I believe in higher education’s role for the success of civilization, so I want to do what I can to further the operation and ultimate success of this important enterprise.

Michael Ponton, Ed.D.
Professor

  • Faculty
Higher Education and Learning Technology
Office
Young Education North 102
Hometown
Newport News, VA

Michael Ponton, Ed.D., began his adult working life as an engineer after studying physics and mechanical engineering at the undergraduate level. He spent most of his early career performing experiments on supersonic jet flows at the NASA-Langley Research Center studying turbulence, noise generation and methods of acoustic suppression; vital to both military and commercial aircraft. To this end, he earned a master's degree in aeroacoustics and performed some doctoral level work in engineering as well.

Eventually, his personal and professional interests evolved into the study of higher education administration. He earned a Doctor of Education degree while still working as a full-time NASA engineer. His 4-year transition period from engineer to educator happened at the University of Mississippi. After 16 years as a professor at Regent University, he is quite happy to complete his career at A&M-Commerce!

A Conversation with Dr. Ponton

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

I would encourage them to attend! Since I began teaching here in fall 2019, I have met wonderful faculty and staff who are not only professionally competent but also friendly and concerned about student success. Thus, I think students at A&M-Commerce receive a fine education in a nurturing environment.

What draws you to your discipline?

I believe in higher education's role for the success of civilization, so I want to do what I can to further the operation and ultimate success of this important enterprise. Specifically, though, I perform research and theorizing on human agency; that is, how people act intentionally to accomplish desired ends. This is precisely what I attempt to achieve in my teaching: the enablement of my students to be able to accomplish whatever they want to accomplish in life through learning.

What has been your favorite course to teach?

Although I have not been able to teach it yet at A&M-Commerce, I enjoyed teaching the history of higher education. To understand the current landscape of higher education truly requires an understanding of its past and subsequent evolution. I have participated in many meetings at the University of Oxford and truly enjoy learning about (often from my students!) American higher education's earliest beginnings.

Tell us about a project you are currently working on or recently completed.

For the past few years, I have begun to extend current theorizing on individual learner autonomy to group contexts. I believe that organizations as manifestations of particular values and abilities engage in intentional learning activities essential for evaluation and decision making. This emerging dialogue may prove useful to improve organizational performance.

Educational Background

Awards and Honors

Research Interests

  • Learner autonomy
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Human agency

Professional Organizations

Selected Publications

  • Ponton, M. K., & Carr, P. B. (Eds.). (2016). Autonomous and self-directed learning: Agentic perspectives. Watertree Press.
  • Ponton, M. K. (2021). A teaching strategy based upon a model of agentic learning. Journal of Studies in Education, 11(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.5296/jse.v11i1.18125
  • Ponton, M. K., & Carr, P. B. (2020). An exploratory study of the University of Oxford tutorial method regarding its relationship to learner autonomy. Global Journal of Educational Studies, 6(2), 10–17. https://doi.org/10.5296/gjes.v6i2.17400
  • Ponton, M. K. (2020). Group learning through the lens of learner autonomy. International Journal of Learning and Development, 10(2), 23–35. https://doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v10i2.17144
  • Ponton, M. K. (2019). Organizational behavior and agency: A conceptual analogy with individual agency. International Journal of Education and Social Science Research, 2(5), 185–191. http://ijessr.com/uploads2019/ijessr_02_210.pdf
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