“What excites me about working in the field of continuing education is the potential to have a substantial impact on people’s lives and career trajectories,” said Susan Catron (EdD ’12). As interim dean of UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (formerly called UC Davis Extension), Catron focuses on how to best serve non-traditional, part-time adult learners regionally and globally using a variety of educational delivery approaches. She directs a team of 230 academic and professional staff who provide educational opportunities to nearly 60,000 students from more than 100 countries each year.
“Our field is experiencing considerable disruption due to rising demand for an educated workforce along with advancements in educational technologies. New types of providers are emerging to fill the gaps, challenging traditional university-based providers to innovate,” Catron said. “As a learner, this type of environment suits me well, as I must continue my own learning to lead effectively in this dynamic context.”
Having previously served in the division as director of marketing, department chair, associate dean for Program Innovation, and most recently as senior associate dean for Academic Affairs, Catron has led innovative continuing and professional education efforts at UC Davis for more than 20 years. She has developed and led programs in K-12 education, autism, public policy, health services, public health, business, technology and management. Her professional background also includes a brief tenure as a policy analyst in the California State Legislature.
Catron decided to earn her doctorate in educational leadership from UC Davis to strengthen her pedagogical know-how and pursue research in online educational quality. “The CANDEL program allowed me to round out my expertise,” she said. “I came into the program with a strong policy and research background, but needed a better foundation in the science of teaching and learning. The faculty really understood this and modeled it as well. Moreover, the experience provided conceptual frameworks for thinking about questions pertaining to the adult learner experience.”