David Farler, Ph.D. Global Leadership and Change
What made you decide to pursue your degree as an adult?
I decided to pursue my Ph.D. degree as an adult to help develop and grow myself as an individual. I previously obtained my MBA in 2013 as a working adult for the same reasons. The goal was to help my advancement in my career and as an individual.
Why did you choose to study at Tiffin University?
I heard about the program when I decided to look to pursue my Ph.D. I was looking for different doctoral-level programs for professional adults that allowed flexibility, and had a focus on business and leadership. Tiffin University’s program offered both so it made the decision easy. Another factor that helped was being an alum already from Tiffin University. Already knowing how great of a university Tiffin is, I knew right away; this is where I wanted to go.
Tell us about your experience with the program.
My experience with the program was excellent. Tiffin University, faculty, staff, students, culture, etc. are just amazing to be a part of. The background experience and knowledge of the Ph.D. professors shocked me in how well advanced they all were and from multiple disciplines. Having an amazing staff, from multiple professional backgrounds, enhanced the learning and growth experience.
The technology was great for the curriculum. As a father of 3 children and a full-time profession as an engineer, the technology and curriculum allowed me to work within my barriers and schedule. With COVID creating another barrier in our world it made it easy to continue my education because of the Tiffin University online platform, and be able to work at any time or day that I could fit in my already busy schedule. The other great technology benefit was the online library and how it was interconnected with multiple other universities. The online Pfeiffer Library made it very convenient for conducting research, and utilizing other resources such as the writing tools to help with APA. The librarians at Tiffin were very helpful during the entire program, and were able to be reached via email, instant message, phone call, and in person.
My interactions with the Tiffin University faculty and cohort were above expectations. Every member was available via email, Zoom meeting, phone call, or in person meeting. To have the comfort of knowing the respect and interaction is mutual from faculty member to student, is excellent to have as a student. The caring factor is a large part in leadership, and seeing that in the faculty and cohort throughout my Ph.D. program was just amazing. There was a bond between the students also, of being able to lean on one another to help motivate and lean on during the program. Creating and having that camaraderie is a large part of being successful at any goal or objective trying to be achieved.
How did you juggle work, life and going back to school?
Juggling work, family, and school was a challenge for me, especially staying as a full-time student year around throughout the entire program. I am married to my wife and we have three children together of the ages of nine, six, and one. I am also a full-time professional in the oil and gas industry as an engineer, project manager, and turnaround lead. The first step was working together with my wife and building our team, with understanding what is ahead. Setting goals and targets are a main way to stay on track to be successful. I utilized a calendar and scheduled my time outside of my normal work life, time for kids’ events, family events, and school. I would manage my time with the target time and dates to complete all assignments and tasks needed for each week. The motivation was known that after each class completed my goal was getting closer of obtaining my Ph.D. The Tiffin program and online format helped also in managing my time of when and how to work. Finding ways to stay motivated and celebrating each successful goal helped in the overall achievement.
What kept you motivated to stay in the program?
My motivation to stay in the program was a combination of multiple factors. First it was to lead by example and to hopefully have my children understand that hard work and continuation of my education can represent of how being driven is a factor of success. Lead by example always factors in when raising our children for my wife and I. When my children were working on homework, I was working beside them on mine. The next part of motivation was being able to obtain my Ph.D., which is less than two percent of the world’s population. Another motivation was to finish to help develop myself as an individual and hopefully open future career opportunities. A financial standpoint was also a motivating factor. I was paying for this education and wanted to make sure that I did not waste my money on not finishing it. Another factor was having a great support team of my family, other students, and the Tiffin University faculty. The Director of the program was an amazing mentor, as well as a couple of professors that I had. It truly is easier to finish a degree when there is an excellent staff that truly cares about your success.
It truly is easier to finish a degree when there is an excellent staff that truly cares about your success.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is thinking about going back to school?
The advice that I would give to a prospective student who is thinking about going back to school is: it is time. What are you waiting for? Investing in yourself and others around you is always a positive decision. I developed myself even more as a leader, and have a different outlook on life. I have the title of Dr. Farler and that is forever. However, an honest opinion would be to make sure you are 100 percent committed because it does take a lot of commitment and effort.
TU’s motto is: Without risk there is no gain. Can you tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you gained from it?
Looking at the TU motto: Without risk there is no gain; I can say this is a true statement. I took a risk 20 years ago to take out student loans and start my undergraduate education. Today I have invested in myself, took a risk in going for my BSME, MBA, and now Ph.D. and I can officially call myself Dr. Farler. There has been tremendous gain because of this initial risk at the age of 18. Throughout the 20-year process I have gained a wealth of knowledge, created a great career path for myself that can provide for my family, and developed as a better individual with a more well-rounded outlook in life. I have established a great base to support myself and others for the future. Life is a risk, the outcome you want from it is up to you.