Gretchen Fleming is a passionate person and always has been. She’s lucky enough to have been driven and focused from an early age. But like all truly generous and great educators, Gretchen knows that passion doesn’t always spark right away.
“Chancellor students are non-traditional. They’re older; they have jobs and often families and are discovering their true passions later in life,” she said. “They’re focused on where they want to go and receptive to help.”
As the Director of the Center for Law and Justice, Chair of the Legal Studies Program and associate professor at Chancellor University, Gretchen is proud to be able to provide the support students need to pursue their goals. From personal experience, it’s a position she believes is critical to student success.
“When I was an undergraduate, the business dean of my college, Dr. Mary Fox, was one of my biggest mentors,” said Gretchen. “She challenged me, supported me, and encouraged me when I needed it most and is still a cheerleader for me to this day.”
Because of the positive experiences she had in school, Gretchen insists on maintaining a similarly high level of support for her own students. Engagement and interaction are ultimately what propel students to the finish line. She even took it upon herself to dive into the student experience by enrolling in the MBA program here at CU.
“The curriculum is challenging and the faculty are engaging and supportive. It has been an eye-opening experience balancing a full-time job, five children, and taking classes. It’s been really challenging. But it’s been a good experience, especially for me as an instructor,” said Gretchen. “I’m a better teacher having been on the receiving end of it; I have more empathy and understand even more how important my interactions with students really are.”
Gretchen also believes that fostering student achievement should start at the beginning of their academic careers. To help make that happen for students in northeast Ohio, she and several other colleagues took part in a Chancellor University-sponsored inner city tutoring program to help students improve their learning as well as demonstrate the importance of education for success – an experience she says faculty and staff at Chancellor have carried well beyond those weeks and back to their own students.
“One of the best things about Chancellor is that the faculty and leadership are truly committed to the belief that we are here to make sure that our students succeed” Gretchen said. “Every session, the University President, program chairs, student services team and admissions associates come together in to discuss each student’s progress. Our goal is to map out and discuss each student’s needs in all areas from class schedule, to tutoring, to internships, and ultimately graduation, to ensure educational and professional success.”
And as part of that passion Gretchen has for her program and her students, she encourages anyone she meets who doesn’t have a job they love to find the motivation to pursue something different.
“Find the drive to get an education. Get involved in a job you love, whatever it takes,” she said.
She added, “My favorite part about what I do is when students come back and tell me they found a job in the field they are passionate about.”