Editor’s Note: This month we continue our series highlighting faculty favorites based on feedback from the University of Arizona Global Campus students and alumni.
A longtime teacher and advocate for early childhood education (ECE), Dr. Tisha Shipley’s interest in education blossomed in grade school thanks to an influential teacher named Mrs. Wiersig
“She was so passionate about teaching,” recalls Dr. Shipley, program chair for the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education in the College of Education at the University of Arizona Global Campus. “I wanted to be just like her!”
Dr. Shipley also credits her native state of Oklahoma with cultivating her career path.
“Living there helped me become more involved,” says Dr. Shipley. “Oklahoma is one of the leaders of ECE, with it being one of the few states with universal Pre-K when I started teaching in 2003.”
Born, raised, and educated in the small town of Alva, Oklahoma, Dr. Shipley studied ECE and elementary education/administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) in Alva, receiving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees there. She later went on to receive her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Northcentral University.
After college, Dr. Shipley initially taught Pre-K, kindergarten, and gifted and talented students in Moore, Oklahoma. During that time, she also was a junior high cheer coach and elementary summer school principal. In the summer months, Dr. Shipley taught adjunct at NWOSU, and eventually became a full-time faculty member. She spent four years in that position before moving to Arkansas to head the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith’s ECE program. While in this role, Dr. Shipley wrote and was awarded a $1.5 million grant that made ECE resources available to teachers across the state. In 2014, Dr. Shipley joined Ashford University. Today, she lives and works from her home in Oklahoma City.
Once a Cheerleader, Always a Cheerleader
For 12 years, between fifth grade up through college, Dr. Shipley was a cheerleader. Although she no longer wears the uniform, she continues to embody that spirit and brings a supportive, enthusiastic energy and dedication to her work at the University.
“Making the move to teach online students is just what I wanted to do,” she says. “I want my students to know I am their biggest cheerleader and that I am so happy to be a part of their journey.”
Dr. Shipley is committed to developing and maintaining relationships with her students. She makes herself readily accessible to students, incorporating videos throughout her courses and communicating through chats, personalized emails, and daily office hours.
When it comes to prospective students who are interested in pursuing online education but who may be unclear on how to fit it into their daily lives, Dr. Shipley’s advice practically comes equipped with a megaphone and pom-poms:
“You can do this!” she affirms. “We are here to help you. You have to work hard to get where you are going,” she says. “Make goals and never look back.”
Dr. Shipley also has some words of encouragement for those struggling with time management: “Plan and work ahead,” she advises. “If you get a free minute, work ahead on your assignments, and you will never have to worry about your work being late or life getting in the way, as you will already have it completed.”
Getting to Know Dr. Shipley
Today, Dr. Shipley continues to draw from her experiences as a cheerleader, educator, and coach. Here she offers a bit more of a personal look inside her life and how her family, interests, and hobbies have shaped who she is as an instructor.
Dr. Tisha Shipley, bottom right, celebrates with her colleagues during commencement.
Global Campus: What are some of your favorite quotes or mottos to live by?
Dr. Shipley: “Education is something no one can ever take from you.”
“What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.”
“Always be a leader.”
Dr. Shipley, who once owned a decorating business, gets festive for the holiday season.
Global Campus: What are your other interests and passions outside your career?
Dr. Shipley: I love to shop, spend time with family and friends, and travel. I also enjoy watching my brother play basketball at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where he will graduate in May.
Dr. Shipley performs a toe touch during an All American Cheerleading competition, which she won.
Global Campus: What is one of the biggest learning moments in your personal life so far?
Dr. Shipley: That health is the most important thing that one can have. If I had a wish, it would be for everyone to be healthy.
Dr. Shipley enjoys a bonding moment with her brother on her wedding day.
Global Campus: How do you practice self-care?
Dr. Shipley: I like to spend time with my family and make sure that I take time for myself. I love to read and watch Netflix.
After auditioning for "The Bachelor," Dr. Shipley received some local press in Oklahoma.
Global Campus: What is your favorite book?
Dr. Shipley: "Who Moved my Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. I recommend it to everyone!
Tisha Shipley, left, with her biggest role model, her mom.
Global Campus: Who are your biggest role models?
Dr. Shipley: My mother. This may sound cliché, but I learned all of my hard work and dedication from her being a single mother and raising two children on her own. She said, “Always do your best, always be early, and be a leader.”
I also get support from my colleagues. We always jump in and help each other. I talk to them on a daily basis and consider them to be some of my very best friends. My teammate Stephanie Heald was in my wedding, and Jackie Kyger and his wife [also] attended.
Written by University Staff