CSU students prove it’s possible to thrive while earning your degree and working full time

Colorado State University makes it possible for professionals to climb the ranks within their organizations without ever taking a break from their job. Meet two students in the organizational, leadership, performance, and change master’s program who are doing just that.

“I wasn’t willing to give up my livelihood…”

Pattie found her passion when she helped her organization navigate a merger that increased the number of employees from 4,000 to 75,000. When she decided to go back to school, she wasn’t willing to leave the career she had worked so hard to build.

See how Pattie was able to earn a master’s from CSU while working full time.


A 4-month stint of working overseas? No problem.

Elise had already started her OLPC program when she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Should she give up her degree or let a chance for professional growth slip by? By taking classes online with CSU, she didn’t have to choose.

Hear her story.


When students like Pattie and Elise entered the OLPC program, they joined a national network of professionals. Alumni from the online program have been employed at Frontier Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Time Warner, Verizon, XCEL Energy, and other nationally recognized corporations. Whether they’re working in business, military, medical, or nonprofit organizations, many students kept their full time schedules while earning their degrees online.

Tom Chermack, Associate Professor and Founder and Director of the Scenario Planning Institute, explained, “Our students come from all sorts of different backgrounds, including psychology, business, sociology, and an increasing variety of industries such as energy, engineering, manufacturing, and healthcare. We really have an eclectic and interesting group of students. The common thread that brings them all to our program is a need to manage individual, team, process, and organizational issues in their organizations – the applied nature is critical and all of our students have access to organizations in which they can experiment with tools and techniques.”

The OLPC master’s was designed to be relevant and immediately useful to working students. As Pattie explained, “I was able to pull example after example from my daily work life. So it was nice that a lot of what I was doing at work was transferrable to my coursework. And vice versa.”

Along with the program’s applicability, the online delivery format makes it convenient for students to study outside of work hours. When Elise was offered an opportunity to live and work in the Philippines for several months, she brought her studies along. She said, “Having an online degree program gives that flexibility, to where I can do my school work at any time, anywhere, with my computer and internet.”

The organizational leadership, performance, and change program offers an online master’s degree and a Denver-based Ph.D. program. Students learn to diagnose workplace problems, enhance performance, and implement real and lasting change in organizations. Learn more about online programs at Colorado State University.