JMU Begins Innovative Doctoral Program in Strategic Leadership

From: Public Affairs

July 28, 2009

Harrisonburg—James Madison University’s newest doctoral program begins this August, offering students a Ph.D. in strategic leadership. The innovative program is “one of the rarest in the country,” said Bob Kolodinsky, director of JMU’s Gilliam Center for Ethical Business Leadership. Designed to bridge real life experience with interdisciplinary academic studies, students will focus in one of three distinct tracks: K-12, higher education or community and non-profit management.

Demand for “Real World” Skills

The program was developed by an interdisciplinary group of JMU faculty, Kolodinsky said. “We were talking to people with master’s degrees, and they consistently indicated that they needed more skills to move up in their organizations. They needed to know how to write a budget, handle financial instruments, manage other people and collect and analyze data. In order to run an organization, they needed business and statistics skills.” The greatest demand seemed to be among K-12 school superintendents, principals and non-profit directors, and subsequent research “showed that hardly anyone else in the nation offered a program like this,” Kolodinsky said.

Mix of Business, Statistics, Education Courses

The curriculum consists of courses from JMU’s College of Business, College of Education and College of Integrated Science and Technology with core courses in statistics and leadership. In addition to a research-based dissertation, doctoral candidates must complete an internship where they apply academic theories to a current workplace. “This Ph.D. has real teeth,” Kolodinsky said. Most graduates will return to their existing profession, he believes. “They’re seeking a Ph.D. to develop some more tools and skills so that they can be more effective in their workplaces.”

Prospective students will find more information by visiting www.jmu.edu/leadership. Members of the media should contact Toni Mehling, director of communications in the JMU College of Business, at (540) 568-5169 or mehlintd@jmu.edu, or Bill Wyatt in the JMU Office of Public Affairs at (540) 568-4908 or wyattwj@jmu.edu for more information.

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