Linda Latham, dean of Health Technologies, has completed the work to receive her doctorate of education in Higher Education Executive Leadership from Wingate University in Wingate, N.C. For three years until this past March when everything went online, she commuted every Saturday to Wingate with no summers off.
Her inspiration to pursue her doctorate was developed when she saw Wingate University at the North Carolina Community College System office conference. She saw their brochures and thought the topics were relevant to being a new dean, so she started the program.
The title of her dissertation was “The Effect of Mandatory Academic Advising on Community College Completion Rates.”
“It was challenging, but looking back it was exciting to see, with data analysis, how very important required advising can be,” said Latham.
She studied the advising model that Forsyth Tech established in 2015 for college transfer students and their completion rates. Latham also studied the differences in mandatory advising for minority students and their completion rates. She found a significant improvement in completion rates in both the college transfer cohort as well as in the URM (underrepresented minority) students’ completion rates after the mandatory advising program began.
Latham is now a published author as well. “We also had the opportunity to contribute to a book “Student Focused Learning: Higher Education in an Exponential Digital Era” edited by Dr. Darrel Staat, Coordinator, Higher Education Executive Leadership Program/Assistant Professor, Graduate Education at Wingate.” said Latham. “Each of the seven students in my cohort wrote a chapter and mine was Concept-Based Education.”
Dr. Latham has been at Forsyth Tech for 16 years, beginning as an adjunct clinical instructor in nursing, moving into increasing roles of responsibility as lead instructor, program coordinator, department chair, director and was hired as dean three and a half years ago.
“I’m very pleased with our whole Health Technologies division and how we take people where they are and place them in life-changing careers,” said Latham. “We are one of the largest health technologies undergraduate programs in the state, and of course I think, the best.”
Dr. Latham received her undergraduate degree in nursing at Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, N.C., now named Barton College. She holds two master’s degrees; she received a master’s of arts in adult education from East Carolina University and a master’s of science in nursing education from Western Carolina University.