Competency-Based Organizational Leadership Program to Provide Scholarships to Displaced Workers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our community, the new College of Innovation and Design at Texas A&M University-Commerce will provide an institutional, non-need-based scholarship for displaced workers who enter the competency-based Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences–Organizational Leadership program beginning in summer 2020.

This non-competitive scholarship is intended to assist prospective students who want to move up in their careers or shift to new career pathways but are negatively affected by job loss due to the pandemic. The scholarship pays $250 toward each recipient's flat-rate tuition for two seven-week terms.

The organizational leadership program puts a bachelor's degree within reach of thousands of Texans across all affected service industries–including retail, food and hospitality–by offering an affordable, flexible, accelerated path to graduation.

The program is offered year-round in six, seven-week terms at an affordable flat rate of $750 per term. Students with work experience are able to complete multiple courses for the same flat rate.

The competency-based program grants course credit for students' previous education and experience, which allows many students to complete the program in less than two years for about half the cost of a traditional program. For example, students can transfer up to 90 credit hours from prior institutions and receive additional credit for transcripted work experience.

According to Dr. Yvonne Villanueva-Russell, dean of the College of Innovation and Design, “Students often enter our program with robust work and life experience and previous college coursework. We then provide the applied courses to widen their base of knowledge and reach their next promotion, or empower them to pivot into a new career.”

The program is also flexible to accommodate displaced workers who are returning to school to complete a degree. All classes are online, and students can log in and complete coursework at their own pace within each seven-week term.

Despite the online, self-paced format, the program is highly personalized. Dr. Villanueva-Russell emphasized that students receive support and instruction from faculty and staff throughout the program.

“Our academic success team is as much a part of your learning as are the instructors with real-world experience who guide you through each of the program benchmarks,” she said. “The program is 100% online, and you'll be engaged with people who are challenging you and rooting for your success each step of the way.”

The organizational leadership curriculum helps students develop practical workplace competencies that meet current and future challenges in a variety of fields through real-world coursework. Students gain skills in areas such as organizational planning, dynamics of leadership, finance, team building, conflict resolution and mediation, communication, and other managerial skills.

Tim Miller, a graduate and current faculty member of the organizational leadership program at A&M-Commerce, emphasized the quality and effectiveness of the program.

“I looked at organizational leadership programs at several Texas universities. Without question, A&M-Commerce had the most robust offering for adult learners who have experience in business and leadership and want the convenience of a 100% online program,” he said. “The classes are laser-focused on some of the biggest challenges facing leaders today, including ethics, change management and decision-making using data analytics.”

Launched in 2014, the organizational leadership program was the first competency-based program to be offered from a regionally accredited institution in the state of Texas. Since that time, the program has grown in popularity. With over 500 graduates, it is the third-largest program at the university.

If you have been affected by job loss in Texas due to the pandemic, please fill out the scholarship form at If you have any questions, please contact the program's success coach at [email protected].

To learn more about the competency-based bachelor's degree in organizational leadership, visit