Converse University awarded Center of Excellence in Teacher Leadership

May 8, 2024

Converse University Awarded Center of Excellence in Teacher Leadership

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has awarded Converse University a three-year grant to support a new Center of Excellence in Teacher Leadership, making Converse the first private institution in the state to receive a second Center of Excellence.

The purpose of the new Converse Center of Excellence in Teacher Leadership (CCETL) is to provide opportunities for classroom teachers in primarily rural and underserved counties and school districts to develop their leadership skills and more effectively serve their students. Converse will partner with all seven Spartanburg County school districts plus Union County; each of the participating school districts will select teachers to participate. Over three years, this program aims to certify 66 new building administrators and offer professional development to 132 teacher-leaders who wish to remain in the classroom.

“Converse and its Departments of Education and Leadership are very grateful to the Commission on Higher Education for its continued vote of confidence and support,” said Dr. Lienne Medford, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Leadership at Converse University. “We look forward to expanding partnerships with our local school districts and helping to provide opportunities for in-service teachers in our communities.”

Participating teachers will enroll in either Converse’s Administrators Academy or one of its certificate-based leadership programs. In the Administrators Academy, teachers will train as building administrators, and graduates will receive their principal certification. Teachers who wish to develop as leaders while they remain in the classroom may pursue a certificate in Community Advocacy Leadership or in Leadership for Classroom Teachers. All participants will complete four graduate-level courses that may be used toward recertification, at no cost. After completing the program, participants may choose to complete additional coursework to earn a master’s degree.

The Community Advocacy Leadership certificate track incorporates courses from Converse’s new Master in Management in Community Advocacy, while the Leadership for Classroom Teachers track combines courses from the Master in Management in Professional Leadership with education courses. Teachers who complete the Community Advocacy track may return a second year for four additional courses to earn an Advanced Community Leadership Certificate.

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education previously awarded Converse a Center of Excellence in 2020. The Center of Excellence in Rural Talent Development worked with local rural districts to train teachers in gifted and talented pedagogy and helped to support Converse’s Athena summer camp for gifted and talented elementary school students.

The Centers of Excellence program is a competitive grant program awarded to improve teacher quality and student achievement in South Carolina. The program enables eligible institutions or consortia to serve as resource centers in a specific area related to the improvement of teacher education. The Commission on Higher Education funds centers at universities and colleges across South Carolina each year.


About Converse University

Converse University empowers students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly. Converse was founded in 1889 by citizens of Spartanburg, SC, who aimed to create an educational experience for women, and in fall 2020 it welcomed its first undergraduate co-educational incoming class. The University encompasses the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Data Science, the School of the Arts, The Graduate School, and the Converse College for Women. Converse students experience deep scholarship, transformative mentorship, experiential learning, and wonderful support for and belief in each other. Through this unique formula, Converse is a creator of opportunity for its students through a personalized education that also includes the professional and technical skills graduates need to be successful in their careers. For more information, visit