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McPherson College Signs Agreement with Fort Hays State University in Support of New Graduate Courses

posted Jul 06, 2012 in ACADEMICS

Thanks to an agreement signed between McPherson College and Fort Hays State University, MC will be able to follow an innovative approach to its new graduate-level courses in education while allowing those credits to apply for critical school leadership certification.

Starting in fall 2012, MC will begin offering its first graduate-level courses, and will use those as the basis for seeking accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Dr. Mark Malaby, director of the graduate courses in education and associate professor of education, has spent the last academic year developing the unique, entrepreneurial curriculum. The classes will allow professionals who take the courses to learn through developing programs or initiatives that improve the quality of education in their own communities.

The extensive use of project-based learning and collaborative projects has meant that the new courses at MC don't always fit traditional certification paths such as those required for school principals and administrators in Kansas.

“We ultimately had to choose between adopting procedures that dramatically lessened personalization and community engagement and the certification endorsement we were seeking," Dr. Malaby said. "Once that became clear we began to look for alternatives that would allow us to do both.”

In pursuing other avenues for what's expected to be a popular certification option, Dr. Malaby has developed a partnership with Fort Hays State University that allows graduate credits obtained at McPherson College to be accepted by the Educational Leadership program at Fort Hays State University. Meaning that with just a few additional classes at Fort Hays, possibly with an online component, the leadership certification can be obtained.

In short, the agreement opens the possibility of earning two master's degrees and a leadership certification in not much more time than it usually takes to earn just one degree.

Also as part of the agreement, the two institutions will collaborate by sharing information, marketing and expertise in their own areas of strength. Fort Hays is a leader in online programs, while MC is taking the leading edge on progressive, project-based learning.

“With FHSU’s expertise in distance education and our commitment to cutting-edge, project-based learning, both institutions come into the agreement with unique strengths to complement one another," Dr. Malaby said. "It is a win for both sides.”

For more information or to apply to take graduate level courses in education, contact Teresa Graham, graduate admissions officer, at or 620-242-0485. More information is also available at

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