Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Turning lifelong learning into professional development

Cindy Tengler stands on the stairs leading to the library foyer.
Initially daunted by the thought of getting her master’s, Human Resources Manager Cindy Tengler ’18, ’19 has since completed three programs at U of R.

Cindy Tengler ’18 ’19, human resources manager at the University of Redlands, has always enjoyed learning new things. But it wasn’t until she joined the University in 2016 that she found out just how much of a lifelong learner she was. By taking advantage of the free tuition that the U of R offers its employees for study related to their work—she earned a Master of Arts in Management (MAM) in 2018 and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) soon after, in 2019.

Tengler, a first-generation college graduate, was initially daunted by the prospect of going back to school. “Before I started the MAM program, I had only taken a handful of college courses since graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in 1990,” she explains.

Learning leadership at the School of Business

However, finishing one master’s degree, with classes offered in the evenings, made starting the MSOL program less intimidating. “When the MSOL program was introduced in 2019, it intrigued me. Effective leadership skills are critical in organizations today, and the courses in the MSOL program hit so many important components of leadership,” she says.

Apart from meeting new people and forging great friendships, Tengler says learning from so many U of R faculty members has been rewarding. “Eva Rose, my first professor, helped me work through the intimidation of starting a master’s program at my age. Under Marcus Castro, my writing skills really improved. In the MSOL program, Allison Fraiberg and Tracy West both taught me about using creativity while communicating and leading others.”

Another highlight was taking a purposeful leadership course co-facilitated by the Senecal Endowed School of Business Dean Thomas Horan and Professor Neena Gopalan. “It was about leading an organization while focusing on yourself, your team, your organization, and the impact your organization has on society,” Tengler says. “The program was phenomenal, and I am glad I was able to participate.” 

While she’s proud of the hard work she put in to complete both of her master’s degrees, Tengler acknowledges it would not have been possible without the University’s commitment to educating employees.

Many offerings through School of Continuing Studies

In spring 2021, the U of R tuition remission policy expanded to allow full-time employees to take courses in the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) or to pursue a certificate.

The SCS offers a robust catalog of courses in accounting, business location analytics, mental health and spirituality, LGBTQ leadership, and nonprofit management, as well as a summer program of classes (starting June 14) ranging from biology and business law to world history. “This makes so much sense, considering our focus is on educating students,” Tengler says.

“By expanding tuition remission benefits for programs in all schools, including the School of Continuing Studies, the University is reaffirming its commitment to support and promote professional development, making it easy for our employees to fulfill their personal goals,” says Vice President for Administration Michelle Rogers.

Tengler’s HR work involves managing tuition benefits for employees, so she often gives U of R staff who are considering going back to school this advice: “Do it and do not think twice about it!”

She knows what she’s talking about, after all; by the end of June, Tengler will complete the Project Management certificate program at SCS—her third program at Redlands. She predicts it will not be her last U of R degree. “If the University introduces a doctoral program for the School of Business, I can see myself enrolling in that program!”

Learn more about U of R programs at the School of Business and School of Continuing Studies, as well as the School of Education, Graduate School of Theology, or College of Arts and Sciences.