Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

New Milestones for WCE’s Ed.D. Program

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

UNCW’s Watson College introduced a doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Administration in 2007 to create leaders with the knowledge and skills to help educators enhance the learning and lives of children. The first graduating class was honored at UNCW commencement ceremonies in December 2010.

In December 2015, Bethany Meighen became the first WCE graduate to earn a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education, and twelve members from WCE’s inaugural cohort gathered for a five-year reunion dinner in Wilmington.

Congratulations to WCE’s First Higher Education Ed.D. Graduate Bethany Meighen!

Bethany Meighen was Dean of Student Life at University of Charleston for five years before enrolling in the doctoral program at the Watson College.

While on the UNCW campus, she excelled academically, served as a graduate assistant (GA) in WCE’s Educational Leadership Department for three years and served as a teaching assistant in two courses taught by WCE assistant professor James DeVita. In the GA role, Meighen assisted faculty with scholarly research projects and provided administrative support on student recruitment, orientation and other initiatives. During her last year at UNCW, Meighen worked as a GA for the Experiencing Transformative Education through Applied Learning (ETEAL) program, where she helped coordinate professional development workshops to help faculty integrate applied learning in the classroom, and served as an assistant evaluator on the $1 million state department grant that partnered UNCW with the International Islamic University Islamabad.

In December, Meighen successfully defended her dissertation titled Case Study Exploring the Academic and Social Integration of Traditionally Aged Community College Transfer Students, and on December 12, she became the first Higher Education Ed.D. graduate of the Watson College.

Meighen decided to pursue a doctoral degree to become a better student affairs practitioner and gain a broader perspective on higher education, she said. She chose the Watson College because of the cohort model of the doctoral program and the willingness of faculty to tailor the program to fit the needs, passions and professional goals of individual students. 

At a reception for WCE’s doctoral graduates on Dec. 7, Meighen said she was “blessed to be at the Watson College, where faculty took a personal interest in her success and pushed her hard to become the best she could possibly be.”

Assistant professor Andrew Ryder, who served as chair of Meighen’s dissertation committee, said Meighen made a lasting impact on all at the college who had the privilege to work with her.

“Bethany’s time here made us all better,” Ryder said. “There is no greater role model for the very first doctoral graduate from the Higher Education specialization at the Watson College.”

Meighen is currently advisor for the UNC Association of Student Governments in the Academic and Student Affairs Department at the UNC General Administration, a role she assumed in October.

WCE’s First Ed.D. Graduating Class Holds Five-Year Reunion

Twelve of the 14 members of WCE’s first doctoral cohort attended a five-year reunion dinner at Roy’s Riverboat Landing in Wilmington on Dec. 12. “Can you believe it has been five years?” Maggie Rollison wrote in an email to WCE associate professor Tamara Walser the following day.

Walser and Scott Imig, who is currently a senior lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle in Australia, were faculty members in WCE’s Educational Leadership Department when the doctoral program was first introduced. They said WCE’s first cohort was “an amazing group of students,” and shared information and updates on where they are now.

Pam Baldwin is superintendent of Asheville City Schools. The City of Asheville and the County of Buncombe named March 29, 2015 “Dr. Pamela Baldwin Day” in honor of her tireless work on behalf of students. View article from The Urban News here: http://theurbannews.com/our-town/2015/dr-pamela-baldwin-day-proclaimed-in-asheville/.

Kelly Batts is beginning teachers coordinator and instructional coach for Clinton City Schools. She was featured in an article in the Sampson Independent in July: http://clintonnc.com/news/2165/ready-to-help-teachers.

Pat Curley is director of The Science House at North Carolina State University’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology in Morehead City, NC. He is a former math and science teacher and STEM coordinator for Onslow County Schools.

Lynn Fulton is school transformation coach at North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She is a former principal of Winter Park Elementary School in Wilmington and was selected 2010 Principal of the Year for New Hanover County Schools.

Leigh Gates is assistant principal of Eaton Elementary School in Wilmington and an adjunct faculty member at the Watson College of Education.

Lionel Kato is principal at North Pitt High School in Pitt County. He was Pitt County Schools’ Principal of the Year in 2013, while principal of Farmville Middle School.

Debbie Lemon is mathematics consultant at the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta. She is a former teacher in Brunswick County, middle grades math specialist for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and adjunct professor in the Middle Grades Education program at the Watson College.

Deanne Meadows is assistant superintendent and chief academic officer at Brunswick County Schools. She is a former math teacher, assistant principal, principal and executive director of human resources for BCS.

Rob Morgan is assistant principal at New Hanover High School. He is a former middle school English teacher, assistant principal at Ashley High School and UNCW director of the early college high school program.

Reida Smith Roberts is director of Exceptional Children’s Services for Bladen County Public Schools. She is a former high school and middle school English teacher, principal and United States Peace Corps volunteer. Roberts was named Bladen County’s 2013-14 Principal of the Year.

Maggie Rollison is assistant principal at Hoggard High School. She is a former middle and high school math teacher and assistant principal at Heide Trask High School in Pender County.

Christy Stanley is K-12 Social Studies & 7-12 English Language Arts curriculum coordinator at Chapel Hill - Carrboro City Schools. Prior to this position, she served as an instructional coach for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Mark Tracy is executive director of Kestrel Heights School in Durham. In earlier roles, he was an elementary school principal in Wake and New Hanover Counties, and an elementary school teacher in Maryland and Atlanta.

Cara Ward is a teacher and instructional leader for the North Carolina Virtual Public School and a part-time faculty member at the Watson College. In 2015 her peers nominated her for NCVPS Teacher of the Year.

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at the Watson College

The Watson College of Education offers a doctoral program for aspiring leaders in variety of educational settings. Specializations are offered in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Administration and Higher Education. For information visit www.uncw.edu/ed/el/edd.