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Putting Knowledge to Practice

NC State College of Education graduate students (Left to right) Michael Von Bargen, Jason Cook and Richard Singer.

Putting knowledge to practice holds true for three current NC State College of Education (CED) and NC State Online and Distance Education students. Richard Singer, Jay Cook and Michael Von Bargen are all currently enrolled in CED’s online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Training Development program.

Singer, Von Bargen and Cook work full time for Duke Energy at the Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, North Carolina, just outside of Apex. Their roles — nuclear station instructors. All three work in the same department teaching initial licensing for nuclear operators.

“I am a believer in continuous personal and professional development,” Cook said. He felt that the online M.Ed. in Training and Development would be a great way to formally get educated in the work he’s doing at Duke Energy.

“I researched the M.Ed. program, reached out to the former director and set up a meeting to discuss the program. Then I enlisted two others to do the program with me as sort of a pilot program for possible future consortium with NC State and Duke Energy training,” Cook explained.

For Singer, enrolling into the program with his colleagues was a no-brainer.

“The M.Ed. in Training and Development program directly related to my current job responsibilities as an instructor and instructional designer for Duke Energy,” Singer said. Having the program through Online and Distance Education was an added bonus for him, providing flexibility to balance work, school and family.

And for Von Bargen, the lead instructor at the Harris Nuclear Plant, the online program was also perfectly aligned with his field of work. “It positions me for future advancement in the field,” he said.

Von Bargen added that the decision to enroll in CED’s online M.Ed. program was easier knowing he’d have two of his peers going through the same learning experience.

“Having a support team to share the experiences and conclusions from the courses kept me motivated,” Von Bargen said.

All three students have been applying the program’s teachings in their current roles.

“I started applying the program’s learnings during my first semester and continue to implement new tools and tactics along the way. The program has given me the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to excel in the field of adult education,” Singer said. Singer believes this has helped him increase the effectiveness and efficiency of his employers’ training program.

“My program’s participant success rate has risen from a historical value of 60 percent to more than 91 percent while streamlining efforts have reduced the duration by 22 percent,” Singer explained. Singer’s coworker Von Bargen adds that he and his peers have applied the learnings of their work and has seen about a 30 percent improvement in results and products.

“In the future, I believe that this degree, as well as the accomplishments that I have achieved due to the application of the learning, will also expedite my advancement in my career,” Von Bargen said.

Cook agrees and credits their sweeping success largely due to the online program’s course teachings.

“I’m glad we started the M.Ed. when we did. It really has helped us with the development of our current program and for the future of training at Duke Energy,” Cook said.

“This was also possible due to the program administrator’s drive for the program. Michelle Bartlett was instrumental at revising and targeting the curriculum to link the theory to practice,” Von Bargen explained. “We were able to do this with our jobs and ultimately result in improvement in our products as well as an improvement in ourselves.”
Students interested in the Master of Education in Training and Development online program can contact Michelle Bartlett at with questions.