Juanita Eagleson, a former associate dean at Southeastern University in Washington, was in the midst of a "career doldrums" when she heard that Dr. Howard Simmons, the former executive director of the Commission on Higher Education, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, was heading up the new doctoral program in higher education at Morgan State University. Eagleson, who had once worked with Simmons, was eager to expand her career options and decided to enroll in the new program.
"The opportunity to work with (Simmons) in an academic/research setting truly sparked my interest and enthusiasm," she says. Eagleson, a Howard University graduate, is looking to work in curriculum design and assessment to "explore new models of assessing outcomes, particularly as they might be applied to HBCUs."
When Barney Wilson, then a faculty member at Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) at Dundalk, heard about the Ed.D. program in community college leadership, he had been teaching for 13 years, was ready for something new and more entrepreneurial, and was considering leaving the field. While attending an organizational meeting about the Ed.D. program, he heard Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail's vision for the program and started thinking about the possibilities of leading an institution.
"She was excited about the program and the possibilities," he says. "I saw her as an incredible leader." When he learned that she had served as a community college president, he was sold. "I thought, what an opportunity to learn from a college president," he says. Wilson, a member of the program's first graduating cohort, since has moved into administration and is now the dean of learning and student development at CCBC.
Eagleson and Wilson represent the higher education leaders for the future that Morgan State University is seeking for its two unique doctoral programs in higher education.
The doctorate in higher education, the newest program, seeks to prepare students as researchers, policy analysts and administrators while the three-year-old Ed.D. in community college leadership seeks to prepare tomorrow's community college presidents. With more college presidents expected to retire soon, the Morgan State programs will likely play a key role in filling the pipeline.
"We're talking about the next generation of leaders for staffing the administration and management of universities," says Dr. Earl Richardson, president of Morgan State University. "For both HBCU and majority institutions as well. If they are going to achieve diversity in their staffing, they are going to have a larger pool from which to draw. Our objective is to broaden that pool," he says.
Such programs are needed because the percentage of African Americans on college and university faculty is very small, particularly in predominantly White institutions, says Dr. Anne Pruitt-Logan, scholar in residence and co-director of the Preparing Future Faculty program for the Council of Graduate Schools.
"The Ph.D. programs are going to produce the faculty," Pruitt-Logan says. "We need to bring the perspective of African Americans to research in education. The more we can do to prepare the large numbers needed, the better."
With nearly 45 percent of current community college presidents expected to retire within the next five years, and with a declining number of candidates seeking the presidency, programs such as Morgan's are crucial, says Dr. John E. Roueche, the Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair and director of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
"The timing can not be better," Roueche says. He adds that Morgan's location in Baltimore and near Washington, and Philadelphia will help the university attract the population it is after. "They should find great success in placing these students who want to get in community college leadership work. …