Starting in the fall semester of 2017, the University of North Georgia plans to offer a new, fully online doctor of education degree.
The new 60-credit-hour program has been approved by the Board of Regents and will begin formally accepting applicants once the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approves the program as well.
According to Dr. Susan Brandenburg-Ayres, dean of the College of Education at UNG, the program will feature concentrations in understanding and conducting research, utilization of high-impact practices in college teaching and understanding higher education policies, and practices in such things as finance, student affairs, curriculum and institutional effectiveness.
Dr. Charles Burrage, Jr., assistant dean of the College of Education at UNG, explained that the new degree program is aimed at those who are looking to work in the field of higher education.
“It will be for all higher education professionals,” Burrage said. “It will have a focus on leadership but also a pretty strong research component, and students will also get some grounding in teaching practice. All students get some of all aspects.”
The goal is for those in the program to complete their degree in as little as three years.
Interest in the new program has been significant, according to Burrage.
“We’ve been anticipating this program and working on it for a couple years, trying to take it from conception to reality,” Burrage said. “Now that it’s been approved [by the Board of Regents], everyone wants to know more.”
The expectation is that the program will attract a wide variety of applicants, including faculty looking to advance in their field and possibly teachers and staff from the K-12 level as well, according to Burrage.
Brandenburg-Ayres said that UNG is excited to be able to offer the new program.
“The UNG College of Education is thrilled to be able to provide this program to the professionals in our region,” Brandenburg-Ayres said. “We see this as another avenue for deepening our partnerships and supporting the development of both professionals and institutions.”
Burrage added that the program is unique in that it aims to improve practices of those already working in teaching roles.
“Our goal is to improve practices and contributions wherever they are,” Burrage said. “We are trying to serve those who are already working in the profession; to improve their practices and their contribution to the local campuses, department, or wherever they may be.”
Because the program is online, it is aimed at making it easier for professionals who already work to further their education, according to Burrage.
“If you’re interested in being in higher education and you want to improve what you already do as far as your teaching, research and leadership, then this is for you,” Burrage said.