"Nursing is a profession in high demand, so it made sense that more students were pursuing a nursing degree," said Smith. "I think as enrollment went up, the administration began to realize the importance of exploring online education."
Even Smith himself was curious about how education was evolving, so he began searching for online graduate degrees.
"Penn State popped up as one of the leading institutions, not only in education but in instructional design and e-learning," said Smith.
Smith enrolled at Penn State's World Campus, continuing to work full time while taking courses to earn his master's degree in learning design and technology, which he completed in 2015.
Today, Smith is director of institutional effectiveness at Jersey College. He is responsible for accreditation, licensure and regulatory compliance.
Although it's been three years since he graduated from Penn State, Smith said he still draws on his World Campus learning experience when making critical decisions.
"I find myself half-thinking about the pedagogy that I learned in the coursework and the projects I completed through World Campus, and half thinking about my own experiences as a student, so I get this really cool dichotomy between what the literature said and what my own experiences are, as well as what my colleagues experienced in their education. I use all that information to create solutions that enhances the learning experience for our students."
Smith, who also holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Denison University, lives in Bedminster, New Jersey.