In June 2010, Cohort One of the Doctorate in Community College Leadership (DCCL) program arrived on the Big Rapids campus to begin what has become an amazing journey for many. Twenty-seven students from across Michigan began that year, which was reflective of the pent-up demand for a program expressly tailored for community college leaders.
From its inception, this program was designed to be different in its delivery, its completion rates, its faculty, and its relevance. Ours was among the first to incorporate many of the key features of blended delivery, application orientation, and dissertation options, among other innovations. DCCL was championed by two giants in the community college leadership world, Drs Robert Ewigleben and J. William Wenrich, and aided by the capable and energetic Lynne Ewigleben Hernandez. Both Drs Ewigleben and Wenrich were former presidents of Ferris State University, as well as of colleges in California and Texas, where Dr Wenrich was chancellor of the Dallas Community College District at the time the program began. We regret that neither pioneer is with us to celebrate our success, but both lived to see the early achievements of DCCL graduates and the impact the program was making on the community colleges of America.