john lybargerGrantham University’s online education programs attract faculty members who support the military and are dedicated to serving their students. Adjunct faculty member Lieutenant Colonel John Lybarger has over 24 years of law enforcement experience, along with a master’s degree in organizational business security management, and we had the opportunity to interview him.

With a heart for service and a desire to make Grantham a great place for students to learn, Lybarger created Grantham’s Emergency Planners course and has been teaching as a faculty member in the criminal justice department since 2014.
Grantham University: What brought you to Grantham?
John Lybarger: I had previous teaching experience at the University of Maryland, University College, and I found out that Grantham University had a great reputation as a higher education facility for our men and women of the Armed Forces. I knew a Grantham adjunct faculty member, and he assisted me with becoming a part of the team.
GU: What do you like best about being an instructor at Grantham?
JL:The best part about working with the faculty at Grantham University is their willingness to assist you as a faculty member on anything you need, and the passion everyone has for making Grantham a great place to learn for the students.
GU: How do you provide support to your students?
JL: As an adjunct criminal justice faculty member, I manage multiple courses within the criminal justice program. I establish the information for the courses I am assigned to manage, create announcements to the students enrolled, assist with student questions and comments, grade and review assignments, provide credible feedback and post final grades, all while ensuring each student has the tools needed to be successful in my courses.
Grantham University: How does a degree from Grantham help people accomplish their goals?
JL: Education is confidence, confidence promotes self-esteem and self-esteem is a key contributor to being successful. Each student walks away with a little more self-confidence after each course they complete.
GU: Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about going back to school?
JL: The best advice I have is to not be overly aggressive within your first year. Don’t eat the elephant in one bite! Most of my students have families, full-time jobs and additional commitments. I have found that those who take it slow at first usually get the time management aspect of going back to school down and maintain their success moving forward.
GU: Do you have a particular research concentration? Give us some highlights of your research.
JL: I am fascinated with emergency management and emergency action planning. I was stationed at Fort Polk, La., in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina and Rita devastated the state. I then served as a military outreach liaison following the effects of Hurricane Sandy along the east coast in 2012. I have seen firsthand what a disaster can do to a community and how different the effects are on those who were prepared and on those who were not.
GU: What is your proudest accomplishment?
JL: My proudest accomplishment is becoming a father, and even after 24 years of Army and police training, it is still the scariest thing I do on a daily basis.
GU: What are you most passionate about? What drives you in life?
JL: My father worked as a janitor at a highway rest area, and he delivered newspapers and pizzas on the side to pay for my $100 football cleats each season. He never missed anything I participated in, and I have always been so proud of him. I want my daughter to feel the same way about me someday. I want to be her hero, and someone she is proud to call “dad.” She knows sometimes I have to go away for periods of time, and she has been to and even participated in the police training that I do. I want her and her mother to know I did what I did to protect them and that when I wasn’t doing that, I was home spending time with them.
GU: What do you think is the most interesting thing about you?
JL: The most interesting thing about me isn’t that I stand 6 feet 4 inches tall and weigh 300 pounds … or that I earned a college football scholarship to pay for my college education … or that I have spent 24 years serving in the Army as a police officer and have been deployed to countries around the world. It’s that I won my first car in a karaoke contest … it’s that I was in the “All State” choir in high school … and it’s that even though I am 42 years old, I still sing for my grandma in church on Sunday morning when she asks.
GU: If someone were to tell your story, what would you want this person to relay about you?
JL: The number one thing I would want [the listener to know] is that I always put others first, and I never quit anything. I may not have always been the best at something, but I never quit. I would want the listener to know that after 20 years of marriage, I still love my wife the same way I did when I was 18. I would want the listener to know that despite losing our son at birth, my daughter was born a year later and has since made me the happiest father on the planet. I would want the listener to know that I tried my best to “never worry about the wrong stuff” and, most importantly, that I always tried my best to live like the Christian man my parents raised me to be.
GU: Do you have any advice that could help the type of students taking your classes?
JL: Just remember that life is about choices, and that sometimes the best choices are not the ones that are right today, but the ones that are going to be right tomorrow or years down the road.

I can’t tell you how many times I have sacrificed a deadline … because I felt my place was with someone I loved. [That could have been] a fishing weekend with my dad, or taking the family to a water park despite knowing that I should be home preparing something for work. Those are the kinds of choices that will make your legacy; those are the kinds of choices someone will remember — not whether you made a million dollars in the first 30 years of your life.

Eat a cold meal once in a while in order to take your kids to practice, and lose a few hours of sleep if it means helping your wife pick up the house once everyone has gone to bed. Clean a dish without being told to and put the smart phone down for an evening to make sure you still know how to talk to the ones you love.
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John Lybarger is one of many Grantham faculty members who is committed to helping you make good choices for your future. Just like him, we want you to create a legacy that your family and children can be proud of. Make a choice that will positively impact your life — learn all about what Grantham University’s degree programs can offer. Contact us today to get started!

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