Week 1 of 130: The Start of my Doctoral Journey (BMAL 700)

Doctorate of Strategic Leadership program Robert Forto

Hello and welcome!

If you are new here, thank you for checking out my blog. A quick bio:

My name is Robert Forto and I live in the wilds of Alaska with a pack of 38 sled dogs. I own and operate a dog training company where we train dogs from all over the country for service and therapy work. I am also on adjunct faculty at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University, where I teach outdoor leadership classes.

In May of 2020, I finished my Master of Sports Management here at Liberty University and for my internship, I planned and executed a 700-mile expedition across the state of Alaska with 13 people by dog team and snow machine that re-traced the 1925 Serum Run.

Mid-life in college and doctorate program journey! Click To Tweet

Each summer, my wife, Michele, who is also a master’s degree student at Liberty, and I travel to the Lower 48 and do what we call the Rock n Roller Tour where we go to music festivals and ride roller coasters.

I am pursuing a Doctorate of Strategic Leadership for the challenge more than anything. Being self-employed and at (currently) 50 years old, I do not need this degree for career advancement but I am always looking for ways to continue to learn. Who knows, as I progress through the program I may find a higher calling.

My expectations are to be challenged and to learn and hopefully teach an old dog a new trick or two. Having been self-employed my entire life, I have always been my boss, manager, and decision-maker. I must challenge myself with new ideas and processes to take my business to the next level. I look forward to connecting with each of you and wish you well in your studies.

My research interests include: Using expedition leadership as a model in the corporate environment, and hope to use this for my applied research project in this program. Other project ideas are strategic management of small family-run firms and experiential learning for team building in a small firm. Also, I just recently partnered up with a SCUBA instructor to do a study on safety protocol for recreational diving. This project suits my interests in sports management as the recreational SCUBA diving industry has little to no safety protocols after a person is certified as a diver, which you only have to do once in your life. This is much needed in the industry.

The pic above is my team of sled dogs and me on a run around the block, as I call it. We have several hundred miles outside our back door, which is my slice of utopia.

One crucial fact before we go much further together. I am far from religious, and my choice to attend Liberty was for the program, not necessarily a Christian worldview. While I am faithful, I am not one you will find in a church every Sunday. I grew up in a family where we attended church for weddings and funerals, and that is about it.

The truth is, I struggle to find ways to incorporate scripture and biblical research in my academic work, and do you know what? That is okay. I am perfectly fine with it.

I bet you struggle at times too.

I am far from perfect, and I have had my share of bumps along the way. I have learned from my mistakes and hope to be a better man, father, community leader, and academic because of it.

All that being said, I am glad that you are here.



UPDATE November 2022:

This is an updated post I am writing in Week 78 of my doctorate program at Liberty University.

Over the last two years, I have taken eight classes: BMAL 700, 702, 703, 704, 710, 714, 716, and 727 and I wanted to do an update since a lot of people have been asking for a way to search my site for particular classes and/or topics. I am in the process of updating each post, and eventually, this will be a great place to find and share resources with my peers in the Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) program.

I want to give a huge shoutout to all of my peers that have been reading my posts as they navigate through this DSL journey.

You are right, and there are not a lot of resources out there.

While this blog is by no means a complete source, my hope is that fellow scholars can see my papers and maybe get a takeaway or two.

My goal has always been to upload my research papers and projects from the program as PDFs so that other scholars in the program can see what is expected. I don’t always get full points, but at 50 years old, I learned long ago that there is no reason to strive for perfection in everything you do. Concentrate on what matters, and everything will work out in the end.

If you like what you read, please comment and share it with your friends. If you have advice or resources you would like to share, please do that as well.

Oh, if you are on Twitter, I highly encourage you to follow the hashtags #AcademicChatter and #AcademicTwitter both are great threads with advice, motivation, and a very supportive community, and if you wouldn’t mind, give me a follow at @robertforto and send me a tweet letting me know you found my blog helpful!

Also, my wife Michele is getting deep into her Master’s program as well and is almost halfway done! Please do me a favor and follow her over on LinkedIn.

One last thing… If you like what you are reading and want to show your support, please consider becoming a patron on Patreon or clicking on any of the ads that you see on the page. This goodwill gesture is not to become rich, I wish, but a show of encouragement.

Hope to connect with you along the way, and please reach out if you have any questions!