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School of Education
Phone: 1-877-701-3800 ext.15855
Not many people would give up a job as an Air Force navigator for one in education, but for Dr. Jolly Holden, it wasn’t even a choice. After a decade of helping C-130s reach remote Micronesian and Polynesian Islands (he actually visited every island in both chains), Dr. Holden opted for his Ed.D. and a position as Chief of the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate Education Programs Division and Evaluation and Technology Branch. He’s never looked back.
Now retired from active Air Force duty, Dr. Holden has become one of the country’s greatest champions of—and experts on—distance learning. He gives keynote speeches and presentations at conferences around the country, serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Distance Learning Association, and is among a handful of individuals inducted into the federal government’s Distance Learning Hall of Fame and the United States Distance Learning Hall of Fame.
But Dr. Holden doesn’t just talk about distance learning, he’s in the virtual classroom every day. He is one of the original instructors in AIU Online’s Master of Education program. Over the years, he has taught six of the eight required classes to over 1,800 students. “Every course has been an adventure. I’ve probably learned as much from students as they’ve learned from me.”
Because he hasn’t always been in the classroom, Dr. Holden knows what students need for success in the real world. “In the marketplace, whether it’s a K-12, military, government, or corporate learning environment, employers focus on how you apply your knowledge. I and the other professors at AIU Online take the basic educational building blocks designed into the M.Ed. curriculum and then use our experience to show students how to apply that to real-world expectations and situations.”
“Our real-world experience helps students connect the dots. It answers the questions, 'So what?’ 'How am I going to use this?’ 'Why do I need to know this?’ A student asks me any of those, and I can give them an answer and an example on the spot.”
Dr. Holden doesn’t like to do anything slowly. Students who email him with questions can usually expect an answer within a few hours at most. Outside of the classroom, it is the same. Dr. Holden was a 400-meter runner—the toughest of the sprint races—in college and is a competitive runner in 5Ks today. He has done a few marathons but complains his times, usually in the 3:30 to 3:40 range, are “too slow.”
“I like going fast. Plus, I’ll never be able to compare to my mother. She’s 81, has over 500 races under her belt, founded the Kauai Marathon and is still running today. Now that’s what I call perseverance.”