As a life-long learner herself, Dr. Maureen Znoj understands the challenges that adult learners often face—and as the Director of Undergraduate Programs at Endicott College’s Van Loan School of Professional Studies—she utilizes this experience to support our students.
Dr. Znoj has spent the last 25 years in higher education, but her path—like many of the students she serves—was non-traditional. She says, “It took me a while to find my way, in fact, my mother was an adult learner, and we started college on the same day—we were in the same class. It took me 10 years to earn my bachelor’s degree but I wouldn't change it for the world, I learned so much along the way.”
Znoj started her professional career in higher education as a residence hall director, while earning her master’s degree. She later progressed on to obtain her Certificate in Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Leadership. “I consider myself a lifelong learner. Working in higher education, I firmly believe we should be a student or a teacher—there are times in my life that I am teaching and times that I am learning. I do not believe learning ever ends.”
The Van Loan School aims to enrich its students with the same passion for learning Znoj enjoys every day. Encouraging each individual to challenge themselves, to dream bigger and aim higher. “I want to give back, because the mentoring that I received in college, from members of the faculty and staff, was transformational. It helped me excel professionally, and provided me with leadership skills—people saw me as a person, not just a number in a classroom—and that is the Endicott experience. We help students achieve their goals.”
All learners face challenges—developing systems to balance one’s responsibilities can take time and practice, but Znoj is here to help. She always sees the positive in challenging situations, which greatly benefits our students. She says, “The Van Loan School of Professional Studies empowers students and helps them move forward on a path to earning their degree.” She and her fellow staff and faculty members support our students, helping them to balance their personal, professional, and academic lives.
Znoj’s own professional experience has made her a change agent. Her academic and professional expertise lies within the field of organizational behavior. Znoj teaches four courses a year as part of her job including Organizational Behavior, Applied Research and Career Transitions. “Teaching organizational behavior is close to my heart because I am able to practice what I teach by motivating employees, building teams, establishing trust and developing effective communication channels”.
Through our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, students can obtain credit for their work and life learning. Znoj says, the PLA process is so well done and has such a high success level, because we truly value our students’ life experiences. Van Loan takes a progressive and collaborative approach to how we work to enhance the student experience. We work with the Deans in the traditional schools, offer dual enrollment courses in high schools, and regularly collaborate on initiatives with departments across the campus. We are nimble and we utilize the strengths and resources available on campus”
Those same resources, and more, also benefit active military service members and veteran students. Znoj says, “That’s one of the things I am most proud of here at the Van Loan School of Professional Studies. I really enjoy working with military and veteran students because they make up such a special population—people who have served, or are currently serving our country. They have made real sacrifices, and we are here to support them, and help them build upon their own experiences—it’s both validating and rewarding.” Znoj is the faculty advisor to the Veterans Club on campus and established Veterans Honor Week, and collaborates with the Office of Community Service and the Veterans Club for the annual weeklong event. It is a week where active duty military service members and veterans are recognized for their service.
“Over the last two years, I have truly enjoyed working with Dr. Znoj”, says Andrea Rhoades, Director of Community Service. “Throughout our planning of Veteran's Honors Week, as well as other initiatives, her passion for our students and community shines through her work. I am thankful to have a colleague who goes the extra mile in supporting and educating our students both inside and outside of the classroom. I also appreciate that Dr. Znoj has made it a priority to volunteer and provide service to the greater community.”
The Van Loan School values the non-traditional path, and the expertise that each student brings with them. Znoj works to help her students adjust to the changing demands they will face throughout their program. She notes, “Being an adult learner myself, I know how hard it can be, but I tell our students what I often told myself, ‘don’t give up—you will reach your goal!’
The Van Loan School offers flexible programming in a variety of fields—which allows our students to balance their responsibilities while striving to achieve their goals.