Photograph of Dr. Caruthers holding his degree after commencement.
Baker College offers associate through doctoral programs. As an alum of Baker College, this may be the first time you’re hearing about the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) program or the ABD (All But Dissertation) program option. The DBA program dates back to the early 2000s and was designed for individuals interested in moving beyond standard managerial positions or starting a career in academia. Since its inception, the DBA program has continued to grow and evolve into a program that Baker College is very proud of.
Before we dive further into the program, let’s hear from Dr. Rodney Caruthers, the first published graduate of the DBA program (2011), retired Baker College faculty member, United States Marine Corps war veteran, and a small consulting business owner.
“My choice to pursue the Baker College DBA was predicated on several years of teaching at this institution (undergraduate) and having the desire to acquire and share knowledge with students at the next (graduate) level. In addition, my accomplishment would have historical significance since I would be in the first class to graduate from Baker College with a doctoral degree.”
For Dr. Caruthers, completing the program was also personal. He would be the first in his family to complete a doctoral program. Since completing his degree, several other family members have also completed their doctoral degrees. Dr. Caruthers pursuit of his DBA has been the most significant accomplishment of his academic career. “I am able to draw on my ability to be laser-focused in the DBA program and translate that to be more effective in my consulting business.”
As employer needs and technology change, the DBA program has continued to evolve to keep up with an ever-changing employment landscape. According to Dr. Na Li, Dean of the College of Business, the DBA program has seen significant changes with the following program updates:
- Additional research design and methodology courses to ensure students are fully equipped with research skills to conduct their dissertation and future research projects in their careers
- Coursework in specific business areas such as leadership, ethics, organizational behavior, finance, and IT governance
- Students learn current theories and how to apply those theories in the business field
- Program milestones that students need to pass in order to move forward and stay on track
- New dissertation chairs and committee members with expertise in various fields and research methodology to guide students to conduct their research and complete their dissertations, which helps ensure students are making theoretical and/or empirical contributions to the field
“I’m really excited to see our re-designed DBA program take off. The program will help many students master the research skills to solve any complex business problems facing them and their industries. It will open up so many opportunities for our graduates,” says Dr. Li.
As we look to the future of the DBA program, Stacey Bonet, a recent DBA graduate, had this to say about her experience with the program, “my expectations of the DBA program were exceeded. I completed my dissertation and graduated as a confident subject matter expert in business administration and organizational behavior.”
Bonet’s dissertation focused on women staff in higher education, where she asked the question, can a reproducible formal mentoring program for women be created and sustained? This research is important because women do not typically have access to informal mentoring in the workplace. Her study found that a formal program can be created and sustained, and serve as a catalyst for informal mentoring.
Hearing from past and present graduates of the program, we look forward to hearing what future graduates will have to say about the refreshed program. According to Dr. Caruthers, “After earning your DBA, a whole new world of career opportunities will be open to you and your personal self-confidence will soar!”
If you are interested in learning more about Baker College’s advanced degree programs or an online Juris Doctor degree program at St. Francis School of Law, explore baker.edu.