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Professional and Continuing Education earns top five national ranking

2018-04-09-PCE wins national award
Deborah Adams, assistant director of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) at the University of North Georgia (UNG), is pictured on the left with Alston Troutman, staff associate with PCE at UNG. The pair attended the LEAD awards ceremony Feb. 8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. UNG won two awards at the event.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has added two more national rankings to its list of accolades thanks to its Division of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE).

Leadership Excellence & Development (LEAD) ranked UNG's certificate program with emphasis on human resources as second in the nation. The University of California in Los Angeles earned the top spot previously held by UNG.

UNG placed fifth for PCE's certificate program with emphasis on leadership and organizational development. Schools ranked higher were Seton Hall University, Rider University and Montclair State University, all in New Jersey, and Kent State University in Ohio. UNG was the only school from Georgia ranked in the top 10 in both categories. This the third straight year PCE received a top 10 ranking for this program.

"With UNG being a leadership institution, the fact that our certificate program is recognized on a national stage is huge," said Dr. Wendy Estes, director of PCE at UNG.

The awards are significant because it compares UNG with schools from the United States and Canada, and takes students' opinions into account, Estes said.

"Too often the learner outcomes are ignored, and that's what counts the most," she said. "We appreciate that they reach out to the students. Having positive feedback reinforces the notion that we offer top notch training locally."

Individuals are not the only ones benefiting from the PCE's certificate programs. Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp., a tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer with headquarters in Gainesville, Georgia, has reaped dividends from UNG's programs.

In 2015, Kubota reached out to another school close to Atlanta to help create a customized management program for its rising leaders and manager. But the yearlong pilot program did not work well.

"It was difficult for us because of the distance. We were forced to use our own facility, which was distracting," said Phil Sutton, vice president and chief administrative officer for Kubota Manufacturing of America and Kubota Industrial Equipment.

In 2016, Sutton and his team contacted UNG's PCE division. Both sides met and crafted a cohort tailored to Kubota’s needs by expanding on PCE’s Master Certificate in Leadership and Supervision program.

"It was designed to be an entry-level management development program that helps to take existing managers who have no formal training along with some who have the high potential for management positions and prepare them for that management journey," Sutton said.

Kubota launched the program with 10 students at UNG. All graduated with certificates in November 2017.

"It was so successful," Sutton said. "You can see a difference in their attitudes and leadership skills. They are excited about growing into leadership roles now."

He added the participants who came from purchasing, planning, IT, and many departments bonded.

"Their interaction has created a very cohesive group," Sutton said. "It's improved communication beyond departments and individuals. They have respect for each other and the challenges they face. It's almost created a small fraternity."

Now, Sutton is looking forward to launching another cohort program for 10 members of Kubota's management team. But they may not be the only ones returning to UNG.

"Interestingly enough, that experience has motivated one of my managers to go back and finish their formal education on their own at UNG," he said. "And one is thinking about the graduate programs at UNG."

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