Certificates in Leadership Studies of Value to Everyone

by Barry Waldman

Businesses in need of adept leaders to navigate complex workplace and marketplace issues have a tremendous resource in The Citadel, which offers graduate education in leadership.

Students can matriculate in a full master’s degree program or earn a graduate certificate in leadership. Either way, students learn about the process of influencing others to reach a common objective.

On top of that, The Citadel offers a master’s degree in military leadership, a more narrowly focused program that examines U.S. and world military leaders, and military leadership thought and strategy. The military version adds the element of principled leadership that reflects the core Citadel values of honor, duty and respect. 

“One can be a leader without focusing on core values, but each organization has its own set of organizational values and leading an effort at an organization does require that you influence others,” said Prof. Faith River James, Citadel’s assistant provost for leadership programs and leadership studies department head.

Leadership Program is All Online

The all-online program is open to literally anyone with an undergraduate degree. Prof. James says the 80 students currently enrolled include military, government and small business leaders. “The beauty of the program is that it can help a wide variety of professionals because leadership applies to all professions,” she points out.

The five-course certificate program offers the core components of leadership and accounts for 40% of a full master’s degree. Students who complete the study of leadership will have a better understanding of themselves and their own preferences, their comfort with authenticity and their ability to understand interpersonal relationships to empower others to achieve their objectives. 

Because the program is online and asynchronous, it is available to individuals all over the country, and indeed, the world. For those students who want a more collaborative experience in which students share their ideas and perspectives, group work is available.

U.S. News and World Report rated The Citadel the best online college for veterans in the nation and the best overall online college in South Carolina.

No more than 80 students matriculate in the certificate and master’s programs at any given time, with no more than 25 in a cohort. Students who take two courses each semester can complete the certificate program in a year. Admissions are rolling, so students can begin in fall, spring or summer, with the most common pattern being two courses in the fall, two in the spring and one in the summer to earn the certificate.

Employers Love Leaders. Leaders Love Sharpening Their Skills

Debbie Barton, assistant finance director for the City of Charleston, recognized how leadership skills were critical to the success of any career. She enrolled in The Citadel’s Master of Science in Leadership program and graduated in 2020. 

“With the program being 100% online, it allows working adults the flexibility to participate,” she said. “Throughout the program, I interacted with professionals in the business community, the government sector, and the armed forces. We had the opportunity to share best practice ideas as well as gain insight and advice from others in leadership roles.

Many companies recognize the value of self-development and continuing education. GEICO supported Gary McKenzie, its Southeastern Regional Vice President, when he returned to school through The Citadel’s Leadership program. “Twelve years into my career, it dawned on me that perhaps I should go back and sharpen the edge,” he said. “I got many ideas and I try to incorporate them into my weekly or monthly staff meetings. I think it just helped me become a better leader.”

“Leadership is hard,” says Prof. James. “It takes a special person to manage themselves and manage interactions with others.”