|Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) James J. Gallagher Jr. spent 22 years of his life serving in the U.S. Army, culminating his career as the Department Chair and Affiliated Professor of the Department of Military Science, Leadership and Tactics at his Alma-Mater (University of Arizona). Upon retirement from the U.S. Army in 2008, he became a State of Arizona Certified Peace/Police Officer. Jim, as he prefers to be called, holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arizona, an M.S. in Administration from Central Michigan University, as well as degrees from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and National Defense University's Joint Forces Staff College. Besides facilitating classes for GCU since 2009, Jim also facilitates online classes for another university and spends some of his time as a consultant to Blueforce Development Corporation as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Subject Matter Expert with respects to continuity of operations and tactical situational awareness.
|Jim has worked at all levels of the Military, and has a vast amount of experience in CBRN, target analysis, terrorism, consequence and risk management/mitigation both domestically and overseas. He served nine years of his career abroad in places such as Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, and Korea. While he works in Phoenix, Arizona, he lives with his spouse of 23 years, four children and two dogs in Tucson, Arizona. He spends his free time coaching, sailing and snow skiing.
How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
Facilitating online courses for GCU has been shaped to a large extent by my years in military service. I was constantly dealing with "experienced" people. Given that others now look at me and consider me as "experienced," I feel that I must continue to reflect on past experience as my perspective changes with new situations, new knowledge, and new experiences. When I do this, I am able to derive new meaning in my life and I try to incorporate important lessons learned into my curriculum to prepare students for success beyond this University.
What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
In all my roles over the past 20 years, the fundamental need and desire to be respected and treated professionally stands out the most. In the world of education, students appreciate teachers who see them as individuals with names and outside interests; similarly, students want to know their teachers are approachable and hold other interests too. This aspect is a very important component to getting the students to feel comfortable enough to interact and truly begin the learning process for themselves. With that said, I try to scaffold questions in my discussion forums to specifically address a real-world situation that my student may encounter, based on the knowledge I have of his or her profession. My students are good about incorporating experiences into the material and making connections so I try to build on that when I can. That seems to really make a difference as my students feel that I am taking the time to know them individually. It is my belief that individual differences need to be recognized, considered on their merit and respected.
What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
I just received an email about two months ago from a student that I had in the first class I facilitated in October 2009. In the email the student stated, "You might not remember me, but I just wanted to say thanks! Three years ago when I was considering dropping out of GCU, you took a personal interest in my success. While you demanded high standards, you took the time to teach me and to work with me until I understood the material and most importantly understood ‘how' it applied to the real world." He then went on to say that he had just graduated from GCU, and that this one class changed the way he viewed education and how to make the connection from the classroom to the workplace. I was very flattered and honored to have made such a difference. That student just began working toward a graduate degree.