#BizVoiceExtra: SMWC’s 3+1 Degree


Anna Madden

Anna Madden will graduate from Terre Haute’s Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) with both her bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

That’s not unique – most schools offer graduate degree programs. What is more unusual, however, is that Madden will get both of those degrees in just four years, with the SMWC 3+1 accelerated degree program.

(We’ve got more coverage on other accelerated degree programs around the state in our new edition of BizVoice. See the story for more here.)

It was because of a short walk to class with Dr. DJ Wasmer, professor of business and business department chair, that Madden decided to change majors to business and pursue the 3+1 degree.

The benefits, in her perspective: Getting her master’s degree earlier puts her ahead of the competition coming out of school, and the cost savings for an accelerated degree are well worth the rigorous program.

The compressed timeframe was also appealing to Madden.

“My parents were pushing me to do a master’s, but I wasn’t really interested in doing it. I hate that six years of time; I’m eager to get into everything. That’s part of my personality. In four years I’ll have two degrees and be able to study abroad. It’s a win-win,” she adds.

At SMWC, the Masters in Leadership Development (MLD) is the graduate degree piece, which was started in 2007. The 3+1 accelerated program currently is available for business majors, but the MLD program is open to anyone and can be completed in a year’s time. It contains two tracks: organizational leadership and not-for-profit leadership.

Wasmer notes the accelerated program is tough.

“They carry heavier loads and do all the same work as you would do in four years; it’s just compressed. It’s demanding, but it’s doable,” he says.

The challenge is enticing for students like Madden.

“This is awesome. I love the idea of pushing myself harder,” she exclaims.

“I think this program is difficult and challenging, but I have not seen this amount of attention and appreciation (from the staff) anywhere else. It’s so achievable with their help.”

Wasmer adds, “We want to graduate people that can think, emphasize critical thinking skills, emphasize creativity, problem-solving skills, which includes quantitative reasoning.”

Dr. DJ Wasmer

The MLD degree is available online, as well as in person in Terre Haute and Indianapolis; any undergraduate degree can be enhanced with an MLD, not just business majors, Wasmer notes.

“Leadership is essential to our educational enterprise here; one of our core values. We try to graduate leaders who will effect positive change, whether it’s in their community, their workplace, through their religion,” he says. “Leadership is not just for business people. We try to infuse it in everything we do and all the opportunities.”

To learn more about the program, visit www.smwc.edu/academics/departments/business-leadership/31-leadership-development/

SMWC is also featured in our new edition of BizVoice, along with three other private Indiana institutions of higher education, highlighting unique campus programs or offerings. See that story here.

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