Vence Donlan

Vence Donlan

Vence Donlan
Doctor of Psychology, Business Psychology specialization


“The unique program at University of the Rockies aligned with my lifestyle."

Vence Donlan, 49, is a Southern California native, a veteran of the US Navy, and a doctoral student at University of the Rockies. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Physics (US Naval Academy, 1984) and a Master of Business Administration (Texas A&M University, 1991). He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Psychology, Business Psychology specialization online at University of the Rockies, and should graduate in 2014.


“My first career was in the US Navy,” Vence explains. “I flew cargo planes in the Republic of the Philippines in the 1980s. I had a great time and did the whole Navy thing - saw the world, received an education, etc.” When he separated from the military in the early 1990s, Vence hoped to find work as a commercial airline pilot. “Unfortunately, the country was in a recession at the time and I could not find a pilot position. I had a wife and children, so I had to find another career.” After spending some time in the financial investment industry, Vence found his true love - education. He taught high school for a while, and now works at Ashford University. His ultimate goal is to teach at the college level, and it is this goal that brought him to University of the Rockies.

“The unique program at University of the Rockies aligned with my lifestyle. It was unrealistic for me to attend a full-time ground-based program and maintain my family life. But Rockies’ online program allows me to pursue my educational goals and maintain other priorities in my life.”

Vence’s specific educational goals center on motivational theory, and that is why he chose a specialization in Business Psychology. “I am fascinated with how people make decisions (either consciously or unconsciously) to allocate their most precious resource: time. When we make decisions between work and leisure, we are deciding what is most important. If someone decides to spend more time or effort at work, then he or she gives up the opportunity to spend that time elsewhere. At some point there is a tradeoff between work and leisure, and I am interested in the cognitive processes that allow people to make that decision.”

Currently, Vence is working on a research project that looks at motivational theory as it affects performance measurement in a sales environment - he’s analyzing what happens to individual motivation when the performance system (the reward or pay system) changes.

Once he graduates, he plans to continue his research on motivational theory, developing his understanding of how to apply this theory to the “real world.” He also hopes to advise corporations on motivational theory, and to teach online. “I truly believe the online format is the future of education for adults in America. I can imagine a job teaching online students all over the world from my location, which could also be anywhere in the world. It would be terrific to help other students, and to simultaneously travel and maintain a rewarding career.”

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