Graduate Education Week is being celebrated this year from April 18-24. The Organizational Leadership (ORLD) doctoral program at UMES, the only ORLD doctoral program housed at an HBCU in the nation, is honored to participate in Graduate Education Week activities on campus and beyond. Students and faculty alike are engaging in activities to honor the critical role of Graduate Education in our world as a force for the development of high quality scholars, professionals and leaders. This week allows us to pause and reflect upon the many contributions of our students, alumni, faculty and staff to serving this mission of Graduate Education.
The role of graduate education within the context of HBCU environments is essential to understanding the experiences of marginalized students and the development of their academic success within higher education. HBCUs have contributed greatly to the graduate and professional degree completion of students of color; particularly in fields where they are underrepresented like STEM. At UMES we are fortunate to support the doctoral process in the fields of Organizational Leadership, Educational Leadership, Food Science Technology, Marine-Estuarine Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Toxicology.
The UMES ORLD program has produced almost 100 graduates since its founding in 2002, including many individuals who have gone on to admirably serve in higher education, government, the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, and in their communities. These individuals have applied their program training to serve as organizational leaders and participants, inspiring and leading new initiatives and the development of organizations, and also supporting the enhancement and growth of existing institutions.
As our nation’s demographics rapidly shift toward increased racial and cultural diversification, particularly among graduate students, supporting the expansion and growth of graduate programs and doctoral education at HBCUs will become increasingly important. In a previous post on this blog (https://umesorgleadership.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/embracing-faculty-collaboration-exploring-the-role-of-organizational-leadership-in-an-hbcu-doctoral-program/), the ORLD faculty noted that we are engaging in a quest to define the role of organizational leadership in our practice as researchers, teachers, advisers and colleagues, as we recognize that organizational leadership is not yet defined as a discipline in higher education in the way that psychology, sociology, chemistry, biology, economics, history and many others are presently defined and structured. This definitional and structural work presents a double-edged sword of challenge and opportunity to those of us who work or study under the umbrella of “organizational leadership.” An important part of that quest requires us to reflect on what has already been done in this program and in other areas under this umbrella, which has been attempted in brief in this posting. We must learn from our past successes and mistakes, and those of other disciplines as they developed, so that we can best serve our overarching goal of producing high-quality scholarship and fostering the next generation of leading scholars and practitioners of organizational leadership.
Todd L. Matthews, Associate Professor, Organizational Leadership, PhD Program, UMES
Pamela Petrease Felder, Associate Professor, Organizational Leadership, PhD Program, UMES