Roszella Offord’s doctorate sets example for family, LSCPA campus

Published 12:25 am Thursday, May 7, 2020

Roszella Offord, Ed.D, Director of Online Learning at Lamar State College Port Arthur, completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership this spring, at the same time she was leading the school’s transition from classroom classes to online classes mandated by the covid-19 pandemic.

Why does a working mom with a highly regarded job put in the extra time, work and worry to get a doctorate degree?
Offord did it to prove to others that they can.

“I didn’t do it for any reason other than wanting to become an example of what is possible, especially for African American girls,” she said. “Sometimes the best example is to be the example.”

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Offord completed work on her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership degree at Lamar University in April.

She is among the first generation in her family to earn a college degree and the first to have a doctorate.

“Although my parents are the most intellectual and creative humans I know, I saw first-hand how not having a college degree impacted career options and financial gains,” she said.

Born in Orange and educated at Lamar University, Offord has always had a passion for drawing and creating images that make words come to life.

She teamed up with her sister, educational diagnostician and special education teacher Melondy Roberson, on a series of children’s books.

Roberson writes and Offord illustrates the “Adriann” series about a second grader who takes a stand against life’s challenges.

Offord’s dissertation topic was “Examining the Perspectives of African-American Women regarding Upward Mobility in Higher Education.”

“My professional expertise is in Online Learning and Educational Technology, and I did begin work on my dissertation with a topic concerning online learning,” she said. “But as I was working on it, I had an internal calling to do something that I felt was more meaningful.

“I wanted to examine the plight of African American women in higher education. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive tackling diversity in higher education leadership. I was warned that bringing truth to unspoken issues may make people uncomfortable. At some point, I decided to be fearless and speak to issues that are often pushed under the rug.”

Offord is one of more than 20 LSCPA faculty members and department heads to have attained a doctorate degree.

While she was preparing to defend her dissertation, she was also leading LSCPA’s changeover from classroom instruction to online instruction made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing it required.