Faculty Feature: Dr. Pressley Rankin, IV
Like many adult learners, Professor Pressley Rankin followed a nontraditional route to higher education. Initially going to college right after high school, Pressley decided after two years that this was not the path for him. After a fifteen-year hiatus in which he worked a number of jobs, including business, tech support, and nonprofit, Pressley decided to go back to school for his Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Pressley quickly realized that he wanted to do more and decided to pursue his master’s degree as well. Rather than continue with English, Pressley decided to look into counseling.
“I enjoy working with people and I like to connect and help people,” Pressley said. After researching counseling programs, Pressley moved to San Diego where he received his Master of Science in Counseling from San Diego State University.
Having completed his master’s degree, he still wanted to teach. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I didn’t want a doctoral degree in counseling,” Pressley said. “Leadership was a combination of counseling and business and many other different practices. It fell into an arc with everything that I had done up to that point.”
Upon graduating with his doctoral degree in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego, Pressley joined the faculty at City University of Seattle. At CityU, Pressley teaches classes, advises students, and helps design programs. “Program design is a passion of mine. What it means to me is that students get courses that make sense and give them what they need to succeed, and that they are fun or at least challenging in some way,” said Pressley. However, he also makes it a priority to help manage students’ schedules – whether it’s a two year-degree program or the long-term planning needed for a doctoral degree, Pressley is committed to a hands-on approach and ensuring that students have everything that they need. “I identify with them because of that process that I went through,” he said and because of that he understands the importance of being available for students and ensuring that there are no frustrating surprises.
When asked his advice for adult learners considering returning to school, Pressley emphasized that, “It’s definitely a doable thing and you do get into the routine of going to school again.” While having a plan for going back to school is necessary, making some adjustments and setting aside specific time dedicated to schoolwork can help ease the apprehension that some adult learners feel. Pressley added, “Making sure that students have a successful and good time in the program is what’s important to me. In the end, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the students.”
Pressley Rankin is an Associate Professor and an Academic Program Director for City University of Seattle’s School of Education and Leadership.
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