Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The [Current] Starting Point

Written by: on September 1, 2021

Reading and writing have been emphasized in my life since a young age. I feel fortunate that both of my parents excel in these areas and were intentional with my development in them. My parents would reward me for reading a series of books with the corresponding doll and I remember playing typing games on the computer to increase my speed and accuracy. They were skills that were valued, encouraged, and made to be enjoyable. I had wonderful teachers that expanded those skillsets into teaching me how to think critically about subjects, to organize my thoughts and those of authors, to write for the academy, and take ownership of the work I produced. Never dreaming I would be pursuing my doctoral degree I now find myself looking back with much appreciation for those who equipped me for this season and anticipate the ways in which I will continue to develop during this doctoral training.

I read quickly. Both my undergraduate and graduate degrees assisted in honing this skill for academic capacities, but my love of getting lost in a story was the catalyst for an early relationship with reading often. Perhaps it was the desire to escape parts of the reality that I was living that made books – the characters, new locations, and wrapped up endings – so appealing to me. Regardless, the more I have read, the faster I have become. Note taking has progressed from simply recording direct quotes of authors to later insert them into an essay to engaging with the content in deeper and more critical thinking capacities. This is an area that I would like to fully immerse myself into growing further while in doctoral training as I often find myself timid to question the authority of an author or allow myself to fully disagree with any given point. Forcing myself to consistently practice analytical reading throughout this program will no doubt impact how I read and process the information presented. My hope is that just as much as I appreciate and value interaction that does not simply agree but purposefully challenges all parties, that I would become freer to do that as I engage with other authors and field experts.

The weakest area at this stage is my writing. My undergraduate and graduate degrees were not ones that required significant researched writing. With a BA in Sociology and MBA concentrating in nonprofit management, I was writing to submit grants, to train employees and volunteers, to produce annual reports and updates for board meetings. I found over this last year that asking for the input of those who did not have a foundational understanding of my NPO highlighted the weaknesses in my writing and aided towards an elevated final paper. I hope that the training and critical feedback from others who have gone before will strengthen my own writing over the course of these next two years and bring with it an increased confidence in what I have to offer to others in my field.

About the Author

Kayli Hillebrand

Associate Dean of International and Experiential Education

6 responses to “The [Current] Starting Point”

  1. mm Andy Hale says:

    I think your courage to ask others to give insight into your writing is powerful; What better way to truly broaden your capacity than by seeing new perspectives from another point of view. I’m sure they are also reinforcing your strengths and gifts too.

    • Kayli Hillebrand says:

      Thanks Andy. And to top it off, my best editor tends to be my husband which could be a bit tricky at times on a relational front. By the end of last semester, it was amazing to see the transformation throughout a few drafts of the paper.

  2. Elmarie Parker says:

    Kayli, thank you for sharing your journey and the questions you are asking yourself at this time, especially around the issues of questioning an author or challenging a particular viewpoint. I’m also hoping to grow in cultivating my own voice in the areas I hope to develop deeper expertise. I’d love to talk with you about your MBA in nonprofit management. Developing a nonprofit is a direction I’m leaning in right now.

  3. mm Nicole Richardson says:

    Kayli, I am sort of envious of the foundation you had in reading lol. What a beautiful journey!! Your vulnerability of sharing your reluctance to challenge authority is awe inspiring. One of the things I too wrestle with is this notion that I might have a valid point to raise when reading “experts”. Thank you for putting that on the table! I look forward to the wisdom you have to share as we engage the books we read and the papers we write.

  4. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Kayli, like Nicole I am envious of your foundations in reading and writing. I come from a family of game players and doers. My Mom’s source of reading was the Reader’s Digest. I look forward drawing from your reading resources.

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