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Harper College Cohort to Graduate With Doctorate in Community College Leadership Degrees

Ferris State University
PHOTO CAPTION: More than 20 staff and faculty members from Harper College in Palatine, Illinois will be recognized on Saturday, Dec. 15 as graduates of Ferris State University’s Doctorate program in Community College Leadership.

The first fall commencement for Ferris State University’s Doctorate in Community College Leadership program will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 15 as graduates from Harper College of Palatine, Illinois participate in the 1:30 p.m. ceremony in Jim Wink Arena on the Big Rapids campus.

Megan Biller, the coordinator of the DCCL program, said three of the Harper College cohort students have now taken other positions as a result of their learning.

“Harper’s president, Kenneth Ender, wanted to grow the talents of his faculty and staff, which is why they sought to have their own cohort,” Biller said. “Their cohort, which includes more than two dozen students, is a bit larger than those who have formed each year, through Ferris, and our initial group, at Lone Star College in Texas. We found that the Harper College cohort has really encouraged each other to continue their studies, and succeed in the program. As a result, there has been less attrition.”

The exit survey responses from these students indicated 79 percent of the cohort were able to move into a higher role at Harper or took on increased responsibilities during their time in the program, which they began in Summer 2016. Jennifer Bell, a full-time faculty member in Adult Education and English Literacy Acquisition at Harper said she participated in the DCCL cohort to learn more about the issues affecting community colleges, while developing her leadership skills.

"I met many amazing scholars and leaders in the community college community as well as developed my expertise in conducting high-quality qualitative research related to my discipline," Bell said. "Completing my doctorate was a humbling experience in personal growth and persistence."

The Harper DCCL cohort's hooding ceremony will coincide with the graduation for Ferris’ colleges of Arts, Sciences and Education, Education and Human Services, and Engineering Technology.

“We are pleased to bring this first regional cohort to campus, for this unique opportunity to take part in a fall commencement program,” Biller said. “It will be exciting to watch their progress, as Dr. Ender offered his college the DCCL opportunity, with the hope of improving the body of community college leadership as a whole.”