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Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education and Master of Arts in Communication added to CCU's lineup of graduate programs

June 7, 2018
Coastal Carolina University’s second doctoral program, the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education, was approved June 7 by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE). Ed Jadallah, dean of the Spadoni College of Education.The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education and the Master of Arts in Communication at Coastal Carolina University on June 7.

Coastal Carolina University’s second doctoral program, the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education, was approved today by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE). A new graduate program, the Master of Arts in Communication, was also approved.

The doctoral program in education will offer three specialization areas: education leadership; higher education administration; and curriculum, instruction and assessment.

The program is designed to build upon the master’s level education programs currently offered by the Spadoni College of Education. A total of 477 students are enrolled in graduate education programs at CCU, and approximately 90 percent of these students are teachers or administrators in school districts that partner with the Spadoni College (Horry, Georgetown, Dillon, Marion and Florence School Districts 1-5).

“The design of the education Ph.D. will involve students in developing the breadth and depth of understandings, skills and dispositions that are relevant and meaningful for 21st century educators,” said Edward Jadallah, dean of the Spadoni College. “The primary premise of this program is that educational knowledge is multifaceted and requires the ability to interrelate knowledge from varied disciplines. This program will address contemporary and future educational issues and continue to advance our understandings of teaching and learning.”

According to Jadallah, the degree will also address issues related to educator retention, recruitment and attrition problems facing our region, state and nation. “It will offer educators opportunities to continue their professional growth, options to assume varied educational and administrative positions that can affect change, as well as career advancement opportunities,” he said.

The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education is scheduled to be implemented in Spring 2019. CCU currently offers one other Ph.D. program, in marine science, which was established in 2014.

Two current students are already considering enrolling in the Ph.D. program.

Brantay Cohens, who currently teaches eighth-grade math at Ocean Bay Middle School, is thinking about enrolling in Fall 2020.

"This program will provide me the opportunity to conduct research on a variety of educational topics that I am interested in," he said. "This knowledge will then help me to lead a school or school system to academic excellence."

Concetta McGraw, who is working on her Master in Educational Leadership, plans on enrolling in the Ph.D. program next year. She said she is thrilled about the new Ph.D. in education.

"My future aspirations are to become an administrator and use my education and experiences to teach courses in the educational leadership department at CCU," she said. "I would love the opportunity to help prepare future administrators and leaders for their new roles in education."

The new Master of Arts in Communication program offers two concentrations: communication leadership and communication advocacy. The two concentrations will give graduates the option to focus on either the application of communication in leading groups or organizations or in the effective use of communication on behalf of others, often as a voice for the voiceless.

“The degree will help leaders lead well through good communication and teach advocates how to speak effectively for others,” according to associate professor Wes Fondren, chair of CCU’s Department of Communication, Media and Culture, which will house the new program.

Graduates of the program will gain expertise in effective communication within organizations as well as publicly through technology (social media, broadcast channels, public relations, etc.) and directly (interpersonal relations, conflict resolution, persuasion, etc.). Because the degree is targeted at individuals looking to either improve their marketability or pursue career advancement, evening courses will be offered. The curriculum is designed to accommodate students from a wide range of backgrounds (e.g., technology, medical, nonprofit).

The degree was developed in response to increased demand from companies and organizations for employees who have effective written and oral communication skills. The need is based on studies by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

The new Master of Arts in Communication degree will be offered in Fall 2019. Learn more about CCU’s graduate programs at