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Professional Development Plan Essay

Part IA: Description of Personal and Professional Goals

From a very early age, I was encouraged to attend college by my parents, my grandparents, and a beloved uncle. They all taught me that obtaining an education, particularly a college education, was a privilege that had not always been afforded to people of color and that it should not be taken for granted. They also taught me that education was the best way to attain great success, no matter how I chose to define success. It did, however, take some time before I fully understood what they so passionately attempted to instill in me. It was not until I began working at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), in an environment of academia, that I understood the value and importance of education, and the incredible impact that being part of a learning environment has on a young mind. I have been fortunate to be able to utilize the management skills I learned from my undergraduate studies and through various employment opportunities after obtaining a master’s degree in business administration. I have enjoyed my experiences working in the business field, as diverse as they have been, and would love to teach business administration at the university level. I would like to pursue a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree so that I may be considered an authority within the business field and possibly teach at JCSU as an adjunct professor. Eventually, both my degree and my experiences will assist me in achieving the long-term goals that both my husband and I share of operating a non-profit organization for children and a for-profit security business. Our combined goals are far-reaching and our desire to see them accomplished is passionate. I enjoy managing people, events, and projects.

I have discovered that I enjoy and am very good at designing and executing plans that make it easier for others to achieve their objective—which is ultimately the definition of management. That is why I wished to design my own concentration within Walden University’s doctoral program that will combine financial management and leadership skill courses. I also wish to simultaneously obtain my certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt. According to the American Society of Quality (2008): A Black Belt should demonstrate team leadership, understand team dynamics and assign team member roles and responsibilities. Black Belts have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the DMAIC model in accordance with Six Sigma principles. They have basic knowledge of Lean enterprise concepts, are able to identify non-value-added elements and activities and are able to use specific tools. (para. 1) The Walden University outcomes for graduates that I believe are most relevant to my professional goals as a DBA candidate are to: understand and continuously develop and change themselves, the organizations in which they work, and society at large; create new knowledge dedicated to the improvement of social conditions, and to positively impact society by putting that knowledge into practice, by modeling their learning through action, and by being civically engaged; . . . achieve professional excellence as active and influential professionals by applying their learning to specific problems and challenges in their work settings and professional practice; . . . [and] practice in their professional fields legally and ethically. . . . (Walden University, 2008c) These outcomes are directly aligned with my professional and personal goals. Because of the manner in which Walden University has chosen to cultivate professionals and the reputation it has in the e-learning environment, Walden was my first choice in education options. Part IB: Outline and S.W.O.T. Analysis


I have several strengths that I believe will be instrumental in obtaining a Doctor of Business Administration degree. Two great strengths are the completion of my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Both degrees are in areas of business in which I have great interest, and that interest has grown with each new professional position that I have obtained. Immediately after completing my bachelor’s degree, I worked as an economic services worker (ESW) for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. I worked heavily with financial analysis in order to determine the eligibility of applicants for state and federal programs. I enjoyed the financial analysis side of the position but could not bear witnessing the immense poverty of the clients I served in West Virginia. This position brought light to both a strength and a weakness that I possess. I truly enjoy helping others and working with finances and budgets. However, I have a weakness for enabling individuals to continue in their plight by doing for them instead of assisting them achieve independence. During the time that I worked as an ESW in the West Virginia welfare system, I was truly an enabler. I was prompted to leave the position for that reason. I found additional strengths in learning about ethics and compliance in business in my next professional position, as I worked my way up to the position of manager in a compliance call center. I benefited from great grammar skills and obtained additional editing and leadership skills.

This position also increased my interest in compliance, particularly as it pertains to corporations and their finances. These interests will no doubt have a large impact on my doctoral studies. The call center management position taught me invaluable skills in managing people of various temperaments and learning how to be creative in getting results from a diverse group of individuals. I obtained great time management and crisis management skills as well that I keep with me and that have shaped my leadership skills. It is these skills that I hope to teach to other young business leaders, in addition to valuable business skills. In my current position as a grants manager and development officer, I complete research on a frequent basis for faculty and staff who wish to write grants that are congruent with the university’s strategic plan. These research skills will most assuredly be invaluable during my doctoral studies. Additionally, the research resources at my disposal will be a great asset. Support from family and friends is essential and it has been given to me unconditionally. It is from this support that I frequently draw strength. However, my primary reasons for not allowing defeat to overtake me when it could have in the past are my two sons. They are my most precious accomplishments, and I will see them succeed in their dreams by instilling in them the promise of education that was instilled in me by my family.


Statistical Analysis has always been my least favorite business course. Each time I have survived Statistical Analysis with an admirable grade, but because I have not mastered it, I still fear it a little. I know that I will need to call upon resources at the university where I work for tutoring assistance during my doctoral program in hopes of finally mastering Statistical Analysis. It is my desire to become comfortable and proficient with statistical tools because it will be important for both my academic and professional progression. To be successful in my pursuit of a doctoral degree, I must minimize my propensity to overload my plate with tasks just because I have the ability to do it, knowing full well I do not have the time. At my current place of employment, I am called upon frequently to do things like fix a simple problem with the division printer or a computer, run reports, or complete an administrative task because I can get it done quickly, even though it may be someone else’s responsibility. Although my intentions are honorable, I am enabling others not to perform and am hindering my own efforts. Quickly recovering from errors made will also be a necessity. I cannot afford to brood over failures because it does not benefit my progress in any manner. Practicing these corrections in self-awareness will be no easy task for me.


With a master’s degree and now a doctoral degree in my future, opportunities are abundant. I am optimistic, even in this current economy with extreme unemployment, that if I do not obtain a promotion at the university where I currently work, I may still have a future in an academic setting. It is my desire to bring quality improvements and greater excellence to Johnson C. Smith University, but the proposal that I am currently developing regarding a division of quality and excellence is a model that will work in most academic settings.

The opportunity to complete research that may be published is also a possibility because I work in academia and because of the nature of my job as a development officer. I have had one piece published in JCSU’s quarterly magazine, and it is my desire to have an article published in a scholarly journal through connections with the university. Our current university president encourages scholarly writing, and when given the opportunity to write, whether for research or for advancing my financial position, I will seize it.

If permitted to continue down my current employment path, I believe there will be opportunities for fellowships, which are sorely needed. The American Association of University Women, the National Black MBA Association, and the American Management Association, all offer unique fellowship opportunities to members who have applied themselves and show excellence in their profession.


The opportunity for fellowships is extremely important in my effort to obtain a doctoral degree because financial debt from funding my education is mounting. Ironically, the university where I work does not offer any type of tuition assistance toward a graduate degree. It is my hope that I can supplant future loans with fellowships from one of the organizations mentioned above, including any offered by Walden University.

In addition to mounting loans, the current economy is weighing heavily on my family budget. Ordinarily, I would be prompted to action by finding another way to bring income into our household. I am now required to depend upon my spouse for that additional support, something I am used to doing myself. Financial sacrifice is not the only burden I have placed on my family. With two children, one with a medical need that requires additional attention in order for him to be successful, I must again rely heavily on my spouse to do what I would be more comfortable doing myself.

I will put to work those leadership and management skills I obtained during my call center days in order to appropriately deal with what seems to be increasing political posturing by some of my colleagues. It is still a little difficult for me to believe that anyone would be threatened by my ambitions. However, I must be careful to consider that it as a possibility. The business world is very competitive, but I assumed because I did not work directly in the corporate world that I would be safe from that type of political environment. I will work to reassure my colleagues that my dedication to ethical behavior will not permit me to ruin another coworker for my own professional gain.

Part IIA: Description of Educational Background and Research Proficiencies Academic Experience

I was fortunate to enter West Virginia State University, at the time called West Virginia State College (WVSC), with a full academic scholarship that included room and board. I was also awarded the U.H. Prunty Scholarship, which enabled me to purchase books during all four years that I attended WVSC. During my undergraduate experience, I became a well-rounded student through participation in activities such as the NAACP and the WVSC Ambassadors, a faculty/staff-nominated designation where students represent the university and provide guided tours to visiting donors and potential students. I also participated in the Pre-Alumni Club and raised money through volunteer efforts with my sorority that we donated to a local women’s shelter called Sojourner’s. During 1992, my sorority sisters and I were honored with the prestigious Ethel Hedgeman Lyle Community Service Award by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for our community service work. The work we did during that time not only humbled me and inspired me to give back, but also showed me the true meaning of philanthropy and charity.

My academic performance during undergraduate school was not stellar, but my experiences combined with my upbringing instilled within me a desire to press further academically. My learning continued, although sometimes not within the traditional academic setting. I attended seminars with regularity and, in 2000, earned my licensure as a life and health insurance agent in ultimate pursuit of a financial analyst career through Primerica Financial Services. I did not complete the training to become a financial analyst. However, I did learn a great deal about financial tools and gained a better understanding of budgeting, saving, and what life insurance is truly for. I am still using most of the tools I gained during that time to perform many of my current duties as a grants manager. It took another 13 years after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration before the academic momentum returned and I was accepted at Strayer University during the fall of 2006. My graduate school experience at Strayer University fared much better but was actually far more challenging. I combined distance learning with the tremendous tasks of maintaining my family life as a married mother of two school-age children and working full-time as a development officer and private grants manager at JCSU. I excelled at Strayer, even with these challenges, and found that distance learning was the perfect academic venue to work with my hectic lifestyle. The courses that invoked keen interest were the classes involving strategic policy analysis, project management, and research analysis. It is not surprising that my interest in and enjoyment of these classes were integral to my high performance in these classes in particular. I was cautioned that distance learning required additional discipline in order to be successful in any area of study. I became partial to distance learning because of the flexibility it offered me as a working adult, as cliché and commercial as that may seem. Difficult courses, such as Quantitative Methods, seemed no more difficult through the use of the electronic blackboard system than being physically in the classroom. The use of this online tool in the distance-learning process was ingenious and fun. Our professor demonstrated classroom methods electronically in real time and we were able to ask questions of him in real time. It is a tool I hope to assist in bringing to the continuing and adult education program that is being established at JCSU.

Research Experience

Research is essential to the duties I currently perform as a development officer and private grants manager at JCSU and an important aspect of the grant-writing process. With the utilization of online tools, I seek potential donors, individuals, corporations, and foundations that will support the university’s strategic goals. I have used Internet tools to research the wealth of individuals who have a relationship with our university, rated their wealth based upon a system that we created for stewardship, and stored the information in a database that the data analyst and I maintain. I research the philanthropic interests of both corporations and foundations and compile the information in profiles that I present to our faculty and staff so that grant proposals may be written to fund the university’s objectives. I also research spending trends of sister organizations to determine whether the spending habits of our division are congruent with what the Institutional Advancement divisions of other universities are spending. This information has been vital to our division vice president and his mission to complete our division’s and the university’s strategic plan. As a requirement of the MBA degree that I obtained at Strayer University, I completed a directed research project (DRP) concerning whistleblower protection laws titled “Whistling in the Wind: A Study of the Travails of Whistleblowers and the Protection Offered to Them.” These research efforts began at the onset of my MBA program in September 2006 and were completed in May 2008. The scope of the project was to deliver an 88-page research project surrounding a problem that I chose to identify. Required within the research document was an abstract, an introduction that included the context of the problem, a statement of the problem and the sub-problems, delimitations, definitions, assumptions, significance of the study, research design and methodology, an organization of the study, and details concerning the qualifications of the researcher. Also, the DRP had to contain a review of literature, data analysis, and an explanation of the treatment of the data, as well as the conclusion of the research and my recommendations based upon what was found during the research. I relied heavily on the Strayer University online library system, which gave me access to countless university library systems across the country. I also utilized the library at Johnson C. Smith University as well as libraries in Charlotte when I needed hard-copy documents.

The basic goals of the project were met in that I completed the DRP in the structure and the length that was required and gained invaluable experience with regard to completing online surveys and interviews of some famous professionals. I received an A on the project, which was quite a stressful undertaking. I chose the subject because it involved ethics in business practices—a subject that has intrigued me since working in a call center that was dedicated to protecting employees, the organizations they worked for, and the organization’s shareholders. I began early, researching famous and infamous whistleblowers, such as Sherron Watkins of Enron. I had substantial information for the literature review. I seemed to develop a problem when it came to breaking down the main problem into sub-problems and found myself redefining the sub-problems as I furthered my research into the topic. One of the major problems I encountered during the process was attempting to devise a rational, objective survey that adequately procured the information that I was attempting to obtain without bias. I also had problems finding enough people to complete the survey for an appropriate sample. In retrospect, I would have solicited advice from professors at JCSU during the process instead of relying only on the resources at Strayer University. It is believed that the analysis of the results could have been done more professionally and efficiently if I had received the results of my survey and interview questions sooner than I obtained them. I was not satisfied with the results because I do not believe that my research significantly contributed to the information that was already available concerning whistleblowers. It is my desire to focus on contributing to the knowledge base and providing information that was not readily available prior to my research. The DRP was an important project to complete because it demonstrated the complexity of not only researching a problem, but the importance of syntax needed to present the information in a coherent, acceptable manner. During my doctoral studies, I would like to focus on how to appropriately analyze the research that is obtained in order to make a significant contribution to the research within a particular subject.

Work/Other Experience

My employment experiences, while always encompassing management, have been quite diverse. Webster’s Menswear, now defunct, was where I had my first management experience. As the “third key” manager, I performed inventory counts nightly of the merchandise that retailed for more than $100. I was responsible for running the nightly sales reports, the supervision of other sales associates, and of course, the sale of merchandise. This experience was really my first real full-time employment experience, so it was even more gratifying to be performing work that was included in my course of study. I continued working at Webster’s Menswear until approximately six months after receiving my bachelor’s degree. Because the hours I was scheduled to work were based on sales, which were not exceeding our goals, and there were no benefits, I began looking for other employment. The management experience at Webster’s did engage my creativity. I assisted customers in selecting apparel and it gave me my first experience with sales reports and the consequences of not meeting the demands of the strategic sales plan. Immediately following my work experience at Webster’s Menswear, I secured another management role with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources as an economic services worker. In this case management role, I determined the initial and continuing economic eligibility of applicants for state-funded Medicaid, food stamps, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. My experience in this arena of management was no different than one would expect from a public servant’s role. The work was difficult, tiring, and frustrating, and the caseload immense, always exuberantly more than statistics had shown one person should be handling. It took 2 years until I finally succumbed to the tremendous pressure of attempting to serve an economic population that I myself just missed being part of by about $200 per month. I left the declining economic plight of West Virginia behind in July 1997 and headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I found another opportunity and my current life. In July 1997, I began working for Pinkerton Services Group, Inc. as a communications specialist (CS) in a compliance hotline call center. There, I was able to enhance good interviewing and excellent writing skills as a CS.

This opportunity is also where I became interested in whistleblower protection issues, compliance, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Within six months, I had progressed to the role of management again as a quality assurance supervisor in the call center. Our call center grew quickly during the early 2000s with the beginning of the demise of Enron, MCI WorldCom, and Adelphia. Most of the corporate giants were scrambling to obtain a way for their employees to alert the company of improprieties and to comply with new, emerging laws to protect the public and company shareholders. I was promoted as the call center’s operations manager during 2001. In this management role I gained experience doing many different tasks that included, but were not limited to, payroll for approximately 50 employees, order tracking and maintenance of call center supplies, call evaluations of communications specialists, monthly evaluations of quality assurance supervisors, monthly statistical reports on the quality of Workplace Alert Reports, and daily communication with executives of vendors whom the company served.

With the expansion of the call center, the roles of key management personnel were redefined. We divided the call center’s quality management team into two groups, manager of the communications specialists and manager of the quality assurance supervisors. I was designated as the quality assurance manager over the quality assurance supervisors, the last title I held before leaving the organization in February 2004. On February 1, 2004, I joined the staff at Johnson C. Smith University, the only historically black college and university in Charlotte, North Carolina. I sought this change for two reasons. The compliance center where I formerly worked split from Pinkerton Services Group and formed a separate company, Global Compliance Services. Many things began to change and the environment was no longer stable. Additionally, I was the only manager on call 24 hours a day to address any issue that arose in the call center. After giving birth, being on call 24 hours a day was no longer conducive to maintaining a stable family life. For the first time since obtaining my degrees, I accepted a role that did not appear to involve managing individuals. In the role of office manager and executive assistant to the vice president of Institutional Advancement, I did maintain and even enhance some management skills. This assignment required me to be more team-oriented. I became the administrative right hand for a division that included Alumni Affairs, Foundation Relations and Private Grants, Corporate Relations, Public Relations, Development, and the Vice President’s Office.

This role gave me the opportunity to become adept with budget management and analysis as I was given the responsibility of managing nine budgets. I also became proficient with fundraising software, the Raiser’s Edge, which was crucial to the division’s success. As the office manager, I became at one point the data analyst and was then responsible for training a new data analyst. We shared the responsibility of database management and reporting. Three years later I was promoted to my current position as the division’s development officer and private grants manager. I retained the responsibility of the divisional budgets and learned different skill-sets, including research, grants administration, and grant writing. While quite adept at research and grants administration, I have yet to write a grant that has been funded. It is my hope that JCSU’s new president, Dr. Ronald L. Carter, will see the need for a budget analyst, as I have proposed to him, and promote me to this new assignment. Eventually, I would like to work in the capacity of professor at our university. I hope to use all of the skills that I have acquired through previous employment, which seem now to all be interrelated, in order to advance the mission of the university. Experience with issues of compliance that I gained in the call center, writing and editing, managing budgets, analyzing financial information, combined with my DBA, are all expected to advance my career as a senior-level executive at Johnson C. Smith University. It was initially my desire to use my doctoral project to advance an initiative at JCSU that involves infusing Six Sigma Quality measures in each area of our business, particularly with how we approach education. Because of our current culture and some resistance that I have received from senior-level executives when attempting to propose new ideas, I shied away from this idea. However, after completing recent assignments, reading about the intent of the doctoral project and how it is intended to interrelate to a candidate’s work environment, I would like to attempt this initiative at JCSU and use this research platform for my doctoral studies. It was David Johnson (2005) who stated that “the outcome of the research is designed to provide valuable insights to the sponsoring organisation, in addition to contributing to knowledge in the field of practice. In this form of doctorate therefore research is a tool in developing professional practice” (p. 88). I would like my doctoral project to pertain to the following question: How can Six Sigma or Lean Management Quality measures be implemented within JCSU’s education and management systems to advance the university’s strategic and quality enhancement plans?

Part IIIA: Individualized Plan of Study

The date that has been projected as my anticipated graduation date for my Doctor of Business Administration degree is October 26, 2012. Courses such as DDBA 8110 Business Operations: Systems Perspectives in Global Organizations; DDBA 8120 Information Systems: Global Management Strategies and Technology; DDBA 8130 Marketing: Strategic Innovation in Globally Diverse Markets; DDBA 8140 Finance: Fiscal Leadership; and DDBA 8150 Leadership: Building Sustainable Organizations were all waived, giving me a total of 15 credit hours toward the 60 required for my degree completion. I have chosen to design my own specialization. It is my desire to combine the finance and leadership specializations in order to create a program that will prepare me for a future that includes teaching business courses at Johnson C. Smith University as well as leading the operation of both for- and non-profit businesses. The descriptions under the specialization of finance, particularly the idea that managers can “maximize their firm’s value” speaks to specific skills that I must acquire in order for my plan of success to work (Walden University, 2008a). I want to be an agent of change within whatever organization I work for, not just for the sake of change, but change that is positive. The leadership specialization will help me to obtain this goal (Walden University, 2008b). I intend to take DDBA 8523 Seminar in Law and Compliance, DDBA 8541 Seminar in Entrepreneurial Finance, and DDBA 8522 Seminar in Sustainability. During the spring 2009 semester, I will be registered for courses DDBA 8160 Business Strategy and Innovation and DDBA 8427 Applied Research Methods—Qualitative and Quantitative (currently I am enrolled in courses that my evaluation indicated would be waived). The next course that is required is DDBA 8437 Quantitative Decision-Making in Professional Practice. I will take this course with one of the three required DBA specialization courses mentioned above.

These two courses will be completed during summer 2009. During the winter 2009 session, I will take the final two specialization courses. There will be a requirement of 20 hours of doctoral study completion courses that will be taken four credit hours at a time for five semesters. With no anticipated breaks within my course of study, I anticipate my completion date to be during spring 2011 instead of the projected October 2012 date. There are two 4-day residencies required for the DBA degree program. It is recommended that the first residency be completed within 90 days of completing DDBA 8005. I will complete my first residency March 18 to 22, 2009, in Lansdowne, Virginia (Walden residency calendar, 2008). The next residency will be completed after completion of my core courses during 2010. The focus of my doctoral project will involve incorporating Lean or Six Sigma Management into higher education. It is my hope that I will be able to implement the Lean design into the curriculum and the management practices at the university where I work after completion of the research on this subject. It is my belief that my fellow colleagues would describe me as a tenacious problem-solver, an optimistic leader who believes there is a solution to every problem. I am always open to constructive criticism and self-improvement. I seek to improve with each obstacle that I overcome. I am also willing to offer constructive criticism to others and have learned the art of how and when to do so professionally and with tact. I like to incorporate humor, where appropriate, in much of what I do because I truly believe that in order to solve most problems, one must have a sense of humor. These personal skills, or life skills, have come with maturity and much trial and error. I believe each of these skills will be essential to my ability to excel in the Doctor of Business Administration program as well as being integral to my future professional endeavors.

Part IIIB: Professional Interview

Evelyn Leathers is the director of Corporate and Foundation Relations within the Institutional Advancement division at Johnson C. Smith University. My goal in interviewing Ms. Leathers was to get an in-depth understanding of what role this division will play in the mission of the president, Dr. Ronald L. Carter, in JCSU becoming “Charlotte’s very own nationally-recognized independent urban university” (Carter, 2008, p. 2). It is my intent to understand what policies may be improved within that department and ultimately the division in order to improve to the level of quality that Dr. Carter intends for the university to fulfill the proposed vision. The role of the Institutional Advancement division is to support the university financially through philanthropic solicitation, community involvement, and improved public relations. For this reason, the division includes the departments of Development, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Grant Research, Alumni Affairs, and Public Relations. The division plays an integral role in that it provides money that is not earned through tuition. When enrollment is down, the Institutional Advancement division’s role becomes even more vital. Ms. Leathers, who has served JCSU in several different capacities through two separate terms of employment, remains loyal to the university because she is passionate about the human investment, the students (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). There are many historically black colleges and universities that are currently experiencing financial duress due to a number of factors. According to Ms. Leathers, the university has survived and prospered due to the quality of the Institutional Advancement division and the university’s relationship with The Duke Endowment (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). Johnson C. Smith University is fortunate enough to be one of four universities to be included as a beneficiary of The Duke Endowment’s mission to serve higher education by promoting academic excellence (The Duke Endowment, 2007). The Duke Endowment provides financial support to schools like JCSU in order to foster excellence in individuals so that they will be inspired to share with the community what they have gained through education (The Duke Endowment, 2007). Although JCSU has exercised fiscal responsibility, Ms. Leathers is convinced that without The Duke Endowment, the university would not be successful, particularly in today’s extreme economic climate (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008).

The nation is currently experiencing a recession, one that is predicted to last at least until late 2010. Ms. Leathers proposes that her department, Corporate and Foundation Relations, will need to become creative, selective, and savvy in order to remain afloat and remain aligned with the university’s mission (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). Creativity will enable the division to utilize initiatives that corporations and foundations will support financially, such as incorporating green initiatives into capital building plans. Selectivity means that the university will not go after or accept just any grant offered by a foundation or corporation. Ms. Leathers explained that sometimes fulfilling the conditions offered by a funder can be costly to the university (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). Proposals must be carefully reviewed to ensure that the university is not taking on a financially burdening project. The Institutional Advancement division must also be savvy and shrewd in its business dealings in order receive the most return on the investments made by its public relations staff, its development officers, and all of its financial solicitors (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). In today’s economic climate, more than ever, quality in our operational functions becomes very important to the success of the university.

The department of Corporate and Foundation Relations will practice quality in its operations by going back to the basics of fundraising, traveling smarter and only within the region to conserve resources, and focusing on research efforts more heavily (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). These efforts will assist Dr. Carter with fulfilling the university’s goal of infusing quality where needed to become one of Charlotte’s elite, premier universities. Ms. Leathers explained that foundations and corporations do not give to people, but to causes. If the university, and the Institutional Advancement division in particular, focuses on quality programs and eliminating waste, corporations and foundations will be prompted to give to the university’s cause (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). One of the most critical areas within the Institutional Advancement division that could use an infusion of quality is the university’s enterprise management system.  Ms. Leathers stated that quality reporting is essential to development, grant writing, and research (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). All staff must be trained to use the system efficiently in order for the division to be effective and practice quality. Once all staff becomes proficient with its operation of the enterprise management system, it will translate to quality in most areas of operation (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). Ms. Leathers is able to draw strength from understanding that the mission of the university is to provide a quality education to our most valuable assets, the students.

Soliciting funds from foundations and corporations during a recession is not easy and sometimes not enjoyable, but necessary (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). Ms. Leathers stated that the outcome will be positive and anticipates it will take another five years before the university realizes benefits from quality initiatives that are just beginning under the new administration of Dr. Carter (E. Leathers, personal communication, December 14, 2008). Ms. Leathers and I discussed a quote from John B. Duke, founder of The Duke Endowment: “Education, when conducted along sane and practical, as opposed to dogmatic and theoretical, lines, is, next to religion, the greatest civilizing influence” (Duke, 1924). In addition to agreeing that the quote is profoundly accurate, we share the hope that the same sentiment will be fostered within the generation that we are educating at JCSU. Because Ms. Leathers is my immediate supervisor, her input during this interview lends insight to the direction she gives me on a daily basis. It also forced both of us to contemplate what changes are needed within our own department to work hand in hand with Dr. Carter to promote his vision for the university. There is additional work to be done in order for the two of us to engender change within our department. The questions proposed and the answers provided will assist me in further developing my doctoral study regarding quality and how one might incorporate Lean and Six Sigma into higher education.


American Society of Quality. (2008). Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from http://www.asq.org/certification/six-sigma/index.html Carter, R. L. (2008, Fall). President’s letter. The Johnson C. Smith University Bulletin, 2. 88-99. doi:15.555/GGE.64.1.76-82 Duke, J. B. (1924, December 11). Indenture and deed of trust of personality establishing The Duke Endowment. Retrieved from The Duke Endowment website: http://www.dukeendowment.org/downloads/ind.pdf The Duke Endowment. (2007). Higher education. Retrieved December 14, 2008, from The Duke Endowment website: http://www.dukeendowment.org/education Johnson, D. (2005). Assessment matters: Some issues concerning the supervision and assessment of work-based doctorates. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 42(1), 87–92. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/pqdweb?did=1157097371&sid=1&Fmt=6&clientId=70192&RQT=309&VName=PQD Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2010). Name of program [Video webcast]. Retrieved from http://www.courseurl.com. Walden University. (2008a). Walden University DBA finance specialization. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from Walden University website: http://www.waldenu.edu/Degree-Programs/Doctorate/18391.htm Walden University. (2008b). Walden University DBA leadership specialization. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from Walden University website: http://www.waldenu.edu/Degree-Programs/Doctorate/18427.htm Walden University. (2008c). Walden University outcomes. Retrieved November 9, 2008, from Walden University website: http://www.waldenu.edu/c/Student_Catalog/8893_9096.htm

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