Livingstone College adds first master’s program

Published 12:10 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

“I feel very good about the future — the baton will be passed” — Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins

SALISBURY – Livingstone College announced it will offer a graduate program for the first time in its more than 150-year history and is looking ahead to pursuing university status.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approved Livingstone College’s membership at level three, allowing it to offer a master of business administration degree.

The announcement was made at the SACSCOC Board of Trustees’ June meeting.

The college had to complete an application demonstrating it was compliant with the association’s standards in order to go up a level and offer more advanced degrees.

The program will be offered effective Jan. 1, 2023 and is aimed at students and professionals who want to “advance their careers, excel as business executives or become successful entrepreneurs,” according to a release from the college.

The college credits Kelli Randall, Livingstone’s vice president for academic affairs and SACSCOC accreditation liaison; as well as Laverne Macon-Jamison, director of assessment, institutional effectiveness and research; Business School Dean R.D. Sharma; and business faculty with working on the application.

Retiring Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins said the level change originated with the business school faculty, and the college employed faculty members with the credentials to teach at level three. He said there has also been a high demand from graduates who want to stay on board with the college.

Jenkins said the college had to identify the courses for the degree and ensure it had the faculty to teach the courses. At that point the college decided it would be an appropriate step to create the program.

“It makes us more comprehensive in terms of our ability to offer programs to the area and I think certainly will impact enrollment,” Jenkins said. “But, the notion is to just continue to provide the next-level learning environment, and that’s really the motivation behind it.”

Jenkins said the level increase paves the way for another goal: some day becoming Livingstone University. Jenkins said the college has not applied for the status change yet but does plan to purse it.

“It’s not set in stone at this point,” Jenkins said. “But we fit the category.”

Jenkins said the new program coming to fruition at the end of his tenure is not bittersweet because it shows the institution is continuing to move forward and the baton will be passed.

“I feel very good about the future,” Jenkins said, also pointing to the college’s 10-year reaccreditation by SACSCOC with no recommendations on the part of the association.

The association does have more level classifications as member institutions look to offer more graduate programs. Level four institutions offer specialist degrees; level five institutions have three or fewer doctoral degrees; and level six institutions offer four or more doctoral degrees.

The college also plans to submit a prospectus for a master’s program in sports management, continuing to expand its offerings as it works on developing a graduate school.

The new MBA program is enrolling students for the spring 2023 semester. Interested students can get more information and apply by calling the Office of Admissions at 704-216-6001. The first cohort will be awarded degrees in May of 2024.

The program will be offered on the main campus and instruction will be entirely in traditional, face-to-face format, though evening classes will be offered as well to accommodate student needs, and some classes will be offered on Saturday. The MBA degree requires 36 credit hours, and a 3.0 minimum grade point average is required for admission.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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