tracking pixel
Doctor of Business Administration

Lori Sundberg

Lori Sundberg photo


Carl Sandburg College

"To advance in higher education, I needed a doctorate. Several years as an educator and administrator had taught me a lot about college leadership. However, what I wanted was a program that could teach me about organizational management. With a focus on management research and scholarship, the DBA was the right fit."

reality career reflection

How to succeed

"Don't be intimidated, just start. I was overwhelmed at first as well. You never know what will come up with your job or family, so I always worked ahead. That's the key to balancing both the program and your life."

Several years of experience as an educator and administrator have made Lori adept in marketing, grant writing, research, human resources, negotiations, and administrative and academic services. As the vice president of academic services at Carl Sandburg College, she supervised academic programming, community and corporate relations and provided leadership to the program review process and student outcome assessment committees, as well as the institutional research and human resources functions. However, earning a doctorate enhanced her opportunities at achieving a presidency.

With undergraduate degrees in economics and history from Knox College and an MBA from Western Illinois University under her belt, Lori enrolled at Ambrose and became a member of the first graduating class of the DBA program. Seven years later, Lori was appointed the sixth president of Carl Sandburg.

In her own words

Why Ambrose?

I visited several universities when researching doctorate programs. Ambrose had the right mix of scholarship, academic research and practical application. Another reason I chose the program was for its flexibility. I could keep working and earn the degree.

What were the classes like?

Most of the courses are arranged under the seminar approach; students do readings and discuss them. I always looked forward to class. It was our time away from our jobs and families, when we could think critically about the research. I never expected to do so much research. We read an average of 300-400 pages a week. It was difficult reading. However, once I got a rhythm, I looked forward to the readings.

My colleagues came from a variety of industries, from small, private institutions to large corporations like Deere & Company. We formed a tight-knit group and still keep in contact. It's a network that I'm pleased to say I'm a part of.

What new skills did you gain in the program?

I devoted most of my research to organizational behavior and human resources. What I know about employee motivation, group dynamics and organizational culture is enormously helpful in my career. I learned how to think critically about my role and how I approach things within the organization.

What was your dissertation topic?

The use of proactive coping skills and organizational and personal outcomes. Proactive copers plan ahead and develop support systems for themselves. I surveyed the nurses at OSF St. Mary Medical Center who have high-stress jobs and long hours. I found that the nurses who used proactive coping skills had higher job satisfaction and tended to be absent less with improved job performance.

Dr. Monica Forret was my dissertation chair. We discussed this topic in her human resources class. It was a topic of interest for both of us. We communicated frequently through email and with in-person meetings.

Related Links