WINONA LAKE, IN. –Last semester at Grace College demonstrated an extraordinary achievement for the college: five Grace professors received doctorate degrees during the fall 2012 semester. Jeff Gill, Roger Stichter, Deb Musser, Cheryl Bremer, and Terry White all finished their degrees this fall while teaching for the college.
“Institutions like ours always have faculty members that are pursuing additional degrees, but to have five in one semester is quite noteworthy,” said Bill Katip, provost of Grace College. “We are very proud of these faculty members. This accomplishment represents several years of hard work and sacrifice. Their effort helps ensure that our students continue to receive state-of-the-art instruction from our faculty.”
The newly minted doctoral recipients are eager to use their broadened knowledge to make a richer impact on their students. Cheryl Bremer, assistant professor of education, received a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Special Education from Regent University. “Now that I have completed this degree,” she explained, “I am excited to focus on my students and their learning by encouraging research-based practices for preservice teacher training and in K-12 education.”
Terry White, part-time instructor of journalism, also received a Doctor of Education degree. His was in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University. “It’s an exciting time to participate in scholarship and education in such a fast-moving, important, emerging field,” said White. “I hope to find opportunities to use it to help prepare leaders for the future.”
The recipients have been researching for their degree for the last several years, ranging from four to seven years from start to finish. “Completing a doctorate in the midst of teaching responsibilities is a grueling process that requires persistence, courage, and sacrifice,” said Jared Burkholder, director of the Office of Faith, Learning and Scholarship. “It demonstrates that our faculty are intentional about advancing their professional credentials and remaining current in their disciplines, even if it doesn’t come easily.”
Roger Stichter, associate professor of accounting, earned a Doctor of Business Administration from Anderson University, with a dissertation topic focused on Accounting Ethics. “Doctoral studies has broadened my understanding of how research enhances education,” he explained. “My degree was broader than a Ph D. and studying management, marketing, finance, economics, international business, and ethics has helped my understanding of business.”
Deb Musser, chair of the Graduate Department of Counseling and Interpersonal Relations, received a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Certificate in Group Work from the Adler School of Professional Psychology-Chicago. She did so while teaching a full load at Grace in the graduate counseling program. “I am thrilled to have finished my doctorate work as the five-year process was challenging. As so often is the case in God’s plan for me, he used the process to grow, refine, deepen, and challenge me in ways I couldn’t have done on my own,” said Musser.
Jeff Gill, dean of the School of Ministry Studies and professor of pastoral studies, began graduate work at Western Michigan University in the fall of 2005. He received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership after seven years of balancing teaching and graduate work. “I am very thankful for the support of my wife, my entire family, and my colleagues at Grace,” he said. “I am most grateful to God for His sustaining grace through this journey.”
Grace College and Seminary is an evangelical Christian community of higher education that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and applies biblical values in strengthening character, sharpening competence and preparing for service. Grace College also offers flexible online and hybrid-online graduate degrees, on-campus and online degree completion programs, and highly affordable, easily accessible two-year degree programs in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. The 180-acre main campus is located near Warsaw, Indiana in the historic resort town of Winona Lake.