Dr. Darrylinn Todd Joins SNL Online as Senior Director

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The School for New Learning is pleased to announce that Dr. Darrylinn Todd has taken the helm as the Senior Director of SNL Online.

Prior to joining DePaul, Dr. Todd was the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and Dean of the Center for Distance Learning at the City Colleges of Chicago. In her diverse experience, she counts positions with AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, and Chicago Public Schools.

She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Oakland University as well as a Masters of Business Administration and Doctor of Education in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University. Additionally, she has taught as an adjunct professor at Chicago State University and North Park University, and is a member of the United States Distance Learning Association and the Association of Black Women in Higher Education.

Her research interests include issues and advances in higher education, training performance, instruction and assessment in online and hybrid learning environments.

Dr. Todd gave a brief interview to discuss her leadership style and her vision for SNL Online. When asked about her advice for online students, she said, “Being a successful student is an exercise in self-discipline. You have to be self-motivated to get the work done. I think that applies whether you’re an outstanding student or a student who’s struggling. You’ve got to have a plan, because you’re only as good as the plan you put up front.”

Drawn to DePaul

“One of the things I’ve always done in my career as an administrator was to encourage employees to determine where their skills were not being fully utilized and provide opportunities such as cross-training, internships, professional associations and acquiring university degrees to enhance their skills. When I was working at a major corporation in 2001, several ladies in my division decided to investigate how they could improve their skills by acquiring a bachelor’s degree. The first one to say, “I’m going to do this,” came to DePaul University. She brought the SNL program to me and I found though my research that DePaul was one of the first universities that really focused on adult and competency-based learning.

The School for New Learning had a degree that was geared toward working adults and had the flexibility in scheduling that was attractive to my employees (who in some cases were single parents). I thought, “Wow, perfect!” My employees could take courses that used a combination of transfer course work, online and on-ground courses and work/life experiences to help them complete their degrees.

As several employees progressed through SNL, I became sold on the program as well as the many student support services that DePaul University had to offer. The experience was a win-win for the employees and eventually enhanced their skills and ability to gain promotions within the company.”

On Growing up in a Military Family

“I think people would be surprised if they knew the number of elementary and high schools I went to in my lifetime. My Dad spent 30 years in the United States Air Force; every 18 to 24 months, we would be moved to another military location. Due to my father’s assignment as a statistician we were stationed and/or visited military bases throughout the U.S. as well as in international countries (e.g. Germany, Japan). My Dad was reassigned several times during my teen years and I actually went to four high schools before graduation.

I will always appreciate this great experience. Being introduced into new cultures and a different way of living was an amazing opportunity that not everyone is blessed with. Just being aware of someone else’s way of life can truly be an “eye opener.” I definitely learned patience and perseverance; many times there were language and culture barriers but at the end of the day this was an opportunity that helped me understand myself and learn how to adapt to life’s changes.” 

Leadership style

“What seems to lie at the heart of higher education leadership is that one must create an environment for academics and staff that allow them to fulfill their potential and interest in their work. Over the years I have found that a climate of mutual supportiveness and the maintenance of autonomy seem to be particularly desirable.

As a leader, I have been most effective when I have consulted my staff about important decisions and used democratic decision making and mutual cooperativeness to investigate viable solutions. As a leader you have to be able to guide and motivate.

When you are new to an organization, it is important to get an understanding of how things have operated in the past. If you want to be an effective, responsive and evolving in online learning, what is more valuable than knowing the baselines, the “what’s and whys” (your mission) and “where you want to go” (your vision)?”

A Vision for SNL Online

“I will need to establish and maintain the department vision/goals and provide the necessary support for the staff to attain them. SNL Online has a long history in online learning and has established a competency-based learning model for adult learners built on best practice principles. I will challenge the team to think critically about the way things are currently done and continuously look for ways to achieve excellence. It is my challenge to motivate my staff to achieve successes beyond their expectations.”

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