Deep Roots Make a Difference for Students and Program

Since joining the faculty of what was then Bethune-Cookman in 1976, Dr. Ranjna Patel’s life as a teacher, researcher, and mentor has produced roots that are deep and wide. Even after more than 45 years, you can still hear her say, without equivocation or hesitancy, “B-CU is the best choice I ever made and teaching is the most rewarding profession for me.” 

Dr. Patel has been celebrated and honored for so many things over the span of her years as a classroom teacher, a faculty adviser, a mentor to students and a colleague, collaborator, and friend to her fellow faculty members. She is an investigator and her more than 40 years of research and publications attests to her commitment to finding answers to questions important to her discipline and, more broadly, to the overall success of the University’s students, regardless of discipline. Today, Dr. Patel is a graduate school professor and chair of the Department of Leadership and Administrative Sciences. 

Dr. Patel has published and presented papers on organizational development as well as improved knowledge transfer pedagogies, especially with a focus on minority students and online learning. She has chaired both doctoral and thesis research with more than twenty master’s theses to date and received best paper presentation awards at major academic conferences. Dr. Patel is passionate about student success and passionate about developing research skills so master’s degree students are not only be prepared for doctoral programs but also so they are equipped to become lifelong researchers. 

Celebrates Student Success

For Dr. Patel, retaining students, highlighting student research, and creating opportunities for students to conduct research with their professors are paramount and enduring goals. She proudly adds, “The significance of graduates with degrees from our Graduate School who are now in careers at Amazon and Apple is not lost on me. While their success is personal, it is also shared and celebrated by the entire University.” 

The Difference She Makes

The difference that Dr. Patel has made in the lives of Bethune-Cookman graduate students and the entire University has not gone unnoticed by either her department or the University. She has been honored with both the University’s Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Research Awards. Her value is also celebrated by her colleagues. 

Dr. Claudette McFadden, who served alongside Dr. Patel when they were both graduate school professors, sings the praises of her colleague, saying, “Some of my fondest memories of my years as a professor in the Graduate School are connected to Ranjna. Her sincere appreciation of the value of collaborating as well as her untethered commitment to marshal the potential of each graduate student was without parallel.”   

A Never-ending Commitment

Today, Dr. Patel chairs the Department of Leadership and Administrative Sciences and is a full- time professor in the University’s Graduate School. She remains committed to pre-thesis advisement which has been a central part of her work and continues to direct graduate students as they aggressively employ action research to identify solutions to real-life, real-time workplace issues.  Because of professors like Dr. Ranjna Patel, Bethune-Cookman’s Graduate School is celebrating growth in its programs, student diversity; and impact. 

A broad smile crosses her lips as she thinks about the growing number of program graduates who now hold doctorate degrees and with satisfaction says. “Our program has indeed made a difference in the lives of our students. “Thank you to all my students for giving me the opportunity to make a difference in your lives."