By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations
MANITOWOC, Wis. — Employee compensation and benefits make up between 40 and 80 percent of a company’s operational budget. That’s why it’s key for company leaders to bring out the best in their workforce.
“Employees represent an immense potential for innovation, efficiency and improvements in an organization,” said Dr. James Begotka. “It’s important to have skilled leaders who can effectively influence a company’s workforce to establish and sustain a competitive advantage.”
Dr. Begotka is director of Silver Lake College’s current Management and Organizational Development program. He also is the impetus behind the college’s redesigned graduate-level Leadership and Organizational Development program, which is being introduced in fall.
“Our program redesign speaks to a need in the Wisconsin workforce for strengthening skills in professionals who focus on developing their companies,” Dr. Begotka said of the program, which aligns with industry standards in leadership, health care and organizational development.
The new program is designed to educate leaders and human resources development professionals to work collaboratively in advancing talent in order to meet the organization’s desired culture and performance goals.
The LOD degree prepares professionals for training and development, recruiting and selecting personnel, administering performance appraisals, strategic planning, succession planning, human resource development and internal change.
How does a Master of Science in Leadership and Development differ from a Master of Business Administration degree?
“The MS-LOD delves more deeply into a specialty compared with the MBA, which is broader,” Dr. Begotka said. “We wanted to become more specialized to meet the future needs of area businesses.”
The advantages of a master’s degree, with its in-depth focus, “often outweigh the more generic, business-focused approach of many MBA curricula,” according to Topuniversities.com (August 2009).
The April 2015 issue of U.S. News & World Report spotted a trend when it reported that more graduate students “are bucking the traditional MBA path in favor of specialized master’s degrees …”
“This specialization, and going deeper in study and development, certainly applies to disciplines like leadership and organizational development,” Begotka said.
To make it easier for its graduate students, Silver Lake College also is building a five-year bridge to the LOD program from its undergraduate human resources and business management programs.
“That means that individuals who complete their undergraduate degrees — even if they transfer as a technical college student— could complete the master’s degree in LOD in one additional year of study,” Dr. Begotka said.
The program delivery is designed to meet the needs of adult students with busy lives by offering courses in eight-week blocks, providing the opportunity to focus on one course at a time, yet still complete two courses in a semester.
Additionally, the primary delivery of courses is a hybrid delivery, which combines the best attributes of face-to-face and online learning.
Projected job growth trends along the I-43 corridor across Brown, Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties show double-digit percentage increases in business and professional services, including leaders and executives, human resources managers, instructional designers and coordinators, technical trainers, leadership development specialists and others, according to figures from WORK.net, Wisconsin’s workforce and labor market information system.
“Silver Lake College’s MS-LOD students will have an advantage over other students in northeast Wisconsin because a master’s degree really places them in better position for competing with other job seekers,” Dr. Begotka said.
PHOTO: Dr. James Begotka, left, works with Silver Lake College first-year graduate student Patricia Peters. Peters will transition from the college's Management and Organizational Development progam to the redesigned Leadership and Organizational Development program. Photo by Amy Hanson