June 23, 2017
To Whom It May Concern:
It is indeed an honor as I am compelled to share my story about the wonderful educator and scholar, Dr. Nancy Greer-Williams, who I endearingly refer to as Dr. Nancy.
I am a woman of color who recently matriculated from an online doctoral program, and the pursuit of a Ph.D. can be an isolating and overwhelming experience. It can be quite difficult to acclimate to this mode of learning, regardless of the amount of time spent preparing. However, I am here to attest to the fact that I know without reservation, that I would have stopped long time ago had it not been for Dr. Nancy.
I was blessed to acquire her as my dissertation chair towards the end of my second year, and from that time all the way through completion, she has been the most accessible, motivating, and encouraging professor I have had in my educational career. In retrospect, given the online modality and the aforementioned statement, it would appear ironic that a professor who I have never met face-to-face has been the most present and accessible to me as a learner. She has been all of that and more.
Dr. Nancy has proven that she is invested in my research, and I will be forever grateful. I have bonded with five other students in the program during first and third year residencies, and all of them have shared their gut-wrenching stories of having to chase down their chairs or not receiving feedback for three to four weeks or more. Dr. Greer-Williams is exceptional in the area of providing valuable and timely feedback and she challenged me to dig deeper and to think more critically without being critical of my process or my struggles. I recall that before the holiday break, she called and made sure my analysis plan was set and ensured me I could call if I needed her even though we were on holiday break, because she did not want me to hit any roadblocks or become discouraged during the holiday lull. To provide that much concern about my progress was an impeccable gesture that I will never forget, because she went beyond the University’s expectations for her role as committee chair.
In addition to being an encourager, motivator, and one who is easily accessible, I stand in awe at her level of scholarship. She demonstrated to me what it meant to be a scholar in this field. She was able to recall and direct me to various studies and authors from memory and she challenged me to be a better researcher and academic who digs beyond surface level thinking. I must admit that when I was constructing my literature review, I became extremely overwhelmed and did not understand why she directed me to not only research and locate sources, but I had to construct annotated bibliographies for each source as well.
During the process, I often questioned my ability because I felt like I was collecting all of this information and constructing all of these annotations for naught. However, I did trust her judgment per previous conversations and I kept going. Once the annotated bibliographies were done, I realized that I had synthesized and analyzed all of the sources to the point where I could share with her in great detail all of the identified gaps in the literature. I was surprised at how well I could do this in our weekly conversations without even referring back to the documents, and for the first time, I felt like a true scholar!
From that point on, I never questioned her methods nor my ability again. She helped to extrapolate an inner peace and confidence in me that I had lost before starting this program.
Per my personal goals and the goals Dr. Nancy set for me, I recently finished my doctorate in Higher Education Administration (May 2017). It has been a long journey, since starting in 2012; however, the journey functioned as a catalyst for my growth as a person, educator,
leader, scholar, and researcher instead of breaking me down like so many individuals I read about who become ABD or struggle mentally. Additionally, Dr. Nancy has iterated to me how important it is for me to celebrate every milestone as little victories. I know it has become cliché, but slow and steady does win the race. Dr. Nancy is the epitome of this mantra. She has a lovely temperament and she brought peace to my frazzled situations. I plan to remain in contact with her even after matriculation. I could never pay her back for her contributions to my persistence and retention. Students are able to rise when they witness educators as role models who have risen time and time again despite personal barriers, career challenges, and social conflicts. As John Donne iterated, “no man is an island” and my chair has kept me grounded and focused on my goals to the point where I did not feel alone in this process. I strongly recommend Dr. Nancy Greer-Williams to serve in any educational and community-based capacity, as she is an asset to any organization that has the honor of gleaning from her talents.
Jessica J. Jones, Ph.D.
University of Phoenix-School of Advanced Studies Graduate
Higher Education Administration
First and foremost, I would like to thank God for bringing you into my life. You were the inspiration for me to finish this doctoral journey and without your encouragement I would not have finished. The many challenges, struggles, and what seemed to be insurmountable milestones impacted my ability to believe I would one day achieve this lifelong dream. The satisfaction of knowing that I have reached a goal I dreamed of as a kid, would become a reality. Dr. Nancy you believed in me at my lowest moments during this journey; when I questioned my fortitude and aptitude to continue.
This doctoral process has, by far, been the most challenging journey I have every taken and the results of completing the journey has been the most rewarding. After one week of completing the oral defense, I have not fully accepted the reality of entering into the world of achieving the education level of doctorate degree. Since starting this journey, I have changed dissertation chairs three times and committee members twice. I have written the 10 different versions of the dissertation proposal, using multiple methodologies and designs. For example, during the first residency students were advised to complete a research design other than phenomenology. Working with my chair at that time, I had completed the first two chapters of the proposal. I conveyed the information received at the residency to my chair and proceeded to change the study design to case study. This was the first of many variations of the proposal I experienced while attempting to completed a proposal worthy of QRM approval. Dr. Nancy, until we met, I was on a course of not successfully completing the process.
Dear Dr. Nancy,
I would like to acknowledge and thank you as being one of my many dissertation chairs that were assigned to me during the course of my journey. The others left the University of Phoenix and moved on and as I can remember, you were originally one of my committee members. You agreed to be my Chairperson because my previous chair took a leave of absence. After a few months working directly with you, my chairperson left the University and I believe that it was a true gift from God to be assigned to you. Due to your patience and guidance it helped me through a very difficult process, but I finally reached my journey. I felt like Moses wandering in the desert. As the Old Testament states Moses could see the promised land of Israel, he just never was able to reach it. I finally can say I have reached my dream.
Although I do have to say you were tough on me at times, which I did not appreciate sometimes, but I see now that you had true “faith” and saw potential in me. I remember you sent me an
e-mail that said “Dara, you are going to graduate.”. My husband Gary who you got to know met while I was going through the dissertation process quoted something that I think you will find inspirational. When I complained about the work and taking time almost daily for several weeks with you on conference calls and school work he said, “Dara, if getting a doctorate were that easy, everyone would do it.” I had to put many of my personal things aside like spending time with my daughters and husband to complete deadlines that I needed to reach quality review final (QRF). I like many others that are in a doctoral program wanted to give up many times, but with your inspiration you gave me the encouragement to keep on going to meet the dream of becoming a doctor, the first female doctor in my family.
Like you, my maternal grandfather believed that education is a major key to success in life and a major reason I stayed in school and received several degrees, especially this one. You are not only a great teacher, but an outstanding mentor and guidance counselor.
My paternal grandfather always would say, “Today is a gift and tomorrows a bonus”. You are that bonus! I was really floundering for a long time, until you took my horns and pointed them in the right direction. I am convinced that I would have finished the program a great deal faster if I had the type of guidance you provided me from the very beginning. I do believe that God has a plan for all of us, and sometimes we do not understand what that is and often question it. Your inspiration gave me insight on what that plan is for my future.
By coming into my life and hopefully staying in my life for a long time, not as a former student, but as a lifelong friend because I value your friendship, guidance and support immensely.
With great gratitude, Sincerely.
Dr. Dara Gordon Murray, DHA
To Whom It May Concern:
It is with pleasure that I write this letter in support of a distinguished professor. I have known Dr. Nancy Greer-Williams for seven years and interacted with her extensively as her doctoral student. Dr. Greer-Williams served as chair of my dissertation committee and provided outstanding advisement, coaching, mentoring, and teaching.
I firmly believe that her contributions to the field of education are exceptional. As her former doctoral student, I characterized Dr. Greer-Williams as caring, dependable, kind, hardworking, organized, and highly encouraging. She has high expectations for her students and is very approachable. It was a pleasure having her as my chair, and I felt fortunate and blessed to receive her wisdom and guidance. It is not often for a student to have a chair that truly has her students’ best interest at heart. Dr. Greer-Williams commitment to me as her student is what I deemed noteworthy because many of my peers did not have the leadership I received.
An important aspect of Dr. Greer-Williams was her availability and quick response to address the questions I had. She was always attentive to my needs and highly interested in my work. I thought it interesting how she knew just how much structure to provide to ensure I maintained the independence necessary to complete each stage of my degree successfully.
]I have truly benefited from having Dr. Greer-Williams as my doctoral chair, and the relationship we established is one I would say have developed into a life-long friendship. In sum, she is a dynamic professor and is deserving of any accolades or opportunities afforded to her. Her efforts as a professor would serve any organization, university, and student in a promising manner.
To Whom it May Concern:
I am a 30 year Aviation Ordnance Officer. I barely graduated from high school with a 1.6 GPA and barely got accepted to the Navy with a low ASVAB score. In fact, my ASVAB score was so low that I was not offered a military occupation. After ascending through the ranks from non-designated to Chief Petty Officer, I received a commission based on my skills as a weapons specialist. I ultimately retired as a LCDR.
Upon retirement, I decided to further my education and get my MBA and DM in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. The doctoral journey was wrought with several challenges. First, my wife's sister passed away from glioblastoma (brain cancer) one month into the program. Then six months later, we moved into a new house. In 2018 I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. In the past year, I have had two rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and colon resection. All the while I missed no classes and maintained a 3.85 GPA. I recently completed my last course DOC 742 and finished my oral defense on October 7th to complete my doctoral requirements. I wanted to tell my story and thank the University of Phoenix for finding me reasonable accommodations to assist me in completing this journey. Moreover, as of Monday, June 24th, 2019 I am now cancer free!
Dr. Nancy Greer- Williams was my editor. Most editors offer grammar checking and very little content corrections. Dr. Nancy offered a unique approach that involved critical thinking. She challenged me to engage philosophically and really think about my readers. Dr. Nancy was well aware of my challenges and was able to balance compassion with work. She was so concerned with my final product that she pushed me further than I thought was possible. Her work did not stop there. She continued to push me to do something after my graduation. We have now co-founded the Post-Doctoral Network. We are focused on furthering our research abilities and to collaborate with our network to publish and add to the body of knowledge. Our goal is her dream to make this world a better place because of our scholarship.
Dr. Mercer Morgan
I am writing this endorsement for Dr. Nancy and her consulting company, Dissertation Designers.
As a doctoral student, I found the dissertation phase challenging and I was left without much direction from my committee and chair. A colleague of mine from the doctoral program recommended that I reach out to Dr. Nancy for advice and editing assistance.
To my pleasant surprise, Dr. Nancy not only provided excellent editing services, but really guided me past the dissertation finish line. She provided excellent direction and outstanding editing; but also gave me so much encouragement and support. Without her assistance I would not have finished my dissertation nor my doctorate. She believed in my research and also believed that I was worthy and deserving of my doctoral degree.
Since I completed my degree in 2018, Dr. Nancy and I continue to work together to publish, and she continues to push me to achieve professional success.
I highly recommend Dr. Nancy for doctoral support, direction, mentoring, and editing and structural advice for dissertations and publishing.
Dr. Dawn Adams-Harmon
It was at the latter part of my doctoral program that I was introduced to Doctor Nancy.
Though, I was determined to finish my dissertation, Dr. Nancy was the instrument of reassurance I needed to make the completion of my dissertation possible.
What I admire most in her mentoring style was her mannerism, prayerfulness and her belief in my ability to succeed. “Are you available to talk? I have revised the problem statement that you emailed to me and need to speak to you about it”, Dr. Nancy wrote at the onset on our doctoral journey together.
More importantly, she encourages scholarship by enjoining me to- “search and see if you can find any studies that have used the health belief model in CAM studies.” Even after graduation, she has remained a great mentor by sending information on programs that will help me move forward with my academic career.
Those are qualities you hardly find and those are qualities that endeared Dr. Nancy to my heart.
God bless her and her good intentions.