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Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Alumni Accomplishments

Dr. Jace T. Luxjace

Without a doubt, my experience in the doctoral program played a substantial role in my career path.  When I started the program in 2008, I had never served in a leadership role.  In 2010, about halfway through my time in the doctoral program, I took over the highly successful WKU Forensics program.  The timing of this transition was interesting, as it afforded me the opportunity to immediately apply what I was learning in the classroom to my new leadership role.  In the Forensics program, I lead not only a group of 40 high achieving students, but also a staff of coaches and support personnel, and as such, different leadership styles had to be applied to those different groups of people.  The doctoral program equipped me with the skills to be able to simultaneously lead different populations effectively.

In 2014, I assumed the role of WKU’s Director of Recruitment and Admissions.  That immediately meant a lot more responsibility within the university and a much bigger team to lead.  Without the preparation I received in the doctoral program, I would not have been ready for this new challenge.  

To me, one of the most beneficial aspects of the doctoral program was the cohort system (go Cohort 1!).  Having a group of 20 peers going through the same thing I was at the same time meant there was always someone around to encourage me and help me with particularly difficult assignments (I’m looking at you, quantitative research methods).  Through that program, I made friends that I still keep in touch with today.  It has been great to watch the careers of so many of my fellow students take off since they earned their degrees.

I can definitively say that without my experiences earning my doctoral degree at WKU, I would not be nearly as prepared for the various leadership roles I have held since graduating.  I was honored to be a part of the first cohort, and I still enjoy connecting with current and former doctoral students.


Dr. Eric Keeling

The doctoral program has been a true life changer for me.  The inspirational professors, rigorous curriculum, research opportunities, writing, study abroad experiences, and oh yeah---writing,  have opened my mind and my eyes to a new way of thinking, creating, and approaching life.  After graduation, Brian Dunican and I partnered to establish The Center of Innovation and Influence.  It is a consulting business where we provided leadership development and training to business and industry.  Currently we work for WKU DELO department to offer training to local businesses.  I have developed a training program that is utilized by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce training consortium and other companies.  In addition, I am currently working with companies in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Alabama to develop training programs. 

I am also still employed full time as the principal at the Warren County Technology Center and plan to work here a few more years before doing CI&I full time.  I will be attending John Maxwell Consulting Certification training in March, DISC Trainer Certification in March, Lean Manufacturing Greenbelt Certification in April, and OSHA Trainer certification in June 2017. 

I am so proud to be an WKU alum and I am honored to be a graduate of the Doctoral Program at WKU!  Dr. Norman is an amazing professor, mentor, and person.  I can only hope that I can impact my students in the way that he has inspired me. 


Dr. Daryl C. Haganhagan

The Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at Western Kentucky University propelled me beyond the goals I had set prior to starting the program. As the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Evansville, the education, research, and field experiences I garnered from the program and from members of my cohort (Cohort VII) expanded my capabilities to effectively lead our 26 Catholic schools in southwest Indiana.  

Following graduation, Dr. Gary Houchens (my Dissertation Chair) set a goal for me to have my dissertation research published. I am pleased that with his continued guidance that goal was achieved when the Journal of Catholic Education (Volume 20, Issue 1) published my research. I continue to share my research at local, state and national conferences. 

I currently serve as Vice President for the Indiana Non-Public Education Association and I am the Chair/President for the Indiana Catholic School Consortium.


Chris Schmidtchris

July 1, 2017 marked my 21st year working full time in higher education. I have served all 21 years at Lindsey Wilson College. I credit my undergraduate work as a Resident Assistant at WKU for leading me to working with students in Student Affairs. My undergraduate education in physical education eventually had me seeking a Masters in Education. Once I moved to a senior administrators position I realized that a terminal degree offered me many opportunities as I continue in my career. There are the obvious opportunities for a senior VP position and possibly a Presidency one day, but ultimately my degree allows me to lead people. I love to teach, coach, and lead....I think we all have amazing stories to share and I get to listen, learn and share with students, faculty, staff and community partners every day. The doctoral program taught me really listen and learn, synthesize information and share it in a meaningful way with audiences.

Today in addition to my administrative duties as the Dean of Students, I teach introduction to leadership studies to freshmen. I speak to countless groups from Rogers Explorers, Academic Scholars, FFA, FBLA, School Boards, various leadership teams and other visiting groups. Since graduating I have been booked as a motivational speaker or keynote for business executives, higher education platforms, school systems, and various other industry groups.


At the end of the day, I just enjoy meeting new people, listening and sharing stories about how we are all so different but at the same time so alike. I am proud to be a graduate of the WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program. It was one of the best personal and professional decisions I ever made.

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 Last Modified 2/24/17