Research Interests: Organizational change management
Social Change Interests: Advocacy for domestic violence victims and homelessness
Joined Walden: 2006
About Dena: I am the Operations Manager for Writing Assessments. In this role, I track doctoral student progress through the writing assessment by assisting students in gaining the needed writing support to complete a doctoral-level program. I also serve on the MyManager Connection team offering professional development and support to people managers across the Minneapolis based staff. My BA is in Criminology and Sociology from the University of Minnesota Duluth and my MBA in Human Resource Management is from Walden. I spend my time outside work with family and friends, traveling, and volunteering with local homeless and domestic abuse shelters.
Social Change Project: Cleaned and organized at Harriet Tubman Center, which helps women, men, children and families struggling with relationship violence, substance abuse, and mental health
My Advice to Walden Students
Balancing your studies with work, family, and other obligations can be stressful. Make sure you plan and build in time to
read, study, and complete the work in your degree program. This can be blocking time on a calendar, secluding yourself for
specific timeframes, waiting until the kids go to bed, etc. Find what works for you and stick to it.
My role oversees the day to day tasks of the Writing Assessments as well as planning ahead for changes and growth. I track metrics on student writing assessment requirements completion and performance to identify areas of strength and improvements needed. My team is here to support doctoral students with identifying any writing skill improvements at the beginning of their doctoral journey.
I have been working on the Doctoral Writing Assessment requirement since 2015. Being part of the logistical planning, overseeing many of the improvements, and building a strong support team over the years has been wonderful. In 2019, it was decided that we should support our students even earlier with writing skills by shifting the Doctoral Writing Assessment to the first term for all incoming and returning doctoral students. I enjoyed taking on more of a project management type role in planning, developing processes, building cross-departmental relationships, and launching the earlier platform.
I received my MBA from Walden in 2009. At the time I started the program, I was a new employee still trying to get my head around the idea of being a fully online university. It was not always easy to balance work and home, but I was persistent in making sure I devoted what time I could to my program. My daughter was in elementary school so most of the time I studied in the evening when she was working on her homework or after she went to sleep.
I was appreciative of the support Walden offered students over a decade ago and I am in awe of the growth in the support services offered to students. I took advantage of all the resources, including faculty and fellow student knowledge, when I needed it. I was able to walk in the Walden Graduation Ceremony in 2009 knowing my daughter was in the audience and would witness all the hard work I completed. That is an unforgettable feeling.