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Watson College of Education Announces Ed.D. with Community College Specialization

UNCW’s Watson College of Education has introduced a new specialization in the doctoral program in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on Community College Leadership. The program is designed to prepare leaders for North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.

“We are excited to offer a new Ed.D. specialization in community college leadership,” said Carol McNulty, Interim Dean of UNCW’s Watson College of Education. “This program builds on UNCW’s strong partnerships with community colleges in our state, Watson’s successful doctoral program in Educational Leadership and UNCW/3C, a WCE-led university-community college collaborative introduced in 2019.”

The new specialization is designed to prepare scholar-practitioners in the field of higher education and student affairs administration, with a particular focus on community college environments. The specialization will provide an in-depth study of the organization, administration, staffing, funding and student experience at North Carolina’s two-year postsecondary institutions.

“North Carolina has the third largest community college system in the country and these colleges serve a diverse population of students,” said Denise Henning, director of UNCW/3C. “Forty percent of first time undergraduates begin postsecondary studies in community colleges. The organizations also serve individuals pursing a certificate, diploma or associate curriculum to gain technical or workforce development skills at any stage of their career.”

“The Watson College has a very strong doctoral specialization in higher education, but study surveys conducted amongst administration and faculty at the 58 community colleges in the state indicate a market need for a program tailored to the community college segment,” said Symphony Oxendine, coordinator of WCE’s Ed.D. program. “We are excited to offer a robust program that recognizes the unique opportunities and challenges our community college partners face as they seek to create career pathways for diverse learners.”

Applications for the new specialization in community college leadership are open and classes begin in fall 2024. For more information, please visit the website or contact Doctoral Coordinator Dr. Symphony Oxendine at

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