Communications Professional Nearing Milestone in Lifelong Learning Pursuit

Herschel Hartfort
Despite never having completed his degree, Herschel Hartford has always adhered to the philosophy that learning is lifelong and varied.

“Education has always been an important part of my life,” he said. “I’ve studied theater, I’ve studied business, I’ve studied human resources, a little bit of this and a little bit of that all the way through. I went to school part-time various places, full-time various places for a little bit, but every time money and life and obstacles kept me from completing those degrees.”

Along the way, he also built a career. Hartford, of Fayetteville, currently works for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Department of Communications and teaches social media and technology for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. One day at work, he saw information about the University of Arkansas System eVersity cross his desk and was intrigued.

“I thought, I’ll check it out and see,” he said. “I clicked on the link and looked at the programs they offered and decided to take a step forward and take another stab at it.”

Rather than be left on his own to forge a path to a degree, Hartford was immediately connected to an advisor, an integral component of the eVersity process.

“My advisor started talking to me about what I’d studied, where I’d studied, those sorts of things,” Hartford said. “They said, ‘Let’s take a look at your transcripts and we can see what we can do to help you reach that goal.’ They came up with a degree plan for me, offered me a lot of opportunities to choose.”

Hartford had tried online courses before and was pleasantly surprised at what eVersity offered compared to the others. “The cost was so much more affordable than any other program I had been a part of,” he said. “You can onboard in midstream with the way their courses are structured. You can drop in at various points in time during the year rather than having to start in the fall or spring. You can get started right away and that was something that was very helpful.”

And the one-on-one, personalized experience that eVersity was built to offer was key.

“The other thing that set eVersity apart was this is the most personalized educational experience I’ve had since I went to a small liberal arts college 35 years ago,” he said “The advisors, the financial aid folks, the instructors all have been very helpful and very personal in terms of that.”

Today, Hartford is just a couple classes short of finally finishing the bachelor’s degree that has eluded him for decades. He said he would readily encourage anyone with a similar dream to look into the eVersity program.

“Take the time to click on the link or call the number and talk with the people in the advising office, talk with the people in the financial aid office,” he said. “They are there to help you. They’re not just there to drive new business. These are people who care about your education. Make that step forward and do something that is a value not only to you and the people you work with, but a value to your community and to our state as well.”