The first cohort of 13 working professionals enrolled in MTSU’s Applied Leadership Certificate Program were recognized Tuesday by interim Provost Mark Byrnes for reaching the first milestone in their studies.

The 13 students completed the first level of a four-certificate program designed by MTSU’s University College to help women and men already in the workforce to enhance their skills – and even earn a degree. Nine of them received their certificates at an event held in MTSU’s Miller Education Center on Bell Street.

A video recap of the event is available on YouTube:

Eleven of the 13 students work for Bridgestone Americas, the largest subsidiary of the world’s top tire and rubber company, the first company that encouraged its employees to enroll in the program.

Byrnes said the program “offers adult learners already on the job a chance to earn additional job certifications — and even a bachelor’s degree — through online courses and short, intensive on-campus instruction.

“It perfectly illustrates the kind of close collaborations this university embraces to fill the educational needs of a dynamic workforce environment in the 21st century.”

Rick Sluder, dean of the University College, said students in the program can earn individual certificates in leadership theory; communication and problem solving; leading teams; and leading people and managing change.

Each certificate can be earned following the completion of two, seven-week online courses and a one-week intensive training on campus, Sluder said.

Students who obtain all four certificates – 10 credit hours each for a total of 40 credit hours – and complete other general education and elective requirements can earn a bachelor of science in Liberal Studies from MTSU with an Applied Leadership concentration.

A diverse team of educators led by University College Associate Dean David Gotcher, working with Bridgestone officials, laid the groundwork for the program. Also aiding the effort were retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, and University College’s Peggy Carpenter, assistant dean of academic outreach, and Cathy Delametter, prior learning assessment director.

“What’s remarkable about this program is that it is a cross-disciplinary effort, featuring instructors from a range of academic areas, including business, organizational communication, sociology and military science,” Byrnes said.

MTSU’s University College provides programs and services to assist working adults, parents, active military, veterans and others in pursuit of degrees and certifications. Its Adult Degree Completion Program is the largest adult program in the state of Tennessee. For more information, visit

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