2015, Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
Argosy University, Online Programs
Regional Administrator for Washington State Department of Corrections
“My degree in Organizational Leadership has given me a platform that allows me to interact with others, teach, further study and publish findings.”
Provides Leadership and Direction to Senior Level Department of Corrections Staff
Donta Harper is a Regional Administrator for Washington State Department of Corrections. In this role, he reports to the Assistant Secretary of the Community Corrections Division and provides leadership, management and direction to professional senior level staff. Harper also develops and implements operational decisions for community field operations and directs the activities of all field employees within the Division of Community Corrections. To gain the educational background needed to support this position, Harper earned a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University, Online Programs—while working full time. He completed his degree in 2015.
Prior to attending Argosy University, Harper earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. In addition to working for the Washington State Department of Corrections, Harper is a lecturer at the University of Washington in Tacoma. Harper is a United States Navy veteran, having served four years and earning the rank of IT Man/E4.
He chose Argosy University’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program because he wanted to pay it forward through his work as a correctional professional, researcher and instructor. “I am working to make a difference as an executive through my experience and classroom learning,” Harper said. “My degree in Organizational Leadership has given me a platform that allows me to interact with others, teach, further study and publish findings for the current generation and the next generation to learn from and expand upon.”
Harper is proud to add that he’s a Governor-appointed member of the Public Safety Review Panel (PSRP), a seven-member multi-disciplinary panel with expertise from a variety of fields related to civil commitment, community supervision and public safety. “The members of the PSRP are appointed by the Governor for a renewable term of three years,” he stated.
Since earning his degree, Harper has published four peer-reviewed articles, two book chapters and has two peer-review articles currently in review. “Each of the publications is related to leadership, behavior competencies, organizational behaviors and management.” His publications include:
- Harper, Donta S. (2017). What’s Holding Women Back from Creating Leadership Parity? Chapter in Leadership for Improvement: Perceptions, Influences and Gender Differences, edited by Susan Morison. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers.
- Harper, Donta S. (2018). Competency-based Learning for Organizational Managers. Chapter in Enhancing Education Through Open Degree Programs and Prior Learning Assessment, edited by Carolyn N. Stevenson (Kaplan University, USA) IGI Global Publisher.
- Harper, D. S. (2016). Assessing the professional competencies of correctional executives’ and Senior-level Leaders’, The Journal of Competency-based Education, 1(2), 90 – 97. Doi: 10.1002/cbe2.1007.
- Harper, D. S. (2015). Correctional executives’ leader self-efficacy and their perceptions of emotional intelligence. American Journal of Criminal Justice, DOI 10.1007/s12103-015-9319-1.
- Harper, D. S. (2015). Emotional intelligence: The value of the construct for executives and senior-level correctional leadership. The Journal of Law Enforcement Leadership and Ethics, (2)1.
- Harper, D. S. (in review). Personality Trait Differences at the Leadership Levels. Journal of Vocation Behavior.
- Harper, D. S. (in review). Interpersonal emotion regulation among managers and non-managers while at work - a test of differences. Organizational Dynamics Journal.
Dr. Gregory M. Kline, PT, DPT, EdD, MBA
2017, Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
Argosy University, Online Programs
Associate Dean of Health Careers and Sciences at Cuyahoga Community College
“My [instructors] offered positive and objective feedback throughout the completion of my degree. They were always professional with every interaction.”
Associate Dean of Health Careers and Services, Experienced Physical Therapist
Dr. Gregory M. Kline is an experienced physical therapist who has worked with geriatric, neurologic, orthopedic and pediatric populations in various outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation settings. While enrolled in coursework at Argosy University, Kline was employed as the director of the physical therapist assistant program at South University, Cleveland. He was involved in the programmatic policy creation and revision process for the physical therapist program throughout the South University system.
Kline recently accepted a position as the Associate Dean of Health Careers and Sciences at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. In his new role, he’s responsible for the development, review and evaluation of academic plans, curriculum, programs, course schedules and budgets within the college’s Health Careers and Sciences department.
Kline’s dissertation focused on promoting leadership strategies to improve the experiences of clinicians employed in the rehabilitation field. He recently presented his dissertation findings at an Ohio Physical Therapy continuing education event in Cleveland, Ohio—and hopes that leaders in his field will follow his recommendations to embrace mentorship and team building opportunities in the field of rehabilitation.
Looking back on his education, Kline advises current students to stay focused on goals. “Strive to find the balance between your education, work and family while completing coursework at Argosy University,” he said. “Anticipate and seek out any possible speedbumps that may potentially slow down the pursuit of your goal of becoming a graduate. Instead of avoiding these speedbumps, [view them as an opportunity] for personal and professional growth.”
Kline earned a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University, Online Programs in 2017. He says the coursework helped him to enhance his communication skills with faculty, staff and students in the higher education field—resulting in stronger collaboration, conflict management and professional development. His degree also helped him to advance in his career.
He mentioned that Argosy University, Twin Cities faculty members Dr. Katherine Noone and Dr. Evelyn Lim were supportive and helpful while he was in school. “Both of them offered positive and objective feedback throughout the completion of my degree—they were always professional with every interaction and were willing to assist with my goal to complete the dissertation in less than one year,” he stated. “Without their continued support, I would not have completed my degree to the fullest potential.” Kline added that his academic advisor, Barbara Kelminsky, continually encouraged him to set a realistic schedule to complete his degree.
Kline is committed to giving back to the community and is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Ohio Physical Therapy Association (OPTA). He’s serving a second term in the role of “Director B” in the OPTA’s northeast district, raising funds for the association and student scholarships. As a member of OPTA’s research committee, Kline promotes evidence-based practice at the state level. He participates and volunteers at “In Motion,” a center for Parkinson’s Disease. He enjoys guest speaking opportunities in the community and was awarded the University Hospital’s (Cleveland) Gem Award and the Presidential Service Scholarship.
Kline earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Benedictine University. He also holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Midwestern University and a Master of Business Administration in Health Service Management from Ursuline College.
See ge.argosy.edu/programoffering/665 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, alumni success, and other important info.
2009, Master of Arts in Education in Educational Leadership
Argosy University, Online Programs
Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement at Louisiana State University of Alexandria
“The Master of Arts in Education in Educational Leadership Program at Argosy University aligned with my professional experiences and my research interests. [The school trained me to] utilize my passion for knowledge to help others succeed by becoming an effective leader in the educational field.”
Oversees New Student Orientation Programs, Counseling and Placement and Health Services
Stephan Moore was recently named the vice chancellor for student engagement at Louisiana State University of Alexandria. He’s responsible for all areas of student support including housing, student organizations, advising, campus activities, testing, disability services and counseling. He also works on the areas of student engagement and retention.
Prior to joining LSUA, he served as dean of students at the University of the Virgin Islands, reporting directly to the provost and serves as a member of the president’s cabinet. “[I oversaw] the division of student affairs’ personnel and programming including new student orientation programs, counseling and placement, student employment, health services, student governance, student leadership development, student activities, residence life, food services, student discipline, judicial affairs and services for students with special needs,” he said.
In addition to a Master of Arts in Education in Educational Leadership from Argosy University, Online Programs, Moore earned a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies from Campbell University. He’s working toward a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership at Georgia Southern University. Moore is interested in examining the ways in which academic and social programs hosted by Multicultural Centers at predominantly white institutions aid in increased recruitment, persistence, progression, retention and graduation of black male students in higher education.
Moore chose Argosy University because the school offered collaborative experiences that suited his professional goals. “I was excited about the program's direction and its emphasis on practical application,” he stated. “The program aligned with my professional experiences and my research interests.”
He added that his master’s degree provided the opportunity to grow in his career. He worked as a student affairs administrator and part-time faculty member—while assisting others in co-curricular education. “Argosy University allowed me to expand my impact as a knowledgeable and seasoned administrator, moving beyond the departmental level—expanding my influence and leadership to the division and college levels,” he said. The program allowed him to investigate issues including how the success of his office translates into the broader success of the institution, as well as how a school’s success can impact the higher education community.
Moore added that the flexibility of online education helped him to fit an education into his busy schedule. “Every course offered the opportunity for independent research and the faculty was open to students’ suggestions for improvement,” he stated. “The patience of the faculty and the students’ talent made Argosy University my first choice for my master’s degree.”
He mentioned that growing up in rural North Carolina shaped his passion to help young adults. “During high school, it all came together when students were randomly selected for mentoring,” he said. Moore worked with his high school’s fitness and wellness counselor, who recognized his calling to help others. “She introduced me to resources that were necessary for me as a young adult to not only succeed but to excel. At first, I resisted her efforts because tensions between different groups in my high school were complex, particularly around the area of race. But after some personal growth, my opinion of the situation changed.”
He acknowledged that his journey was not easy—and sought higher education that treated him as a person, not just a number. “The administrators and faculty members at Argosy University shared a high level of care, compassion, dedication and support to the students,” he said. “I have managed residential housing, dealt with student emotional concerns and issues and conducted judicial hearings. I recognized that by creating opportunities that foster a sense of responsibility toward the campus community, student affairs facilitates each student’s transition into adulthood.”
Moore recommended that students stay focused on their goals, emphasizing that education is a license to the future. “The knowledge that you gain while attending college can never be erased but can forever be enhanced,” he stated. “It is so critical to realize that the possibilities and the choices in front of you are unlimited.”
He is active in community service and has received professional recognitions including participation in NASPA Institute for aspiring chief student affairs officers, SJTI (Social Justice Training Institute), NCBI (National Coalition Building Institute), the William R. Harvey Executive Leadership Summit and the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. In 2016, he received the African American Knowledge Community (AAKC) Sankofa Award from the National Association for Student Affairs Administrators (NASPA).
See auprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, alumni success, and other important info.
Dr. John Sessa
2015, Doctor of Business Administration in Business Administration
Argosy University, Online Programs
Executive Director of the Vanderpump Dog Foundation
“I feel like it’s a privilege to do work that matters. When I look at the faces of the dogs we rescue—and the faces of the people who adopt them—I know we’re helping [to] make the world a better place.”
Runs Nonprofit Vanderpump Dog Foundation, Which Creates More Humane World for Dogs
Dr. John Sessa is the executive director of the Vanderpump Dog Foundation, a southern California non-profit with the mission to create a more humane world for dogs. The organization’s 500-square foot, neon pink Los Angeles rescue center offers retail, food, grooming services, a dog café and an adoption facility.
In its first month of operation, the foundation placed 40 dogs in loving homes. In addition to his work at the dog foundation, Sessa is a co-founder and chief operating officer of Vanderpump Pets, which produces a line of premium pet accessories sold across the United States.
Sessa rose to stardom after meeting philanthropist, entrepreneur, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” television star Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd. Sessa had just completed his Doctor of Business Administration and was focused on advising for start-up and mid-level businesses. The friendship developed into a work partnership—leading Sessa to relocate from Florida to California.
Sessa chose to pursue a doctoral level degree because he believed that a terminal degree was essential to career development. “I was often in meetings where I was the youngest person by 20 years,” Sessa stated. “I also look younger than I am, so when I met prospective clients or associates, I could always sense they were wondering ‘Who’s the kid?’ I knew I that in order to be taken seriously and establish the career I envisioned, I was going to have to get my doctor level degree.”
He chose Argosy University, Online Programs because it was the best fit for his goals. Sessa earned a Doctor of Business Administration in Business Administration in 2015. “The admissions team and [my] advisor were so accommodating and easy to work with,” added Sessa. “Before I knew it, I was beginning my classes, which was great because I was really motivated to get started.” He chose a concentration in global finance and business and worked to meet a self-imposed target date for graduation.
“I knew when I wanted to graduate and what I’d need to do in order to make it happen,” he said. Completing his doctorate was challenging while working full-time. “There were plenty of Sundays when I would spend 15 hours studying while my friends were out [relaxing]. But the effort and sacrifice were absolutely worth it.”
Over time, Sessa discovered that his doctoral degree paid off in a broader context than just earnings. “The process of earning [it] gave me a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence that [was] every bit as valuable as anything I learned in any class,” Sessa stated. “It’s done more than enhance my career. It’s enhanced my life.”
Sessa grew up on a farm and came full-circle to advocate for the well-being of animals.
“[I grew up] loving and having empathy for animals,” added Sessa. “I pinch myself that I get to do work I’m passionate about. If someone had told me even five years ago that I’d travel to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress in support of a resolution my partners and I drafted with Congressional allies to condemn the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, I would never have believed them. I also never imagined that I’d travel to China to rescue animals and co-write and direct a documentary like The Road to Yulin: and Beyond. The twists and turns my career—and my life—have taken in the past few years continue to amaze me.”
See http://ge.argosy.edu/programoffering/658 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, alumni success, and other important info.