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Dr. William Fridley

Dr. William Fridley


"My uncle Jim used to tell me 'get what you can and can what you get!' That always struck me as a vibrant and robust approach to life. It may also have ignited my lifelong love of wordplay."

Degrees held:

  • PhD in Education – Ohio State University, 1996
  • Master of Theology – Grace Theological Seminary, 1991
  • Master of Divinity – Grace Theological Seminary, 1990
  • BS in Education – Ohio State University, 1984

Career highlights:

  • Working with the Faculty Senate, contributing to improvements in academic policy and shared governance at SOSU.
  • Faculty advocacy with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). A founding member of SOSU's AAUP chapter, and in 2016 was elected as secretary of the Assembly of State Conferences, a national umbrella organization of the AAUP.
  • Giving presentations is my strong suit. I've given scores of presentations at scholarly conferences and events, locally and nationally. I'm particularly proud of presentations that I adapt to a variety of contexts on such topics as Plato's theory of recollection, John Dewey, pragmatism and jazz, and the existential Grand Canyon.
  • Received the Faculty Senate Recognition Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001) and for Meritorious Service to the University and the Profession (2016).

In which online degree program(s) do you teach?

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction – General

Which classes do you teach online?

History and Philosophy of Education, and Professionalism, Reflection and Ethical Practice

What do you want your students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?

To become acquainted with and draw from the rich history of educational thought and practice in order to develop those habits of mind and heart (Israel Scheffler called them cognitive emotions) that fuel good teaching. We can't give what we don't have.

What's the best advice that you have ever received?

My uncle Jim used to tell me "get what you can and can what you get!" That always struck me as a vibrant and robust approach to life. It may also have ignited my lifelong love of wordplay.

What's the best advice that you could give your students?

To paraphrase the book of Hebrews, wisdom and understanding are the rewarders of those that diligently seek them. Someone told me that "music is a jealous art." I took that to mean that music—or any worthy pursuit—is not going to reveal its secrets to the casual dabbler. "Love of learning is seldom unrequited," Arnold H. Glasow.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

So many books and so little time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X is well worth reading.

What qualities make someone particularly successful in education?

I'm fond of these tips for success that I adapted from my granddaddy:

  • Read the text (the universe is the text)
  • Do your homework
  • Call 'em as you see 'em
  • Pay close attention to what happens
  • Then review

A sense of humor goes a long way as well.

Links to share?

SOSU faculty webpage and Vitae

Tell us something that your students might find interesting, something they may not know about you.

I play guitar, write songs, and collaborate with my wife Carolyn in musical recording and other creative projects. Carolyn teaches in the EHL Department at SOSU and was recently named as the first coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Liberal and Applied Studies program. She is also actively involved in the AAUP. Being married to someone who shares interests and passion for our work makes the great gig of being a professor even sweeter!

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