The mission of the Doctor of Business Administration program is to prepare leaders in business to meet the personal and professional challenges of the future. Through an integrated curriculum, students experience advanced business concepts through the exploration and discovery of new knowledge, performing focused research, and conducting detailed analysis. The program creates meaningful learning experiences that develop practitioner-based scholars who from a leadership perspective can apply creative and innovative concepts to complex and diverse business problems in a variety of sectors. The program promotes leaders who can positively contribute to organizations in a professional manner.
The Doctor of Business Administration program requires successful completion of 90 quarter credit hours. The program must be completed within a maximum timeframe of 54 months. Core courses are supplemented by courses in the specialty area chosen. The courses for this program are conducted in an online delivery format through a competency-based education (CBE) approach. A faculty model is utilized designed for a 1:1 faculty/student relationship that promotes and involves substantive faculty/student interaction. The faculty engage students through a variety of multimedia presentations, conversations, and qualitative and quantitative feedback.
Students complete coursework that supports a strong understanding of the skills required to identify an issue pertinent to their field and determine the existing data and prior research findings that illuminate potential implementations. The primary focus is on identifying and analyzing the value of existing data with a critical lens on both the methodology used in the data collection and the subject matter expertise of the researcher in the student’s field. This process provides the student with the experience of vetting existing data on a broad, potentially international scale, rather than devoting energy to conducting research on a smaller scale due to the constraints of time, location, and availability of subjects.
After completing an initial review of the existing data and developing a preliminary analysis within the first courses, students move on to creating a formal literature review and identification of stakeholders to ensure that the research addresses multiple perspectives. This supports the move from review to analysis and toward the final portion of the dissertation in practice. The final stage will include the student’s findings based upon the analysis of the research and a resulting proposal for implementation commensurate with the industry standards for the field being addressed. As a part of the presentation of the dissertation, the student includes a description or model of how the recommended proposal will be shared with the community or population it is intended to support.
Students are empowered within this learning model to apply their learning in practice each term, demonstrating their understanding by creating a portfolio of work. The guiding principle is for students to collaborate with their instructors and create a learning plan that individualizes each demonstration of mastery specific to their field, rather than a predetermined theoretical application. Each course has a set of competencies that can be demonstrated through application of the topic in the students’ field. To that end, the courses are written to address the competency, not a specific subject matter. Each student chooses a focus for the doctoral program that serves as a basis for the individualization.
Overviews of the Specialty Areas are as follows:
Accounting is designed to enhance the student’s knowledge of managerial accounting methods that are essential to understanding and evaluating business performance and management. Emphasis is on advanced accounting skills to address the real-world business challenges faced by business today. There is a special focus on formulating, evaluating, and interpreting accounting information for managerial decision making. Identifying, preventing, and resolving accounting fraud issues is also included, as well as exposure to the special accounting issues related to global, non-profit, and government accounting.
Healthcare Administration is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the field of healthcare. The focus of the program is to have students utilize business management skills within the ever-evolving, complex field of healthcare. Students will examine current and proposed healthcare policy influence on the debate and current issues within healthcare, specifically the business of healthcare. Special emphasis will be on the decision-making process in managing and leading a healthcare organization relative to the financial and quality issues.
Information Technology is designed to leverage the experiences and knowledge of current IT leaders and business professionals to improve the market position of an organization while enhancing internal processes to scale efficiently and effectively. This program blends Business and IT with the goal to create the technology focused organization of the future. Students will analyze current organizational technology to build the future technology foundation of the organization to maximize performance, organizational processes, and create a competitive advantage that keeps the organization relevant. The faculty will set a tone of exploration and problem-solving based in research that will build from the core courses (Business) to the specialization courses (IT) to the dissertation (research).
Organizational Leadership is designed to enlighten, equip, and empower students to pursue personal and professional goals within their organizations. The focus of the program will ensure that students have a mastery of knowledge and skills to make leadership decisions, influence others and the organizations in which they work, and to lead and navigate organizational changes. The program will explore how culture, change, communications, diversity, and strategy impact an organization through research-based practices. Additional focus points will be centered around executive leadership, leading across cultures, building organizational capacity, and leading as a coach/consultant.
Graduates of the program will demonstrate the following:
- Goal I: Exercise critical thinking strategies, including scientific reasoning for business problem definition, problem analysis, and evaluation of solutions, and be able to appropriately apply them at high levels in organizational settings.
- Goal II: Demonstrate advanced written and oral communication skills by selecting appropriate communication tools and utilizing them in a highly effective, professional manner.
- Goal III: Evaluate the business and leadership principles, theories, and skills required to implement change in the business environment and be able to apply them effectively at strategic levels.
- Goal IV: Select and implement appropriate research methods that provide the foundation for strategic research in business administration.
- Goal V: Formulate an understanding of the current issues facing business leaders in a contemporary global environment and develop strategies to effectively address those issues.
Applicants interested in the Doctor of Business Administration program are required to meet individually either in person or via telephone with an admissions representative and program faculty to discuss the program and all requirements.
Doctor of Business Administration admission requirements:
- Submit a completed South College application for admission and application to the program.
- Submit an official transcript evidencing earning of a Master’s degree in the field or related field from an accredited institution of higher education.
- Evidence of earning of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale in all post-baccalaureate degree coursework.
Applicants for the Healthcare Administration, Information Technology, and Accounting concentrations must also meet the following requirement:
- Evidence of at least 3 years’ experience in the field.
Academic Participation and Withdrawal
Administrative Withdrawal Policy
If at the end of a term, the student has not completed at least 50% of one course and has been inactive for more than 60 days, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the program. If a student, who was administratively withdrawn (due to non-participation), wishes to continue with the program, the student must formally re-apply through standard admissions process. The request for readmission must be submitted to the Vice President for Competency-Based Education. Since such student did not complete at least one course within a 6-month term, if granted readmission, the student will be placed on academic probation upon re-entry into the program.
Withdrawal Policy (within term)
If a student withdraws after the end of the 4th month of any 6-month term, the student will be issued a W grade for any uncompleted courses, unless the student was on academic probation for not completing a course the prior term. In this case, the student will receive a letter grade of F for the course.
If a student withdraws after the 5th month of any 6-month term, any course that is not completed will receive the letter grade of F.
Students must participate within the first 14 days of the start of any term. Failure to participate within this period will result in the student being withdrawn from the program. Additionally, students must complete one formative or summative assessment with the first 30 days of any term to remain active for the term.
A withdrawal is considered to be official when a student notifies the Registrar’s Office or the Dean of Academic and Students Services (Knoxville) in addition to the Vice President of Academic Improvement. No other college official has the authority to accept official withdrawals from the Doctor of Business Administration program. Students are requested to submit a withdrawal request in writing via their South College email address.
Academic Standards, Candidate Progress, and Grading
Upon entering the graduate program, students are encouraged to confer with their Advisor as needed. Students’ academic progress is monitored each 6-month term to ensure satisfactory progression which is considered mastery of at least one course per term after one term of probation. Students not eligible for progression to the next term will be notified of dismissal. If a student is dismissed or voluntarily withdraws from the program, a formal application for re-entry is required and program requirements in effect at that time must be met.
Student deficiencies that may impact academic standing, which may include warning, probation, or dismissal from the program, are monitored by the Advisor.
Categories of Academic Standing for DBA Candidates are:
- Good Standing: Status of a student who has met academic requirements in a satisfactory manner.
- Warning: Status of a student whose academic performance places him/her in jeopardy of falling below the minimum stated grade required or progression.
- Probation: Status of a student who has failed to receive master in at least one course within a 6-month term. Following a term of probation, the student will either return to Good Standing by satisfactorily completing at least one course in the subsequent term or be dismissed from the program. A student who is dismissed must seek readmission to the program. A student is allowed only one readmission to the DBA program.
- Dismissal: Action whereby a student is dismissed from the program due to failure to adhere to academic and program requirements and/or policies or procedures as specified in the South College Catalog, the South College Student Handbook, and/or the Graduate Program Handbook. The DBA Program Director recommends dismissal and forwards the recommendation to the School of Business & Technology Dean who after approval forwards the recommendation to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness.
Course Instructors determine mastery of competencies and the resulting final grade in all courses. The requirements of each course are found in the course syllabus.
Percentage Score Range
Students are encouraged to discuss any concern with their advisor. If satisfaction cannot be attained at this level, and the students wants to make his/her concern official at the School of Business & Technology level, the student must complete a Grievance Form. Every effort will be made to resolve the concern at the School of Business & Technology level. If the grievance cannot be resolved at that level, the students should then follow the College’s grievance process outlined in the current South College Student Handbook Catalog and Student Handbook available on the institutional website and on the student portal.
For a student to graduate from the Doctor of Business Administration program, the student must be in a good academic and professional standing, have had satisfactory progress in all quarters of the academic program, and satisfactorily complete the following:
- Successfully complete the required quarter credit hours of academic coursework.
- Evidence a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above for the required coursework.
- Achieve a designation of “mastery” for all course competencies.
- Achieve a successful “Pass” for the dissertation.
- Complete all required South College and program documents in preparation for graduation.
- Honor all professional and financial obligations to South College.
South College reserves the right, and the student, by the act of matriculation, concedes to give South College the right to require withdrawal at any time the college deems it necessary to safeguard the standards of scholarship, conduct, and compliance with regulations, or for such other reasons deemed appropriate by South College as set forth in the South College Student Handbook and/or the South College Catalog.