Dr. Donna T. Petherbridge is the Vice Provost for DELTA (Digital Education and Learning Technology Applications), having previously served as the Interim Vice Provost from April 2021 – December 2021, the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Technology Innovation from July 2017 – April 2021, and in a DELTA associate vice provost role since 2007. Donna has been part of DELTA since its formation in 2000. In her current role, Donna provides strategic leadership for the DELTA organization.
We spoke with Petherbridge on how she uses the skills and knowledge gained through her doctoral degree in adult and community college education to serve the NC State community.
Tell us a little more about the path to completing your doctorate at NC State.
I started taking classes part-time with the intention of getting a certificate in training and development between 1999-2002, because I was managing instructional technology training at NC State (with DELTA) at the time. I loved the courses so much, and learned so much, I wanted to continue on and get a doctorate. My kids were two and four at the time. I started my doctoral studies in 2002 and finished in 2007.
How has having the EdD degree helped your career?
Having my doctoral degree has helped my career in many ways. It has supported my career advancement from a mid-level management position to a higher level position in my area. My promotion to associate vice provost happened the same year I graduated. My degree has also allowed me to teach an instructional design graduate course – I have years of experience as an instructional design practitioner – so I love teaching a course where I can meld theory and practice.
Additionally, my degree gives me added credibility in professional organizations. I have been doing journal reviews for the Professional and Organizational Network (POD) and participating in EDUCAUSE since graduation. This year, am a member of the conference planning committee for EDUCAUSE.
Please describe for us some of your lasting impressions of the program.
There were opportunities to really extend beyond what I already knew as a practitioner. The program really pushed me to think and absorb new ideas. It made me a better reflective practitioner, and I developed great relationships with instructors and students that still carry over to this day.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Be open minded – you will learn new ideas, practices, theories and what you think you know will be challenged. Be open to that, and it will make you better. Reach out to your instructors – they are wonderful and have such diverse experiences! If you make the effort you can really learn from them. Look for opportunities to co-present/co-author with them.
Find the schedule that fits you. Many prospective students wonder if they can do it all; work, manage a family and go to school. It is possible – you just have to plan carefully and be organized, embrace the messiness of it all, and know that everything won’t be perfect. And that’s okay. If you want to move into a position that involves developing/managing any kind of e-learning, get some experience as you go along if you aren’t already in the field. Look around for internships, and take workshops on the technology as some technical aptitude will be needed.
In addition to her work with DELTA, Petherbridge is an assistant teaching professor in the Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD) Department. She has taught online classes, mentored graduate students and served on dissertation committees as a member of the graduate faculty since 2008. She has more than seventeen years of experience in supporting higher education faculty members in leveraging technology, and has co-authored several articles and given presentations in this area. She also has experience teaching at middle, high school and higher education levels (in face-to-face and online teaching environments). Petherbridge was awarded the NC State University 2011 – 2012 Workforce & Human Resource Education Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Service and has been recognized as a Pride of the Wolfpack winner.
Petherbridge holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Elon University, a master’s degree in information science from North Carolina Central University, and an Ed.D. in adult and community college education from NC State.
Learn more about how our doctoral program in adult and community college education shapes professionals who lead transformational change in in community colleges.