Passion to learn


Ashley Johansen Ph.D.

Ashley Johansen Ph.D. relates well to the working adults in her classes, because she's been there.

Johansen engages students who take longer to ‘figure out our callings’

As a high school graduate, Ashley Johansen Ph.D., director of degree-completion programs in business at Bluffton University, had no idea what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. So, she took a few classes at community college, switched to a trade school and worked. After developing an interest in business and accounting, she returned to college as an adult student to complete her bachelor’s degree.

“I had a passion for learning, but it took me a little longer to figure out what was right for me,” Johansen explained. “For some of us, it takes a few more years to figure out our callings.”

Because of her non-traditional college experience, Johansen easily relates to the working adults in her classes.

“I love teaching adult students. Everyone is engaged in the discussion and excited to learn,” she said. “It seems like life starts rolling at 18, but not everyone knows exactly what they want out of life at that time. It’s a tremendous accomplishment for these students to invest in their future and return to the classroom.”

At Bluffton, degree-completion students take classes one night a week via Zoom. The videoconferencing technology offers the convenience of joining class from any location while also providing a structured learning environment.

“The Zoom approach is different than anything else I’ve seen in online programs. Our program is in-time, it’s collaborative and our professors are truly there for you,” said Johansen. “You have the feel of the face-to-face option while also being able to learn from the comfort of your office or your home.” 

Prior to joining Bluffton’s faculty in August of 2020, Johansen taught college-level accounting and management classes for seven years. In February, she successfully defended her dissertation and earned her Ph.D. from Capella University.

At Bluffton, Johansen’s favorite classes to teach focus on leadership and organizational management, and she’s excited to promote that Bluffton’s degree-completion program in business is now SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) aligned. This means students completing Bluffton’s program are eligible to apply for the SHRM-CP exam and become certified professionals in human resources.

“The educational need in northwest Ohio just keeps growing, and employers want the liberal arts education we offer,” said Johansen. “They want students who can understand a topic, see the different facets it and creatively come up with a solution. That’s where our students shine.”

Class via Zoom

Degree-completion programs

Bluffton offers three distinct cohort-based online programs to help working adults complete a bachelor's degree.