Ron Friesen holds two Master's degrees that have allowed him to teach a range of college courses over the years. His Master of Divinity degree has given him the privilege of teaching such classes as World Religions, Christian Worldview and Philosophy of Religion while his Master of Counseling degree has opened up opportunities for teaching in the areas of human services as well as the professional counseling programs at several universities.
Ron brings a diverse background to his students as he has served as a pastor, hospital chaplain, hospice chaplain, chaplain to the homeless and as a mental health professional. The past 15 years Ron has focused most of his energy in the professional counseling field as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). For six years Ron lead the counseling program for Catholic Charities - Phoenix where he oversaw services to over 1,000 clients a year served by six staff members and 11 Master-level interns. Presently Ron provides direct mental health assessments and services to clients at St. Luke's Behavioral Health Hospital and at Correctional Healthcare Companies.
One of Ron's passions is bereavement counseling. Ron is a recognized bereavement specialist whose work has taken him into such settings as death row. Over 900 pastors, deacons and lay ministers have attended Ron's bereavement trainings.
Ron and his wife, June, reside in Phoenix, Arizona where they are avid fans of Phoenix Coyotes hockey and the Arizona Broadway Theater.
How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
One of my goals for my life is to replace myself thousands of time. As I have supervised interns and teach classes at GCU, I see myself being replaced by many competent professionals who I see taking my place in the future. One of my former interns just graduated from a doctoral program. I anticipate many of my students attaining this goal.
What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
Many of my students call me the "Socratic teacher." I ask many questions as I respond to every discussion question response. Students often comment that my active engagement encourages them to become more actively engaged in the class. In a recent class of 14 students, I averaged 88 posts a week and the students totaled up over 1,500 posts for the class.
What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
Several years ago I was teaching PCN 660A- Practicum I, the final class for many of our counseling students. In the first week of class a student informed me that he had lost his job and was homeless, living out of his car. He was unsure that he could complete this final class for his degree. I coached him to use a public library in order to access his class. We set up a weekly telephone call for check-in and support. The student began applying for jobs as he completed his internship. In the last week of the class he called to report that he had just been hired for a position that required the degree he was completing.