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Tim Nicely, the human resources director at Blue Ridge Community College, has a bachelor’s in political science, a master’s in occupational and technical studies, and 20 years of human resources experience. However, he enrolled in UVA’s Certificate in Leadership program to improve in certain areas of management and finance in which he had limited formal academic training. It would also give him the graduate credits necessary to teach credit courses in the business department similar to courses he already taught on a non-credit basis.
“I was looking for a master’s or a graduate certificate program I could take on a part-time basis with a significant online component,” Nicely says. “UVA's graduate certificate program in Leadership was also attractive to me because it could be completed in a relatively short time period, 12 to 18 months.”
By taking two courses each term, Nicely received his certificate in a year. “It more than met my expectations in terms of its quality, the accessibility of the instructors, and the relevancy of the assignments,” he says.
It has already made a difference on the job. His understanding of project management, for instance has been particularly valuable as the college implements a new payroll management system. “I apply the knowledge I gained virtually everyday,” he says. “One of the great things about the program was the way professors encouraged you to research and write papers on topics that were relevant to your job or workplace. You never felt you were writing a paper just for a grade so you could finish the course.”