledge into action,” she says.
Nicolaides maintains that creating personal connections with online students is critical for deep learning and the levels of change she aims to generate for her students. “I teach graduate students primarily, and this makes online learning a delicate space to navigate as I am not merely relaying informational knowledge to my students,” she expounds. “I am also developing their capacity as scholars, leaders, and agents of change.”
Her one piece of advice for prospective and even current students is to reach out to professors and get to know them.
“Ask for time in a virtual meeting space where you can see and hear each other. Bring thoughtful questions to your time with your faculty, and demonstrate that you wish not only to learn about something, but to also to critique, to challenge, and to develop your own thinking and opinions about content and its impact,” she advises. “Move beyond the instrumentality of learning and invite them to connect and navigate the paradoxical divide of being alone and together in an online environment.”