Wheeling Jesuit Hires Two Directors for its Graduate Programs

  WJU Communications
  Friday, September 8, 2017 10:08 AM
  Academics, WJU News

Wheeling, WV

Wheeling Jesuit University has chosen two experienced educational professionals to serve as directors of two graduate programs – both with roots in the Ohio Valley.The new academic year began with the hiring of Dr. Dianna Vargo as director of Graduate Education and Accelerated Certification for Teaching (ACT) programs and Brad Rager as director of WJU’s MBA program. The two new directors bring a wealth of experience in education to Wheeling Jesuit.

Rager,vargo-rager-2-web.jpg a native of Wellsburg, W.Va., comes to Wheeling Jesuit to lead its MBA program. Prior to his appointment at WJU, he had worked at West Virginia University since 2008. He served as the Office Administrator & Program Coordinator with WVU’s School of Pharmacy, Office of Research and Graduate Programs, managing a Ph.D. program in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences. In 2014, Rager took over as Program Manager/Academic Advisor with WVU’s College of Business and Economics Graduate Programs, where his MBA programs rose to national prominence.

“It’s wonderful to return to the Ohio Valley and take this position at WJU. This university is what I can best describe as a family atmosphere where I’m lucky to collaborate with incredibly talented, experienced faculty and staff to develop the next generation of business and community leaders. My professional stars aligned and brought me back home to live and have an impact on the community that means so much to me,” Rager said.

He noted that Wheeling Jesuit University's Graduate Business programs are designed to meet the needs of non-traditional, working professionals while also catering to the needs of a younger generation. WJU’s Online MBA Program provides graduate students with an interdisciplinary degree that incorporates five areas of study; management, accounting, economics, finance and marketing. The new online format is designed to be relevant and accessible to adult learners who may be juggling home and work responsibilities, Rager added. 

“I look forward to re-engaging with the community and businesses in ways that will help our students obtain real-world experiences through experiential learning opportunities,” Rager said. “As an institution of higher learning, WJU and the greater Wheeling market can serve as a petri dish – where businesses and the university can come together to design engagement opportunities to collaborate in economic growth.”

Mr. Rager holds undergraduate degrees in Music Performance and Pre-Law Philosophy from West Virginia University and is an accomplished professional musician, continuing to perform with various ensembles throughout the region. He is continuing his pursuit of a doctorate in Academic Administration. His dissertation and research interests focuses on the non-traditional, adult, online learner.

In her new role at WJU, Vargo will be responsible to facilitate and administer the Master of Education Leadership (MEL) and Accelerated Certification for Teaching (ACT) programs.

“This role provides an exciting opportunity to work with and prepare educators and administrators of tomorrow. Our education department is committed to the mission of Wheeling Jesuit University – to educate students for Life, Leadership, and Service with and Among Others. As a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit, it is a privilege to return to my alma mater in this new role,” Vargo said.

Vargo, who received a master’s degree from WJU in 1987, took over her new position this summer. She returned to her alma mater in 2016 to be an adjunct instructor in the education department. In addition to her new administrative responsibilities, Vargo also will teach classes in the undergraduate and graduate education programs at WJU.

“Wheeling Jesuit University undergraduate education program allows for state licensure in elementary and secondary education, while the ACT program offers an 18-month online path to teacher certification in grades five through adult. Our MEL degree offers working educators the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in as little as one year in school or school system leadership for principal or superintendent licensure or instructional leadership for classroom teachers,” she explained.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ohio University, as well as a master’s degree in mathematics education from Wheeling Jesuit and a masters in education administration from West Virginia University. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership from WVU in 2009.

“Our programs rely on experienced and committed instructors who are current or former school administrators and who work collaboratively to ensure excellent and efficient administration of all our education programs,” Vargo added.

Prior to coming to Wheeling Jesuit, Vargo spent much of her career working in the Ohio County School District as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. In 2005, Vargo moved into school administration with Ohio County Schools, where she was the assistant superintendent from 2005-09, then the deputy superintendent from 2009-12. In 2012, she became the superintendent of Ohio County Schools, a role she held until 2016.

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