Message from the LGC Director – April 2017

Nancy Muller

You may have noticed a flurry of news from the Lowcountry Graduate Center in recent months. That’s because there’s been a blizzard of activity with several big announcements.

SC State is now accessible in the Lowcountry, with its new Healthcare Management concentration added to its existing, hybrid MBA program. It is designed for those wishing to enter management ranks in clinical circles such as healthcare systems and networks as well in non-clinical segments of healthcare, including facility or agency management, payer and insurance organizations, retail drug store chain operations, specialized hiring and recruiting services, and pharmaceutical or medical device sales, marketing, and manufacturing. The LGC welcomed SC State at a packed reception in January, featuring SC State University President Clark as keynote speaker. MBA programs across the country are finding they need to specialize their previous “general management” degree in order to meet targeted demand in higher growth markets and to occupy a niche in a competitive playing field. With Metro Charleston as a medical mecca filling more non-government jobs each year in healthcare than any other single field, there are abundant job opportunities for SC State’s MBA graduates in this region of the state.

Additional factors influencing the shape of graduate education are the evolving needs of other local industry. Employers are looking for accelerated instructional formats to narrow the time interval between their outlay of tuition supplements and the contributions employees can make in the workplace with their newly acquired skills and knowledge. In many fields, technology and applications are changing so rapidly that deep dives into very specific skill sets are valued with advancement opportunities in an existing job track. Certifications are a recognized means of communicating to employers that an individual has mastered completion of a course of study and acquired the necessary learning outcomes. Certifications are especially important for mid-career adults seeking to move into a new or adjacent field and make a career change. To such graduate students, an accelerated format is essential but so are interdisciplinary pathways and practical experience. This is why the LGC has partnered with SCMEP to bring its 3-5 day workshops in such disciplines as ISO 9001 Internal Auditor Certification, Lean Sigma Green Belt Certification, and Front Line Manager Leadership. To impart practical knowledge and pearls of wisdom from accomplished entrepreneurs and business owners, LGC is hosting Clemson University’s Spiro Sessions, with panelists organized by the McNair Law Firm and facilitated weekly over an 8-week period. Another example is the LGC’s recently announced post-baccalaureate certificate in Paralegal Studies from the University of South Carolina, condensed in a six-month program with online options.

To many others, however, it is cross-training being sought for advancement in a current field. For these students, professional development and flexible instructional and content delivery are most important, along with integrated, interdisciplinary paths for learning. Completing “stackable” graduate certificates that ultimately can result in a master’s degree from an institution holds appeal in such circumstances. To respond to this, the College of Charleston and The Citadel are planning to add two new graduate certificates within the framework of their existing, jointly offered MS in Computer and Information Sciences, with classes at the LGC.

Look for greater variety in future such announcements, as a means to move ahead and realize a dream.

Nancy Muller, PhD, MBA
Director and Associate Dean
mullernj@lowcountrygradcenter.org