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Newberry College Announces Accreditation Level Change

July 9, 2021


NEWBERRY — After years of planning, Newberry College has the green light to offer master’s degrees, college leaders announced Friday on the steps of Holland Hall.


The announcement comes after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approved the level change from Level II to Level III, which includes graduate degrees as well as the traditional undergraduate curriculum.


“This level change is not only an historic step for Newberry College. It’s a natural extension of our College’s mission, and a next step in our continued growth. Our mission includes preparing students to pursue their calling, their vocation,” said Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College.


“As society and industries change, Newberry College will be here to give students the tools they need to pursue their callings – whether it’s a traditional bachelor’s degree; degree completion for working professionals in nursing and respiratory therapy; and now, a master’s degree,” Scherrens said.


The substantive change in accreditation is the result of the college’s viable case for adding such programs. Not only did the institution need to illustrate the demand for new master’s programs, college leaders needed to demonstrate financial fortitude, employability of graduates, faculty preparedness, and more. Newberry College cleared these hurdles with flying colors.


“There are so many people who are committed to the success of our students and the future of Newberry College. We want to thank our students, alumni, staff, and community partners who continue to support Newberry College every day, without whom this would not be possible,” said Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs.


The college’s first graduate program will be an online Master of Science in organizational development and leadership, with classes expected to begin this year.


Parrish went on to recognize Dr. David Fowler, who, alongside his duties as chair of the Department of Business Administration, has spearheaded the graduate degree’s development. Fowler will assume the role of program coordinator for the new master’s program, while Dr. Sarah Bryant will reprise her role as business department chair.


“Graduate program offerings help us expand opportunities for individuals to invest in their future through education, to journey with them toward discovering their vocation and impacting their communities, regions, and states,” said Dr. Kelli Lynn Fellows, dean of online and graduate programs.


“Our task now is to work to build new partnerships and strengthen existing connections in our community, to provide the framework for real-world educational experiences,” Fellows added.


Newberry College’s move to the graduate level is historic, but not unprecedented. Between 1885 and 1928, the college awarded 54 master’s degrees, in subjects including mathematics, natural sciences, philosophy, history, and Latin and Greek. The last student to earn a Newberry master’s degree was Ella Dunn, the program’s only female graduate, who received her Master of Arts degree in chemistry and physics in 1928.


The location of Friday’s announcement was chosen in part as a tribute to the Rev. George Holland, president of Newberry College from 1877 until his death in 1895, whose accomplishments included the establishment of the college’s first graduate program.

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