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OCC to offer first doctoral program

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time, there will be doctorate students on the campus of Onondaga Community College this fall. A collaboration with St. John Fisher College will bring a doctoral program in executive leadership to the Syracuse campus.

Officials at OCC believe this is the first time that a doctoral program has ever been offered at one of SUNY's community colleges.  Interim president Meg O'Connell says it's a great chance for people looking for that extra education, to get an advanced degree in a local setting.

"By the time you're getting a doctorate, you might already be working full-time. This gives you the opportunity to get the doctorate by staying here in central New York," said O'Connell.

OCC is already collaborating with Fisher in a two-plus-two program for undergraduate transfer students, which allows students to spend their first two years at OCC, then easily transfer to Fisher to get their degree.

So there is already a relationship between the two schools. Fisher President Donald Bain says more institutions of higher learning are finding advantages with these kinds of collaborations.

"It's typical of a growing trend in higher education to form partnerships. Partnerships where two or more institutions are able to benefit from the strengths that each has," said Bain.

In this case, OCC is able to offer the accelerated doctoral program in executive leadership administered by Fisher's School of Education, and Fisher can tap into the facilities and potential student base of central New York.

Fisher President Donald Bain says research shows the Rochester area school will find plenty of students in central New York, who want an accelerated doctorate program that focuses on leadership skills for executives.

"There are a lot of people out there, who would find it not only intellectually interesting, but people who would find it professionally very advantages to have an advanced doctorate degree. And frankly that's the people we're looking for," said Bain.

The school is holding information sessions on the new program in coming months.