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Illinois Educator Angelique Maguire Thriving in Online Master’s Degree Program

SOU MSED Adult Education student Angelique Maguire

Angelique Maguire has come a long way since her days as a graphic design student within the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC) district.

“I was working for a bank when I went into the graphic design certificate program,” Maguire said. “I was then asked to teach the program and became the lead instructor. In 2018, I began working in the adult education program as a transition services coordinator and am now IECC’s adult education instructional services director. Adult education has become a passion.”

Maguire is enrolled in the online Master of Science in Education with a Concentration in Adult Education program at Southern Oregon University (SOU). She is also working on a micro-credential with two extra courses in leadership in higher education.

“Earning a master’s degree is something I have always wanted to do,” she said. “It was the right time in my life to do something for me. I’m choosing adult education to be my lifelong career.”
Although Maguire lives more than 2,000 miles from SOU’s campus, she is a graduate assistant, a member of the graduate student council and helped launch a leadership liaison community group in the six months since she enrolled.

“I care about what I am doing,” she said. “I want to make sure I provide my instructors at our four colleges with the best support and professional development. I also speak at some of our state conferences. I want to provide the best information, which I also want to be credible.”

The flexibility of the online format helps Maguire keep up with a busy life. She and her husband, Brent, have five kids — Felicia Shelton (27), Bryce Maguire (23), Haley Maguire (22), Ariana Shelton (21) and Jacob Maguire (14) — along with grandchildren.

“I love that the program is online,” she said. “I love structure. Whenever my assignments are due, I know I can reach out to my instructors, and they will be there for me.

“They answer quickly. The LMS (learning management system) is user-friendly. I have no complaints about SOU’s online program.”

Going the Distance

Maguire grew up in Fairfield, Illinois, where she still lives. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Greenville University in 2003.

After becoming a graphic design instructor at Frontier Community College, she continued to work in marketing. Then, she moved into an administrative role four years ago to set the wheels in motion for a return to higher education as a student.

“I researched colleges with adult education master’s degree programs for over a year,” she said of being selective in her search.

“I wanted to make sure it was accredited and worth my time. I was also looking for something that was not going to be too expensive. SOU felt right.”

It didn’t take Maguire long to realize that she had found a program that met her criteria.

“When I started talking to the people at SOU, I had a lot of support,” she said. “If I had questions they couldn’t answer, they would find out and call me back. I got connected quickly with the community.

“I have never been on this side of it where I’m the one receiving online instruction. There’s a sense of community you have to have, or else you feel isolated.”

So far, Learning in Organizations is Maguire’s favorite course in the online MSEd in Adult Education program curriculum.

“It inspired me the most,” she said. “In education, it’s more of a hierarchical leadership. The instructor introduced us to sociocracy leadership. I loved that.

“I plan to talk with my supervisors and administration about bringing that form of leadership in and opening that dynamic in our workforce. We need to allow our faculty and students to feel like they’re connected and purposeful.”

Oregon Trail

Maguire is on track to graduate from the online master’s degree program and complete the micro-credential in 2023. She hopes to take a long road trip and walk in the commencement ceremony.

“That’s the plan,” she said. “I have never been to Oregon. My family and friends are excited for me to go back to college. I have a huge support system.”

Despite a packed schedule, Maguire and her husband also attend classes once a month at the Illinois School of Ministry in Springfield. They are children’s pastors at New Beginning Church.

“I like to stay busy,” she said. “My wish is to become a program director for adult education. I’d like to be in leadership on the higher education side. The sky is the limit. I believe that if I really put my mind to it, I could even be a chancellor.”

Maguire believes having a master’s degree will put her on the right track to having the tools she needs to achieve her career goals.

“While I am in the program, I am learning so much at SOU,” she said. “They’re feeding into my profession, and my profession is feeding into the program.

“There’s a lot of effort and work, but I am pulling from my own experiences, — it makes writing my papers, being involved in the classes and feeling a sense of community much easier.”

Although Maguire took a while to find the right master’s degree program at the right university, she believes SOU was worth the wait.

“You can’t let your fears inhibit you,” she said. “Walking through an online program is scary at first. If you’re not used to it, don’t let it keep you from trying.

“If you step outside of that boat, there are going to be people there to catch you and walk with you — especially at SOU.”

Learn more about SOU’s online MSEd in Adult Education program.

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