David Rock, dean of the Columbus State University College of Education and Health Professions, couldn’t contain his excitement Wednesday afternoon.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the first doctoral program in the university’s 51-year history.CSU will begin offering a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership program in January.
“This dramatically changes the College of Education and Health Professions in the way we are perceived and our future mission,” Rock said.
For almost a decade, CSU has been planning for an education doctoral program, President Tim Mescon said.
“Oftentimes there is a gap between mouth and movement,” Mescon said. “It is not just having the academic pieces, but it is working within the university system and differentiating the need for this program for this region.”
The need is clearly there and should be reflected in the first group of students to enroll, Rock said.
“We have a deep pool ready for this,” Rock said.
In the first year, the program expects to enroll about 60 students from as many as 200 that are expected to apply, Rock said.
In the past, those wanting education doctoral degrees had to drive to Georgia State University in Atlanta, West Georgia University in Carrollton or Auburn University and pay out-of-state tuition.
The 63 credit-hour program will have a curriculum track for teacher leaders and a separate leadership track for principals, other school administrators and school district officials.
“The pieces for a doctoral program were already in place when I came here three years ago,” said Rock. “We have high-caliber faculty, strong graduate programs, and this region needs this doctoral program. Our local educators’ closest options have presented significant barriers: Auburn with its cost and Georgia State with its commuting distance.”
Mescon said the new program is not so much about competition as it is about access.
“The doctorate programs serve to attract different students for different reasons,” Mescon said. “This is not about duking it out over registration numbers that you see in many regions for the baccalaureate and masters programs. This will meet regional needs and attract the students that fit this educational model.”
What it also offers, and perhaps what most excites Rock, is the ability to beef up the university’s educational research.
“Our faculty and graduate students will be conducting research at the highest level, which will raise the level of preK-12 student and teacher performance in this region and impact the profession nationwide,” Rock said.
Admission requirements include a 3.5 GPA through a master’s degree from an accredited school and four years of professional service, the university said.
For further information about the program, call 706-568-2301.