Converse is now a doctoral degree-granting institution after the recent approval of its request for a level-change by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In addition, SACSCOC approved Converse’s first program, a Doctorate of Education in Professional Leadership.
“This is an historic milestone for Converse and, with more than 50 years of experience in providing first-rate master’s degree programs, we are ready for this change,” said Converse President Krista Newkirk. “Our Professional Leadership program builds upon our tradition of developing passionate, forward-thinking citizens, and adds an important and fitting new dimension to our academic offerings,” she added.
“This is an historic milestone for Converse and, with more than 50 years of experience in providing first-rate master’s degree programs, we are ready for this change,
The 60-hour program focuses on the application of leadership in multiple contexts and provides a terminal degree for professionals in a variety of fields, especially for those in the field of education. Courses include traditional areas such as leadership, management, and personnel theory as well as innovative courses in entrepreneurialism and legislative decision-making. The program was designed to support candidates’ timely and successful completion by incorporating the dissertation into the coursework beginning in the second semester, with faculty guidance provided throughout the dissertation process.
Converse plans to begin with two cohorts of 20 students in the Fall of 2019—one at the Converse College campus in Spartanburg and one at the University Center of Greenville. Dr. Lienne Medford, Dean of Graduate Studies and Distance Education, and Dr. Lee Givins, Assistant Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Education, are spearheading the program.
“I am excited to be part of Converse College’s first doctoral program,” Dr. Medford said. “It provides a terminal degree backed with the quality and tradition of an established institution and the vision and forethought of a leader in higher education.”
“We knew there was a need for a new type of terminal degree, which is not only for those in the field of education but offers broad application…”
Dr. Medford said the program fills an important niche in the Upstate market by providing both individuals and employers with skills they need, while building on the strength and flexibility of Converse’s existing programs. “Converse is distinguished by its commitment to being responsive to its stakeholders. We knew there was a need for a new type of terminal degree, which is not only for those in the field of education but offers broad application, and we listened closely to the market in designing the approach and philosophy for the doctorate in professional leadership,” she said.