STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Coterie of doctoral students wrap up their work

Four graduates of WCU’s master of education program in community college administration liked it so much the first time they came back for more. Fairley Pollock MAEd ’05 EdD ’09 (far right), Tanya Davis MAEd ’04 EdD ’09 (not pictured), Bonnie Winecoff MAEd ’04 EdD ’09 (far left) and Jana Ulrich MAEd ’04 EdD ’09 (center) earned their doctorates in educational leadership, with a concentration in community college/higher education leadership.

Davis, Winecoff and Ulrich, all of Stanly County, spent four years routinely driving three and four hours to Asheville and Cullowhee for weekend classes and single-day meetings. “We started together and finished together,” said Ulrich, adding that the group effort motivated the women. “It really shows the strength of cohort learning.”

What really distinguishes these graduates is the quality of their research, said Meagan Karvonen, director of WCU’s doctoral program in educational leadership. “All four chose topics that are particularly timely and have the potential to affect practice,” Karvonen said.

Pollock, coordinator of student services at the Macon Campus of Southwestern Community College, researched the integration of early college students (high school students based on community college campuses) with traditional community college students. She found that the quality of academic and social integration of the older students decreases respectively in correlation with higher percentages of early college students in their classes and on campus overall. Her research prompted changes at Macon Early College, including a required, yearlong orientation course for early college students.

Davis, vice president of continuing education at Stanly Community College and head of its Crutchfield Campus, researched the institutionalization of employability skills at Guilford Technical Community College. Winecoff, a community health educator at Stanly Regional Medical Center, investigated current and planned practices in community colleges statewide relative to services to promote Latino student success. Ulrich, director of learning technologies at Stanly Community College, examined the impact of faculty attitudes, knowledge and contextual constraints on the adoption of Web 2.0 tools in online environments.