Arne Nielsen, PhD

Vice President for Education

Being a lifelong learner



The beauty of pursuing knowledge is that you move from being a passive learner to actively controlling what you want to know and the outcomes.

On a recent flight to Orlando, I packed three books to read: Patrick Lencioni’s The Ideal Team Player, The Advantage, and The Four Obsessions of An Extraordinary Executive. I am fascinated with books on leadership, teams, and coaching. You might say that I pride myself on being a lifelong learner, always curious, and wanting to do more and to be more..

As educators, I know you, too, are interested in pursuing knowledge, either for personal or professional reasons. Being a lifelong learner allows you to create your learning style. While on this trip to Orlando, I discovered I had a free morning. A retired colleague, Dr. Larry Blackmer, was attending the same meeting, and we soon found ourselves with cameras in hand at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. On this day, I decided what to study (Roseate Spoonbills and Painted Buntings), what skills to develop (Larry showed me how to adjust the camera for poor lighting and how to use shadows), and what experience I wanted to gather/generate (memorable photos I could share with family and friends). As educators, I recognize that we are continually receiving and disseminating information. The beauty of pursuing knowledge is that you move from being a passive learner to actively controlling what you want to know and the outcomes.

I recently found an article on the attributes of being a “philomath.” There were many, especially for a Christian. Here are two attributes to consider as you continue your journey as an educator in your quest for knowledge.

Prayers and courage,

Arne Nielsen, PhD

NAD Vice President of Education


“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). Lifelong learners have the courage to overcome the fear of leaving the outer limits of their educational comfort zone and entering the unknown and the unfamiliar. The scriptures say, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).


“I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things” (Ecclesiastes 7:25). We know the axiom, “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.” Lifelong learners are curious at heart. As children, our curiosity is instinctive, but our formal education is more confining and systematic. Lifelong learners develop personalized learning techniques that surpass what is taught in school. The key learning element is never losing our God-given, inherent curiosity. We do it by asking “why” and then finding the answers. The thrill of investigating and researching a new concept or discovering the answer to something previously unknown is an exhilarating moment of joy and satisfaction.



Spring 2024

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