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### Launch of UNC’s Inaugural Fully Online Doctorate Program by UNC School of Education

UNC’s School of Education is set to launch the University’s inaugural fully online doctoral degree program in the fall of 2024, under the guidance of the first program director, Carrol Warren. Successful candidates will earn a doctorate in Organizational Learning and Leadership.

Thurston Domina, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Education, highlighted that the undergraduate major in organizational leadership at the School is rooted in the principles of fostering learning and development, with a commitment to expanding its reach to prospective doctoral students.

This online program is the outcome of a collaboration between the UNC Graduate School, the UNC Office of Digital and Lifelong Learning, and 2U, a company specializing in online degree program partnerships. The curriculum will focus on various aspects of achieving organizational objectives, covering topics such as improvement science, inclusive practices, and research methodology.

Jemilia Davis, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Education, emphasized the enhanced accessibility of the online format. She expressed the significance of being able to manage one’s own pace while balancing responsibilities, particularly for individuals like working mothers.

The newly introduced three-year program will incorporate a blend of asynchronous learning modules and weekly synchronous sessions for student-faculty interactions and course reviews. Towards the program’s conclusion, students will engage in three capstone courses, as outlined by Warren.

These capstone courses will challenge students to identify and address organizational issues within their respective workplaces, leveraging the skills and knowledge acquired during their program tenure. Additionally, an optional in-person immersion experience will be available each spring starting from 2026, offering students an opportunity to interact with faculty and industry experts in leadership and organizational planning.

Domina underscored the program’s unique feature of enabling students to apply their learning directly to their professional roles, fostering continuous growth and development as leaders. He highlighted the evolving landscape of online professional education, emphasizing the increasing preference for online platforms due to the practical challenges of on-site attendance.

Warren emphasized that the program’s diverse learning approaches, including interactive, synchronous, and asynchronous components, cater to the needs of working students, providing a more flexible and accessible educational experience. While acknowledging the distinct advantages of in-person graduate programs, Davis emphasized the importance of recognizing the value and benefits of fully online programs for a broader student demographic.