Focus on Leadership

"We can model and teach adaptability, shaping our educational processes to accommodate all paths to success in learning."
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Mary Beckkham, Ed.D.
College of the Canyons
Santa Clarital
CSU/UCI Alumna

Beginning with her undergraduate years at UC Irvine and continuing through a master’s degree in Education at Harvard University, Dr. Meri Beckham loved being at college. Throughout her life experiences with family, careers, and education she found herself drawn again and again to the college environment.

"Eventually I realized I could be at college every day in a career working with college students."

Completion of the CSU Long Beach master’s degree in Counseling: Student Development in Higher Education was the first step in an exciting journey. Dr. Beckham drew on her fascination with cognitive, psychosocial, and personality development as she counseled and taught. She has enjoyed roles in academic advising, student support services, community college counseling, and postbaccalaureate faculty.

Dr. Beckham became increasingly concerned, however, as she observed indicators of low academic self esteem in some students in postsecondary educational settings. During her years in the CSU/UCI Joint Doctoral Program, she studied the academic habits and strategies of students who identified with the Myers-Briggs psychological type characteristic of Perceiving. Typically adaptable, spontaneous, and time-flexible, Perceiving students comprise almost 50% of college student populations. Dr. Beckham found that successful Perceiving students, who were learning well and earning fine grades, nevertheless often wondered if they were studying, writing, or using their time at college appropriately. They compared themselves to the conventional ideal standards for college success in organization, time management, study skills, and a variety of academic behaviors. Despite the pervasive popular prescriptions for determining desired outcomes, dividing work into small chunks, and finishing well before deadlines, Perceiving students often work very differently. They effectively use bursts of energy, with tasks often completed in one sitting and only when the timing is right. Dr. Beckham documented evidence of a remarkable way of thinking and acting in college and throughout life. She developed Momentum Theory to explain the underlying rationale for those behaviors that may seem unconventional to some, but are efficient and valuable for Perceiving individuals.

In August 2011, Dr. Beckham was awarded the Isabel Briggs Myers Memorial Research Award from the Association for Psychological Type International, in a ceremony at their biennial international conference. An article based on her dissertation study, Unconventional Learning: How Perceiving Students Succeed in College, has been submitted in consideration for publication in the Journal of Psychological Type. 

Dr. Beckham continues her research with the goal of reshaping ideas about what is required to be a successful college student and a successful human being. She sends a message of hope and encouragement to all who may (sometimes secretly) use time and space in unconventional ways.

Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own. [Carl Gustav Jung]

Dr. Beckham currently is the Nursing Counselor & Nursing Retention Specialist at College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita. In addition to her Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership, she holds a M.Ed. from Harvard, a M.S. from California State University, Long Beach, a B.S. from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a B.A. from UC Irvine.