One Degree Higher Thanks To Partnership

Susan Schultheis gains BASTL leadership skills

Bloomsburg University's Jack Sherzer,

It was the mid-1990's, and Susan Schultheis’ 3-year-old son, Aaron, wanted to learn how to spell so he could play a game on the computer his uncle had given him, she recalls.

“I explained the rules, and after playing the game, in a couple of weeks he knew how to read,’’ Schultheis said. “I found the technology a little intimidating and thought I better figure this out so I can stay ahead of him.’’

The stay-at-home mom was involved at her children's Catholic school and worked with other parents to bring computers into the classroom. Though Schultheis had earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture science from Penn State University in 1980, when her three children were old enough for her to return to work, she set her sights on the technology field. 

After earning her associate degree in computer system networking from Lehigh Carbon Community College in 2001, she landed the job she still holds today, a desktop services technician at Northampton Community College (NCC).

The 60-year-old Allentown resident thought about getting a bachelor’s in her field, but then, two “very serendipitous’’ events occurred. Northampton was migrating to a new business process-management system, and she learned about Bloomsburg University’s bachelor of applied science in technical leadership degree program.

Not only did BASTL have the project-management classes she wanted, but Northampton and LCCC were partners with Bloomsburg in the degree program. That meant the few classes not available online would be taught by BU instructors at either community college and all her LCCC credits from her associate degree would transfer.

“It was a no-brainer for me to sign up,’’ said Schultheis, who earned her BASTL degree in December 2018. “The program’s flexibility was important to me; having it online was important to me so I could do my school work on my schedule.’’

For the program’s internship, Schultheis worked with IBM staffers implementing the new management system at Northampton to train college employees and test the processes.

She enjoyed the instructional design classes and is thinking about getting an advanced degree in the field.

“The BASTL program exposes you to a variety of things and puts a spotlight on leadership skills that someone working day to day may not have,’’ she said, adding she enthusiastically recommends the program. “I love what I do, and the job I have. What I learned in the BASTL program allows me to bring more to the table and be a more valuable employee.’’

After consulting with employers who are looking for skilled managers, Bloomsburg University created its bachelor of applied science in technical leadership program especially for individuals with associate degrees who are working and need flexibility. Up to 60 associate degree credits are accepted and half the BASTL classes are online with the rest taught at Bloomsburg’s partner institutions: Bucks County Community College, Community College of Philadelphia, Harrisburg Area Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College and Reading Area Community College, and the State System campus in Center City Philadelphia. Learn more at http://bloomu.edu/bastl.