Lindsay Simon: LU’s regulations researching phenom

Lindsay Simon

Just because you get a degree in Texas, doesn’t mean you can work in your career field in every other state in the U.S. Oh, you didn’t know? Most people don’t. But Lindsay Simon does. Lindsay is Lamar University’s Licensure & State Authorization Officer.

“Day to day I check to see if we can offer online courses in states around the country,” said Lindsay. “It’s a newer field because online education is so new but prevalent and everyone loves the concept of online education so states want to rein it in and keep students in their own state.”

In Lindsay’s world, a student can earn a Master of Education degree in Counseling at Lamar University with plans to return to Michigan to work at his/her high school alma mater as a counselor and find out upon graduation that educational requirements for such work in Michigan are different than they are in Texas.

“Every licensing body has the right to regulate on processes and requirements. Requirements for an education certification is one of the most difficult to navigate because every state is different, for example.”

With the advent of online education, the National Council for State Authorization of Reciprocity Agreements was developed that provides a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. NC-SARA, the acronym assigned to the agreements, or SARA, which is what Lindsay calls the program, establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary education. To date, every state except California has joined SARA.

SARA helps but without the expertise of someone like Lindsay, students would have to visit every individual licensing and certification website and research programs of interest, read the fine print and then make sure that the college of their choice offers all they need to work in that state.

“It’s typically best to start this process at the beginning before enrollment. These governing bodies don’t make it easy for students to find information, and state licensing bodies change rules at any time. It’s not unusual to research every rule for one profession in January and then do it again in a few months because it’s constantly changing.”

Fortunately for LU students, Lindsay is at the ready.  The LU communication alumnae is also a lawyer who loves reading legal documents and regulations. She has worked for LU in her current capacity for two years and offices in the distance learning building. Most of her student interaction comes through referrals from LU’s Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

“Inquiries usually roll in about time for the admission’s deadline. I usually already have a database of information but like to verify the most current rules.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindsay, a native of Orange, TX, was rule checking and preparing for the fall semester from her home office, which she has endured but hasn’t loved.

“Personally, it’s been a struggle and I now realize how much I take for granted in daily life. I can’t walk down the hall and talk to someone; it’s been hard to be separated from everyone and everything. I can’t just go get a coffee. I’m just a lot more grateful for everything.”

To keep her company during her stay-home, stay-safe days, Lindsay got a puppy, Cara, a boxer she named after Carasynthia "Cara" Dune in The Mandalorian. The now 10-month old is potty trained and very used to having Lindsay home. But Cara might find out what it’s like to travel because as soon as the pandemic is over, Lindsay is hitting the road.

“I like doing a lot of traveling in the springtime because I’m big into horse racing and follow the Derby trail. I travel the Kentucky Derby Trail and the three-year-old horses that are going to run in the Derby. I take pictures and paint them. I’m an artist.”

Until things get back to normal, Lindsay continues her research and updating and is available to help anyone with questions about licensure and certifications.

“I like working with students when they have no idea where to start; this work is rewarding because I get to help them reach their career goals. It’s also ever changing. I never get bored with this kind of research.”

Category: Features

The opinions and statements found on the Lamar University blog belong solely to the articles' authors and contributors and do not necessarily represent the those of Lamar University. Lamar University does not endorse products (unless otherwise stated) and encourages students to use critical thinking and good judgment while navigating online.