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Widener strengthens partnership with school in Greece, plans for new degrees in international school leadership

Widener to offer new programs focused on international school leadership

Widener University signs agreement with ACS Athens.

Widener University is pleased to announce it will build on its strong partnership with American Community Schools of Athens – a prominent K-12 school based in Greece – to begin offering graduate programs that focus on international school leadership.

An agreement signed recently by leaders of both institutions offers:

  • A doctoral degree, the Doctor of Education in K-12 Educational Leadership with a focus on international school leadership.
  • A master’s degree, the Master of Education in K-12 Educational Leadership with a focus on international school leadership.
  • Access to online undergraduate coursework in general education subject areas, for qualified ACS Athens high school and non-ACS Athens students through Widener’s Center for Extended Learning.

The master’s and doctoral level programs are designed for people who want to be leaders in international K-12 schools. They may already be teachers or mid-level school administrators, either in public or private U.S. schools, or at institutions around the world.

“These programs will position educators who want to advance in international K-12 school settings to compete for leadership opportunities,” said Robin Dole, dean of Widener’s School of Human Service Professions.

The master’s and doctoral degrees will be earned through a hybrid approach that involves online learning and face-to-face courses taken abroad during summer months. Classes will be taught by Widener full-time faculty and by doctorally trained ACS Athens faculty. They will be held over two summers, with the first summer classes beginning in 2020 at ACS Athens. Coursework will be set up over a three-week period each summer, with classes held Monday through Thursday to allow participants time to explore Greece. Online studies will complete the degrees. 

The undergraduate component is also online, and ideal for high school students who are looking to earn college credit in advance of matriculating at the undergraduate level.

Widener formalized a partnership with ACS Athens in 2016 that provides educational opportunities for students at ACS Athens, including summer programs in leadership and engineering for high school juniors, held on Widener’s campus in Chester, Pennsylvania. That collaboration also included a pipeline for ACS Athens students to come to Widener for bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the School of Business Administration and School of Engineering.

ACS Athens provides a rigorous high school program and is attended by Greek students, international students and students who are American citizens – including many who have spent their lives in Greece. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools has given the school the highest level of accreditation and labeled it a “model for success” school.

“Widener is pleased to begin offering these doctoral and master’s degrees in K-12 educational leadership with a focus on international school leadership, and to strengthen our relationship with ACS Athens. The school is a leader in delivering high-quality, rigorous education, and is uniquely suited to collaborate with Widener as we educate professionals who are preparing to lead schools of this caliber internationally,” said Widener President Julie E. Wollman.

ACS Athens President Stefanos Gialamas added, “Redesigning 21st century education is necessary in order to reflect global changes and to empower students to be ‘architects of their own learning.’ Partnerships with higher educational institutions such as Widener are essential in doing so and pave the road toward blurring the lines between the K-12 and higher education environments for optimal educational opportunities.”

Likewise, Peggy Pelonis, ACS Athens Vice President, commented, “In order to enhance the dialogue between the K-12 and higher education institutions, planning programs with intentional excellence is necessary.  One such important manifestation is the Widener-ACS collaboration.”

To learn more about the programs, contact Widener’s Office of Graduate Programs and Extended Learning at 610.499.4282 or, or visit them online.