Plymouth State and Franklin Pierce College Partner to Offer Doctor of Arts Degree

March 30th, 2006 by Adam

At a gala reception held at the Kimball-Jenkins Estate in Concord, State Commissioner of Education Dr. Lionel Tracey commended a new collaboration between Plymouth State University and Franklin Pierce College. The two institutions have partnered to offer a new Doctor of Arts degree in transformational leadership, a program designed for educational, business, health care, governmental and cultural leaders in all professions who wish to develop their skills in scholarship, leadership and cultural stewardship. Applications are now available for this program, and the first cohort of 15 students will begin their coursework in the fall of 2006.

“I’m so excited about having this degree in New Hampshire. This is a historical day,” said Tracey. “I honestly believe it is our responsibility to continue to learn, and there is no degree like the doctorate to move you into new levels of study. We’ll continue to offer more and more programs like this for New Hampshire residents.”

Dr. Dennise Maslakowski, the associate vice president of the College of Graduate Studies at PSU, calls the new degree “a unique partnership between public and private institutions” which will employ the talents of faculty members from both PSU and Franklin Pierce. The Doctor of Arts degree will be administered and granted through Franklin Pierce.

This is the second doctoral partnership PSU’s College of Graduate Studies has undertaken. PSU also currently partners with Argosy University in Sarasota, Fl. to offer an Ed.D. in educational leadership, higher education, and curriculum and instruction. The new partnership with Franklin Pierce is designed to make it convenient and economical for New Hampshire residents to earn a doctoral degree in their home state.

The transformational leadership program provides a way for individuals who have completed the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) at PSU to use their course credits in leadership toward a doctoral degree. Students who have not completed the CAGS sequence will complete an 18-credit leadership core through Franklin Pierce.

Courses, which will combine online learning experiences with face-to-face meetings one weekend a month, will be offered in Concord, Portsmouth and Lebanon. In each location, a cohort of 15 students will complete degree requirements together. The cohort model encourages collaboration and support among students, who become a close-knit academic community throughout the doctoral experience.

Experienced professors from both Franklin Pierce and Plymouth State will teach classes in leadership, education, law, organizational planning and change, ethics, applied research, technology and a variety of other topics. Doctoral candidates will also complete summer internships and externships, and spend the final year of their degree program completing a doctoral dissertation based on original research.

The interdisciplinary nature of the degree is ideal for candidates who wish to obtain a solid background in leadership, while customizing a doctoral degree to their own professional and academic needs. Elective classes can be chosen from a variety of disciplines, including the arts, sciences, business, education, humanities and health.
According to Raymond Van der Riet, the dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at Franklin Pierce, New Hampshire residents have expressed an interest in pursuing a doctorate degree that meets their needs in leadership and research, “while allowing them to self-actualize in the process.”

“The professionals who come out of this program can apply these leadership concepts in very different ways,” said Van der Riet. “They will transform their professions, having transformed themselves.”

Tracey, who earned his Ph.D. from George Washington University, told the audience assembled at last week’s reception that completing a doctoral degree has been one of the most powerful and life-changing events in his life.
“The spirit of the doctorate takes you to a level you’ve never been to before. This is so much more than coursework. You have to become a researcher. The hard work gets inside of your spirit and really moves you,” Tracey said.

Applications for the Doctor of Arts program, due April 28, are now available at Franklin Pierce College. Open advising sessions will be held on April 10 at Franklin Pierce College in Concord. Interested applicants should call (603) 228-2874 to schedule an appointment for individual or group advising. Program interviews will be conducted in May, and accepted candidates will be notified in mid-June. For more information or for a program application, please visit

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.