Spring 2016, brings to a close an exciting graduate program, the Master of Education Degree in Organizational Leadership. The goal of the program was to develop culturally responsive organizational leaders who would gain skills to lead and serve in a wide variety of disciplines/fields. It all began with a US Department of Education Title V grant, “Online Culturally Relevant Graduate Programs,” the university received in 2009.
Although the program is coming to a close, we believe staff, faculty, and students gained much from this innovative model that could easily be adapted and transferred to other universities with a larger population base from which to attract students. All of the participants are grateful to the university for supporting this program throughout the duration of the grant.
Most of the graduates from the program have gone on to achieve leadership positions in their disciplines/fields. There are others who continue to contact us to see if the program is still viable. At the present time, the university just does not have the finances to sustain this small program. Including the six who will graduate this spring, the total number of students who benefited from the program is about 100.
In addition to the comprehensive offering of primarily blended online leadership coursework, three statewide summer leadership academies were held for students and others throughout the region. State and National Leadership experts were guest presenters at each of these academies.
As the program comes to its conclusion, the six who will be graduating are representative of those who went before them. They are a mix of students from a wide variety of backgrounds, races, and genders. There is a Foster Care Management Specialist, a Student Leadership Director, a Community College Director, a Residential Health Leader, a University Financial Aid Specialist and an Educational Leader. The program faculty are extremely proud of these students and those who preceded them.
Perhaps a seed has been planted that will grow into a future program that is more sustainable.
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