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Development of Graduate Leadership and Management Programs for Working Professionals

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Ethics Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.424.1 - 24.424.15



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Paper Authors


Ronald W. Welch The Citadel

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Ron Welch, P.E., received his B.S. degree in engineering mechanics from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1990 and 1999, respectively. He became the dean of engineering at The Citadel on July 1, 2011 after serving as the department head of civil engineering at the University of Texas, Tyler from January 2007 to June 2011. He also served in the Corps of Engineers for over 24 years, including 11 years on the faculty at the United States Military Academy.

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Keith Plemmons PE, PMP The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Keith Plemmons, a project management and education professional, is an associate professor in The Citadel’s School of Engineering and the CEO of VAB Group, LLC, a sole-proprietor business services company. He also is a registered professional engineer in South Carolina, with 30 years of multidisciplinary engineering, management, and higher education experience across both public and private sectors in the United States and Japan. His credentials include a B.S. in civil engineering from The Citadel, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Clemson University. Keith’s passions include risk management and professional workforce development. He and his wife, Charlotte, have three major projects (i.e. children), all of whom are adopted, ahead of schedule, and slightly over budget.

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Project Management Master’s Degree Supports Multiple Diverse Professional Educational Needs  In the South Carolina, especially the Low Country, there has been a resurgence of manufacturing companies being started or relocated to include companies such as Boeing, BMW, Continental Tire, Bosch, etc. This does not include all of the smaller companies that supply and support these larger companies with manufactured materials and parts. As with any location in the nation, as companies consider building, enlarging the footprint, or relocating, they want to know if there are tax advantages, appropriate transportation networks, and an available workforce. The first educational request is for workforce development usually at the technician level. Once the company is fully operational, the second educational request is for continuance of workforce development to allow current technicians to obtain a four‐year degree and become the managers of the workforce and to allow current leaders the ability to obtain a master’s degree.  This paper will outline the process, struggles and solutions that eventually lead to the development of a Project Management Master’s Degree that not only provides a master’s degree for those seeking that level of education, but also meets the need advancement through a certificate(s), Professional Project Management (PMP) licensure, leadership development, and technical or advanced skill development. It will also discuss shoestring marketing procedures used to grow the program from 5 enrollments in fall 2008 to nearly 160 enrollments in fall 2013 and the process for determining what and when to add additional course options. The paper will also present assessment data as the program meets SACS regional accreditation and prepares for Global Project Management accreditation, better known as GAC. 

Welch, R. W., & Plemmons, K. (2014, June), Development of Graduate Leadership and Management Programs for Working Professionals Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20315

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