Stanly County scholars finally walk WCU stage

From left, Bonnie Winecoff, a community health educator at Stanly Regional Medical Center, and Jana Ulrich, director of learning technologies at Stanly Community College, participated in commencement Friday, May 7, at Western Carolina University. Winecoff and Ulrich, along with Tanya Davis, Stanly Community College vice president of continuing education and head of its Crutchfield Campus, earned doctor of education degrees in educational leadership at WCU.

From left, Bonnie Winecoff, a community health educator at Stanly Regional Medical Center, and Jana Ulrich, director of learning technologies at Stanly Community College, participated in commencement Friday, May 7, at Western Carolina University. Winecoff and Ulrich, along with Tanya Davis, Stanly Community College vice president of continuing education and head of its Crutchfield Campus, earned doctor of education degrees in educational leadership at WCU.

A cohort of scholars who spent four years trekking from Stanly County to Western North Carolina finally received formal recognition of their achievements when they participated in a Friday, May 7, commencement ceremony at Western Carolina University.

Tanya Davis, Stanly Community College vice president of continuing education and head of its Crutchfield Campus; Bonnie Winecoff, a community health educator at Stanly Regional Medical Center; and Jana Ulrich, director of learning technologies at Stanly Community College, all graduated with doctor of education degrees in educational leadership, with a concentration in community college/higher education leadership, in fall 2009. They were unable to participate in December commencement, however, when that ceremony was canceled because of weather.

Winecoff and Ulrich participated in Friday’s commencement. Davis was unable to attend.

“We started together and finished together,” said Ulrich, who said the group jokingly called themselves the “doc-ettes.” The group effort “kept us going,” she said. “It really shows the strength of cohort learning.”

The women, also graduates of WCU’s master of education program in community college administration, routinely drove three and four hours to Asheville and Cullowhee, sometimes for weekend classes and sometimes for single-day meetings. Several classes employed interactive television systems, and some were a combination of meeting methods.

The quality of dissertation research distinguishes these graduates, said Meagan Karvonen, director of WCU’s EdD program.

“All three have produced solid research for their dissertations and have chosen topics that are particularly timely and have the potential to impact practice,” Karvonen said.

Davis researched the institutionalization of employability skills at Guilford Technical Community College. Winecoff researched current and planned practices in community colleges statewide relative to services to promote Latino student success.

Ulrich researched the impact of faculty attitudes, knowledge and contextual constraints on the adoption of Web 2.0 tools in online environments. She presented her research at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Association for Research in Education and, more recently, at the national meeting of the American Educational Research Association in April in Colorado.

WCU’s doctor of education degree in educational leadership prepares senior-level administrators for leadership in rural educational communities. The degree has three areas of concentration: educational administration, which prepares students to become administrators in prekindergarten through 12th-grade school systems; community college/higher education leadership, which prepares students to work as administrative leaders in community colleges and universities; and curriculum and instruction leadership, which prepares students for instructional leadership roles in a variety of educational settings and agencies.

For more information on WCU’s doctoral program in educational leadership, contact Karvonen at 828-227-3323 or karvonen@wcu.edu.