Ketan Gandhi, from Asbury Park (Monmouth County), is well-versed in higher education, so his standards were high when considering the universities he could potentially earn his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. After completing his undergraduate studies at Bombay University in India, and earning an MBA in general administration at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he still wanted to learn more about the world of education.
His experience in leadership positions at Burlington County College, Rutgers University and Sussex County Community College (where he is currently the CFO and EVP of Administrative Services) inspired him to explore the differences in leadership styles between private educational institutes and higher education.
“What motivates people in higher education is different than in a private business scenario,” Ketan says. “Understanding the type of leadership required to govern a higher institution could set me up for a more successful career in education.”
He came across the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program at Rowan University through recommendations from colleagues who had had a positive experience in it.
“I also looked at a few other institutions, but what I liked about Rowan’s program is that it is led by faculty members with higher levels of experience and education. The faculty are actual presidents or provosts at universities, and can give me direct, relevant advice based on their experience.”
The quality that secured Ketan’s decision to attend the Rowan Ed.D. program was its concentration in Community College Leadership Initiative (CCLI), which pertains directly to his professional experience and interests.
Though he has not been in school since 1986, Ketan was concerned about the transition back to intense learning. Luckily, “faculty members are open to allowing me to adjust, and I have support from my boss, my wife and my family,” he says.
“Each member of my cohort works at a different college or university, which allows us to share different experiences and perspectives,” he says. “It makes for better discussions and more learning opportunities.”
Leadership Theory, the first course he is taking for the program, has already ignited his passion for education and leadership. “This course has allowed me to truly understand the way I come across as a leader and who I want to be. I’ve already learned a lot about myself,” he reflects. A book that he has read during the course, “Discover Your True North” by Bill George, has also been an inspiration to him on this educational journey.
Ketan’s ultimate goal throughout Rowan’s Ed.D. program is to change and adapt to a new leadership style.
“I was very much a task-oriented leader,” he says. “In just a few weeks, I am already starting to see myself transforming into more of an entrepreneurial leader. It’s all about breaking habits that I’ve already established and improving them, really honing my skills.”
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Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major
Photos courtesy of:
Ketan Gandhi and Sussex County Community College