Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

February 2016

UCO, Swansea University Celebrate First Doctorate Awarded Through Partnership

UCO graduate Rose Neal.

University of Central Oklahoma adjunct professor of English Rose Neal, Ph.D., pictured in September 2015 during a visit to Swansea University in the United Kingdom, recently became the first UCO Jackson College of Graduate Studies student to earn her Ph.D. through the Swansea@UCO program.

For nearly two decades, former Deer Creek High School teacher and University of Central Oklahoma adjunct professor of English Rose Neal has been urging her students to chase their dreams — and Neal, 53, hopes that her latest accomplishment will show her students that it’s never too late to do just that.

Recently, Neal became the first student in UCO’s Jackson College of Graduate Studies to earn her Ph.D. through Swansea@UCO, a partnership with the United Kingdom’s Swansea University. The program offers doctoral studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Students earn the degree from Swansea, but work with advisers from both universities.

UCO Provost John Barthell, Ph.D., called Neal’s accomplishment a milestone not only for her, but also for Central as a whole.

“We are very pleased to see the positive impact that the Swansea program is having on our students. After four years and over a dozen students soon to be enrolled in the program, it is wonderful to recognize this milestone event for both Ms. Neal and the institution,” Barthell said.

Neal earned her master’s degree in English from Central in 2012. Her work focused on 19th century American literature — specifically the writings of novelist E.D.E.N. Southworth — and once completed, Neal wanted to continue her studies of the author.

With high school-aged children at home and teaching responsibilities, Neal knew that a traditional classroom-based Ph.D. program would have put too great a strain on her family and work, making her the very sort of student the Swansea@UCO program was designed for — place-bound students who are unable to relocate or commute to regular classes.

“I really liked the idea of a program that wouldn’t require me to travel daily or several times per week — but after I got into the program, I found it so rich in opportunities,” Neal said.

“From my fellow students in the program to the research opportunities that I had, the Swansea program offers a completely different cultural perspective than I knew. I was able to see the world way that I never would have otherwise.”

Neal called her experience with the program life-changing, adding that between her UCO adviser, Pamela Washington, Ph.D., dean of UCO’s College of Fine Arts and Design, and her Swansea adviser, Caroline Franklin, Ph.D., a professor of English language and literature, she felt fully supported throughout her three-year journey to her doctorate.

“We believe that Ms. Neal will be just the first of many Oklahomans who, under the co-supervision of distinguished Swansea and UCO faculty, will meet the high standards of a British Ph.D. degree,” added Richard Bernard, Ph.D., dean of UCO’s Jackson College of Graduate Studies.

The Swansea Ph.D., like other U.K. and European doctoral programs, is a research-intensive degree based on the production of an 80,000–100,000 word dissertation — or about 300 pages. The program requires no regular or online classes or other requirements, unless needed for a student’s research. The program requires two trips to Swansea, which are included in tuition.

Students applying for the Swansea@UCO program must have completed their master’s degrees and may select any field of study offered by both the Central’s College of Liberal Arts and the Swansea College of Arts and Humanities.

Applications for fall 2016 admission are being accepted through March 31.

For more information about admission, tuition or other program details, visit www.uco.edu/swansea or contact Bernard at rbernard1@uco.edu.

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