Checking in with the EdD Cohort
This summer the EdD cohort completed the first two classes in the doctoral program. The third class, Ethical Leadership and Advocacy, begins on September 26. As the cohort progresses through the program we’ll be checking in with them to share their thoughts and experience with our graduate community.
Several of the EdD cohort members reflected on their experiences in the program thus far and described their research plans and ultimate goals. Each provided unique answers and yet there was a common thread throughout the responses, indicating a mutual respect and understanding of one another as an extremely diverse group of learners.
Cindy Martindill, site director for Vermont Technical College’s nursing distance education programs, provides nursing education in northeastern, rural Vermont through the use of interactive television for classroom presentations. Cindy writes, “One concern related to using distance education formats is the loss of faculty ability to convey a sense of caring to the students. Caring is a cornerstone of nursing practice, and it is thought that one way a student learns to model caring is by viewing faculty who care for the students. My particular area of interest is how students perceive faculty conveying caring over interactive television. As continuing nursing education opportunities and career development in rural Vermont and northern New Hampshire are limited, my goal is to be able to provide leadership in planning an affordable, accessible RN to BSN program for this geographic area, so nurses can continue in their career development.”
Ginger Lever, director of marketing and community relations for UNH at Manchester, talked about the team project the EdD cohort completed during Quantitative Methods for Program Assessment and Evaluation, the second course in the EdD sequence. The team created a proposal for an evaluation of The Bridge House, a 20-bed homeless shelter serving men, women, and children from Grafton County and the surrounding areas. “What is the big deal about a team project you may ask? We all work, we live in opposite ends of the state, and we had two-person teams collaborating to contribute to the bigger proposal,” said Ginger. “Challenges of communication, distance, and technology were overcome and we came together to accomplish our goals.” Ginger is continuing to narrow her research ideas. She says, “Each class contributes to my knowledge base, helps me to narrow the possibilities, and guides my development of clearer research questions. My interests are in the area of outreach and engagement, best practices, and institutional efficacy.”
Roxanne Wilson, assistant superintendent for SAU 28 and the only school administrator in the cohort, wondered what she had gotten herself into when she read the letter saying, “Congratulations, you have been accepted into the first PSU Doctoral Program.” She was curious about the other cohort members, and questioned whether she would have enough time to devote to studies while working full-time, but felt good about facing this new challenge. Roxanne’s research topic is still developing, but will involve the use of technology as it benefits school administrators in the context of their jobs. The research may also lead her to examine technology for benefit of student learning. Roxanne noted, “It has been a positive experience thus far, and my uncertainties have been replaced with a sense of determination and enthusiasm.”
Jamie Hannon, coordinator for Plymouth State’s adventure learning program, was energized by the first class, Emerging Perspectives on Learning and Development. “With its emphasis on brain-compatible teaching and the social brain, pieces of this class have already found their way into my teaching this fall, and have influenced my thinking about my dissertation research.” Regarding his research Jamie says, “My interests are a natural extension of experiential, outdoor education practices into the realm of human health and healing. My dissertation research will study the practices and outcomes of programs using the combined experience of natural environments and contemplation as a complementary therapeutic tool for individuals experiencing serious illness or major life transition. Through this program I intend to continue my development as a teacher, exposing my students to the growing edges of our field, to recognize and explore the transpersonal elements of outdoor and adventure experiences, and to develop a therapeutic program similar to those which I will study.”
Shawn Powers said, “the EdD experience, thus far, has been a whirling dervish of seminars, inquiry, writing marathons, and Sunday traffic on 93 (I live in southern NH). Great care and effort has been invested in creating a sustained learning community that undergirds this journey.” Shawn’s research interest is in the impact of community-based cultural programs on local education policy. “The light at the end of this includes teaching and writing, as well as policy work. But the spiritual goal—the reason why I get out of bed in the morning—is embedded in promoting the value that the arts play within education and life, and the value that education plays within the arts. The current economic crisis has revealed philosophical and leadership voids in promoting these values. I aim to remedy this.”