Kristine Strickland PhD in Leadership for Higher Education

Kristine Strickland grew up in Eastlake, Ohio, the only girl among five older brothers.

Her parents, who worked in manufacturing plants most of their lives, did not complete high school and her brothers either entered directly into the workforce after high school or chose to join the military.

Strickland knew she wanted to take a different path—to further her education and become the first in her family to graduate from college. She wanted to teach, and her parents were excited to see her earn a bachelor’s degree.

The Beginning of a Journey in Education

Strickland loved being a student. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in secondary education English at Ohio University, she was inspired by the director of residence life to apply for a graduate assistantship.

From there, she completed her MEd in college student personnel services. Her parents encouraged her every step of the way. In fact, her mom was the guiding force that encouraged her to pursue a doctorate—she knew Strickland had it in her.

After completing her master’s program, she decided to “see the world” and moved from Ohio to New Orleans. Strickland had set a goal to serve as president or chancellor of a higher education institution and was not afraid to work hard in order to make that dream a reality.

Leadership Opportunities for Continued Growth

She held various leadership roles during this time, including vice president for enrollment management and student development at Our Lady of Holy Cross College, dean of student affairs at L.E. Fletcher Technical Community College, interim vice chancellor for student affairs at Baton Rouge Community College, and vice president for student services and student financial assistance at Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

“I continued to seek out new opportunities,” Strickland recalls. “That meant presenting at conferences, networking with people within my state, region, and nationally, and continuing to educate myself. I was selected for and attended the Harvard Institute for Educational Leadership and then began teaching at the graduate level. All of these experiences have helped me grow my career.”

The PhD Pinnacle

Her passion for continued education and growth is one of the reasons she chose to complete her PhD in Leadership for Higher Education at Capella University.

“I knew that I wanted to pursue a PhD, and I also knew that sitting in a traditional classroom was going to be difficult for me as a working single mom,” Strickland explains. “Furthermore, at that time, options for PhD coursework in and around post-Katrina New Orleans were limited. Online seemed like a good option. After my first call with an enrollment counselor at Capella, I knew I had made the right choice.”

Strickland completed her PhD at Capella in 2011, as well as a Post-Master’s Certificate in Enrollment Management and Noel-Levitz certification. In January 2016, she realized her career goal when she became chancellor of Fletcher College. “As I enter into this broader leadership position, I often find myself reflecting on aspects of my Capella experience, such as the critical thinking class,” she says. “The skills I acquired through that course will definitely help me in my new role.”

Shared Experiences for Life

A highlight of Strickland’s program at Capella was the enriching in-person colloquia where she met and learned from fellow students. “I loved meeting with the faculty and other students in person after a long time interacting online,” she says. “I found that the in-person courses in statistics were especially helpful. Simply being around others who were going through the same experience was both supportive and motivational.”

Since completing her PhD, Strickland has discovered that her doctoral studies provided an excellent foundation for leadership growth. She has big plans for expanding enrollment and programs at Fletcher College. “Without the PhD, I would not be in a position to continue pursuing my dreams.”


Learn more about Capella’s PhD in Leadership for Higher Education.

See graduation rates, median student debt, and other information at Capella Results.