Oklahoma professor fulfils her dreams at Swansea University

University of Central Oklahoma adjunct professor of English Rose Neal, PhD became the first UCO Jackson College of Graduate Studies student to earn her PhD through the Swansea@UCO programme.

Rose received her PhD during the Swansea University Degree and Award Congregations which took place in the Great Hall at the new Bay Campus today (18 July).

For nearly two decades, former Deer Creek High School teacher and University of Central Oklahoma adjunct professor of English Rose Neal has been urging her students to chase their dreams — and Rose Neal, 53, hopes that her latest accomplishment will show her students that it’s never too late to do just that.

Dr Rose Neal Dr Neal is the first student to complete a PhD under the Swansea@UCO programme which pairs faculty members at Swansea with faculty members at UCO to mentor students through the PhD programme. The programme offers doctoral studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Students earn the degree from Swansea, but work with advisers from both universities.

UCO Provost John Barthell, PhD., said: “We are very pleased to see the positive impact that the Swansea programme is having on our students. After four years and over a dozen students soon to be enrolled in the programme, it is wonderful to recognize this milestone event for both Rose and our institution.”

Rose earned her master’s degree in English from UCO in 2012. Her work focused on 19th century American literature — specifically the writings of novelist E.D.E.N. Southworth — and once completed, she wanted to continue her studies of the author.

With school-aged children and teaching responsibilities, Rose knew that a traditional classroom-based PhD programme would have put too great a strain on her family and work, making her the very sort of student the Swansea@UCO programme was designed for — place-bound students who are unable to relocate or commute to regular classes.

Rose said: “I really liked the idea of a programme that wouldn’t require me to travel daily or several times per week — but after I got into the programme, I found it so rich in opportunities.

“From my fellow students in the programme to the research opportunities that I had, the Swansea programme offers a completely different cultural perspective than I knew. I was able to see the world way that I never would have otherwise.”

Rose called her experience with the programme life-changing, adding that between her UCO adviser, Pamela Washington, PhD, Dean of UCO’s College of Fine Arts and Design, and her Swansea adviser, Caroline Franklin, PhD, a professor of English language and literature, she felt fully supported throughout her 3-year journey to her doctorate.

Not only did Rose complete the programme she also created a Student Guide for future students of this programme.

“Rose was an outstanding student  who returned to complete her PhD after a long career in public education in Oklahoma. Both of her advisers have said she was an ideal hard-working student.

“We believe that Rose will be just the first of many Oklahomans who, under the co-supervision of distinguished Swansea and UCO faculty, will meet the high standards of a British PhD degree,” added Richard Bernard, PhD, Dean of UCO’s Jackson College of Graduate Studies.