• Laura Hilkemann

    What I Do in Higher Education

    By Dr. Laura Hilkemann, School of Education

    My name is Dr. Laura Hilkemann. I currently teach online higher education courses in Kaplan University’s graduate psychology department, and I love my job!  

    My workplace is an office in my home, and I begin my day answering students’ emails and encouraging thoughtful discussions in the online classroom. I then grade everything submitted since the previous day, praising the excellent components and offering ideas on how to further improve. Some days I have online meetings with other faculty and staff members, and occasionally I have phone calls with students.

    My favorite task is designing curriculum and seminars, because this is my opportunity to think creatively about ways to meaningfully engage students so that our time together is both productive and fun. During the evening seminars, what I enjoy most is having intellectual discussions with my graduate students. They come from a variety of backgrounds and contribute significantly to the overall learning experience.

    Students are not the only ones who take advantage of the flexibility inherent in online education. During the day, I can often be found reading to my 3-old-daughter and volunteering. Recently, a student told me that she wrote her paper while her little girl sat on her lap. I replied that I graded her paper while my little girl sat on mine!

    My job is incredibly rewarding. It makes me happy to have even a small part in helping others achieve their dreams. There is the misperception that teaching online does not allow one to really know the students and positively impact their lives. However, my students have taught me otherwise, and I love hearing from them. For example, one of my students wrote, “I will not forget what you have contributed to my confidence that I might be a good psychologist after all,” and another wrote “I now instruct a course . . .I have you to thank for that!” In summary, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to teach with flexibility in the field I find most fascinating, and to know that my students are one step closer to achieving their educational goals.   

    Take a look at our “What I Actually Do: Educator” video to learn how much more there is to the work that educators do than you might think. 


    Dr. Laura Hilkemann is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

    It is important to note that, while earning a master’s degree in psychology may qualify you to work in the helping professions, a doctorate degree is required to become a psychologist and a medical degree is required to become a psychiatrist. Licensure exams may also be required. Students should research the requirements in the state in which they intend to seek employment.

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