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Helping professionals navigate a new world

Nov 2, 2023
2 min Read
Eugene Curtin
Creighton CPCE

Today’s professionals know change is rapid and incessant, and keeping up is a must. Gayla Stoner, PhD, dean of the newly organized College of Professional and Continuing Education, can help.

“Our goal is to create a lifelong learning hub, recognizing that learners should be served through continuing education, professional development and opportunities to develop competencies and upskilling,” she says.

The College of Professional and Continuing Education is both the new home for adult and professional education at Creighton and the guardian of its reputation for helping professionals navigate changing worlds.

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies faculty within the college will continue to offer an online undergraduate degree in leadership studies as well as graduate degrees and certificates, Stoner says, while a wider focus on real-time and emerging needs will serve those progressing in the workplace.

Creighton alumni, already aware of the University’s wealth of expertise and wide choice of programs and certifications, will find a familiar home in the college.

“We are very proud to serve the lifelong learning needs of Creighton’s alumni,” Stoner says. “Our courses and programs deliver enhanced leadership skills and in-demand knowledge, as well as new and expanded professional and personal networks.

“Our catalog of offerings includes professional development for increasing knowledge, as well as continuing education courses. We also offer executive education and customized employee training programs, including an Executive Fellowship in Healthcare Management and Leadership Development Programs.”

Having high-quality competencies taught in a way that is responsive to industry needs and the individual needs of learners is critical.
— Gayla Stoner, PhD

The college also invites the wider professional world to benefit from its educational offerings.

“The other piece of our mission,” Stoner says, “is partnering with employers, corporations and businesses for executive education, customized training, identifying gaps in professional development and helping them retain and even recruit employees.”

It is often the case that an adult learner possesses a degree but needs training in a specific competency, Stoner says, which is precisely what the college is designed to provide.

“Having high-quality competencies taught in a way that is responsive to industry needs and the individual needs of learners is critical,” she says.

The College of Professional and Continuing Education supports all Creighton’s schools and colleges by providing adult and professional continuing education.

“Within our college, we house interdisciplinary adult-learning degree programs, but we also support all the schools and colleges in their executive education programs or industry-identified partnerships,” Stoner says.

“We work collaboratively with all the deans and faculty to be certain that we are providing professional development opportunities for their learners.”

Following an extensive national search, Provost Mardell Wilson, EdD,  and the Creighton community welcomed Stoner in February 2023 as a leading expert in the field of professional and executive education with a history of program development success.

As a first-generation college graduate who began her own educational journey as a teenage wife and mother working full time, she has a firm grasp of the barriers confronting adult learners.

“My personal educational and career path has provided me with distinct opportunities to support and counsel others,” she says, “including teenage mothers, working professionals and homeless community members as they pursue formal education.”