Higher education is truly a gift. For a dedicated few, the journey continues past a traditional associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Proverbs 18:15 says that “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” At Saint Martin’s University, both hearts and minds can be fed through post-graduate studies up to the Ph.D. level thanks to newly added programming.

Saint Martin's University
The priority admissions deadline for the 2021-2022 Leadership Studies program is January 29, 2021 so don’t wait, apply now. Photo credit: Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin’s began offering a Ph.D. path in Leadership Studies over the tumultuous summer of 2020. “The Ph.D. in Leadership studies is a multidisciplinary program, meaning it attracts and enrolls students from many fields and the classes are taught by faculty from different fields,” explains Dr. Jackie Clark. “Right now, we have students with education and experience in counseling, medicine, nursing, business, government, and both K-12 and higher education.”

Clark wears several hats on campus. She’s an assistant professor in the College of Education and Counseling, program director in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and interim director of the new Leadership Studies program. Their first cohort enrolled 22 students and they expect approximately the same number in the 2021 session.

Like the program, Clark is also new to the Saint Martin’s family. A Florida-native, she’s lived up and down both east and west coasts. Having received a Ph.D. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia, she became a Saint not long after that when she joined the school’s M.Ed. Program in Student Affairs & Higher Education. “It’s been an incredible opportunity to build two programs at the university and work with faculty and professionals in the region. I really enjoy living and working in Lacey/Olympia and have found local residents to be incredibly welcoming and friendly. It’s also great to live between two metro areas, Seattle and Portland, and benefit from the many activities and events happening in those cities.”

Saint Martin's University
Dr. Jackie Clark wears multiple hats within the program: assistant professor, program director in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and Interim Director of Leadership Studies. Photo credit: Saint Martin’s University

“Earning a Ph.D. is a very critical decision in each students’ life and not one that should be taken lightly,” admits Clark. “The process requires intense academic work and the ability to engage in the creation of knowledge through original scholarship. Our students have wonderful work experiences and generally seek additional study to become a scholar in their area of practice. Some will go on to faculty careers but most will apply their learning in practical and direct ways, often to serve their local community. As leaders, our graduates will seek to build equitable and just spaces, strong communities and collaborative opportunities.”

Because the Leadership Studies program welcomes many backgrounds and can be used towards a variety of futures, it “provides fertile ground for discussion and application of leadership principles,” says Clark. “There has been immense interest in the Ph.D. program and I am proud of our first cohort. I know the program will continue to grow and develop as we build new partnerships with the community and region. Our graduates will be scholars, leaders and ambassadors for Saint Martin’s University. I look forward to continued work with the program as its director and plan to remain involved for years to come!”

The priority admissions deadline for 2021-2022’s program is January 29, 2021. A full list of degree requirements and core curriculum can be found online or you can request information by calling 360-491-4700. Questions? Feel free to email Clark directly at jclark@stmartin.edu. Instruction and scheduling have been created for those with full-time work schedules, military veterans and others. Completion can take as little as three years, with a full graduate load, but can be tackled at any pace.

Saint Martin's University
Saint Martin’s University is proud to offer its first PhD program in Leadership Studies. Photo credit: Saint Martin’s University

The Census Bureau reports that “The educational level of American adults is on the rise as more college graduates go on to earn master’s, professional and doctoral degrees. Since 2000, the number of people age 25 and over whose highest degree was a master’s has doubled to 21 million. The number of doctoral degree holders has more than doubled to 4.5 million.”

With 125 years in our community, Saint Martin’s consistently ranks on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges listing and one of the Top 40 Most Transformative Colleges in the U.S. by Money Magazine. They strive to provide their students with a world-class education that’s grounded solidly in Benedictine values. Now, for the first time, those students can weather the rigorous Ph.D. track knowing they’ll be supported along the journey.

Follow the school on Facebook for campus-wide updates and information, especially current COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. If you have any questions about the January 29 deadline, reach out today to streamline the enrollment process.


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