Faculty Profile: Randy Holt
“Don’t give up.” “Don’t be shy.” “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” Randy Holt’s advice to students is vast and supportive. He may be a technology instructor for Excelsior College, but he has more to teach his students than just technology.
Holt has been with Excelsior since 2015, and teaches Technology in Society, which covers technological change from historical, artistic, and philosophical perspectives, and its effect on human needs and concerns. In addition to his teaching background, he supervises the Distributed Controls Group at Dominion Energy, Cove Point LNG in Lusby, Md. “In my 14 years of service at the facility, I’ve served as an operator and a controls technician,” says Holt. He earned a MS in National Cybersecurity Policy and an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Holt understands the difficulties of the adult learner. He knows that coursework takes time and recommends students do not take on too much at once for fear of burning themselves out. He says, “Prior to signing up for a course, think about the lifestyle you want to maintain while you are engaging in your coursework and ensure you can manage the balance.”
He also recommends students take advantage of what Excelsior has to offer, particularly pointing out the free writing resources like the Online Writing Lab. “Being able to write and communicate effectively is very important, particularly in the work place,” says Holt. He notes that working on assignments earlier in the week can be helpful because you can have someone else proofread your work. Oftentimes, having a second set of eyes makes all the difference.” He admits that technology is evolving at a rapid pace, but this can mean more opportunities for collaboration with other students. Holt tells students to reach out to fellow group members when working in groups. “Don’t be shy! The earlier you get involved in the process, the more successful you will be. Don’t sit back and wait for people to contact you,” he says.
Personal connections are not just beneficial for educational reasons. Holt’s networking advice to students is to use established relationships to create new opportunities. “Remember, always be pleasant to those you encounter. If people understand that you are good with people, they will be more likely to hire you,” he says.
For those students looking for jobs, Holt says to never give up and to keep applying. “It may take time and it will definitely take lots of energy, but don’t give up,” he says. He reminds students that to land a dream job, they may have to relocate, but to not count that out. Sometimes it will be end up being a great opportunity. And, within the workplace, Holt says to “trust but verify.” His advice is to “be sure to preform your own independent analysis prior to relying on the recollection, or word, of others.” He also reminds students to never be afraid to ask questions.
In his spare time, Holt can be found spending time with his wife Christie and their two Goldendoodle dogs. It’s clear his passion is helping his students; when asked what he loves most about teaching for Excelsior, he says, “I really enjoy learning about the various backgrounds of the students.” If anything is for certain, it’s that his students enjoy learning from him, too.