On the afternoon of Saturday, April 30th, Johnson University’s first cohort of doctoral students walked among a record number of graduates. This graduation marked the University’s largest number of graduates to date at 226. There were 3 associate degree recipients, 191 bachelor’s degree candidates, 70 master’s degree candidates, and 3 doctoral candidates.
The graduation of the doctoral students has been a long time in the making. The initial concept for a doctoral program in Leadership Studies was first broached in 2008, when the presidents of eight Christian colleges and universities across the nation discussed the need for doctoral level education in the area of leadership. Johnson University took the lead, collaboratively designing a PhD in Leadership Studies program, which launched in 2012.
“The graduation of our first doctoral class is another milestone for Johnson University,” said University president, Dr. Gary Weedman. “For them to be included among another record number of graduates is a testament to the University’s expanded reach and impact.” The University now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs across three campuses – Tennessee, Florida, and Online. Johnson University has also announced the launch of localized “ExtendEd” sites across the country (Indianapolis, Louisville, Phoenix, and downtown Knoxville at The Regas Building) starting in August.
The PhD in Leadership Studies program is integrative in design, with a focus on four dimensions of leadership: individual and personal systems, organizational systems, global systems, and research. The curriculum is designed to develop scholarship and professional competencies while encouraging self-reflection and a deepened commitment to serve others. Conducted entirely online, the platform is innovative in its ability to bring together students from across the globe to share a variety of perspectives and experiences. The students graduating from the doctoral program in 2016 come from backgrounds in church leadership and educational administration.
Dr. Alicia Crumpton, director of the doctoral program, says, “Johnson’s first graduates with a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies are pioneers, having engaged in a new program and actively contributed to its design. These graduates are Christian leaders strategically equipped and poised to evaluate, design, communicate, and serve within their spheres of influence, appropriately considering various cultural backgrounds, values, and ethical frameworks. More importantly, they are different people today, having been transformed by a rigorous doctoral journey.”