STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University’s doctoral program in educational leadership got a new name today, honoring the school’s 14th president, Dr. Dennis P. McCabe, who spent more than four decades as an educator and administrator.
“The naming of our Ed.D. in honor of Dr. Dennis McCabe is a tribute to not only his diligence in establishing the university’s first doctoral program, but to his lifetime of accomplishment and service as an educator,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “Dr. McCabe is a champion of education who spent his entire career committed to helping students excel and prepare for continuing leadership. That dedication alone is a compelling reason for today’s naming.”
During McCabe’s 17 years as president, Tarleton increased degree options from 48 to 94 and established outreach locations in Fort Worth, Waco, Killeen — now Texas A&M-Central Texas — and online. He also oversaw construction of the Dining Hall, Recreational Sports Center and Barry B. Thompson Student Center.
“Having Tarleton State University’s first academic doctoral program carry your name is truly unique and a memorable honor,” he said. “I am in very special company. So many Tarleton faculty members, staff leaders and academic administrators have contributed to the Tarleton educational legacy. That is why our 120-year-old school is publicly viewed as a ‘teaching university of the first order.’
“Throughout my 24 years at Tarleton, I was constantly impressed with my colleagues, our students and graduates. They fill our future with hope. Associating my name with them in this manner is humbling and gratifying. My deepest appreciation to President Dottavio, A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp and the System Board of Regents.”
Following his retirement from Tarleton, McCabe returned to the classroom to teach the Ed.D. program, sharing more than 41 years of experience and knowledge with leaders in public and higher education.
Since Tarleton’s inaugural 2003 cohort, 164 community college instructors, higher education directors, school administrators and classroom teachers have completed the Ed.D. program. Almost 100 applications were received this past spring, with 48 students selected to begin the summer cohort. The program boasts a 91 percent degree completion rate compared to 45 percent nationwide.
“As one of the fastest growing public universities in Texas, it’s imperative that Tarleton provide the type of doctoral program that prepares educational professionals for collaborative leadership in an ever-advancing and rapidly changing field,” said Dr. Kim Rynearson, interim dean of Tarleton’s College of Education. “In addition to instruction by distinguished faculty, students enrolled in our cohort program gain hands-on experience through internships and authentic research in all aspects of educational leadership.”
Tarleton is working with the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) to re-envision its Ed.D. program. The CPED, a consortium of more than 80 universities headquartered at the University of Pittsburg, works to strengthen and improve doctorate of education programs worldwide to better equip practitioners to meet 21st century challenges.
Once enhancements are made, chances are good that the CPED will invite Tarleton to become a member, bringing even greater credibility to the university’s Dennis P. McCabe Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.