Zach_Doctoral Education and Beyond

Zach Shirley
EDHE 6730
Fall 2010
 This presentation will discuss the emphasis on
Doctoral study as chronicled by Chapter 20 in the text.
 Areas for discussion include some of the following:
 Why a Doctorate?
 Where to attend?
 Selecting an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) or a Ph.D.
(Doctor of Philosophy) program.
 Steps to enhance matriculation.
 Career options once the degree has been completed.
 The length of time to obtain a doctorate varies by the
academic discipline, with the median time increasing
from 6.6 years in the year 1983, to 7.1 in the year 1993
(de Valero, 2001, p. 341)
 According to Nettles and Millett (2006), in the year
2000, only about 1 percent of the nation’s adult
population – approximately 1.5 percent males and 0.6
percent females that were eighteen years old and above
– had earned a doctoral degree.
 There are a number of students who start, but do not
complete, doctoral programs.
 Forty to sixty percent of students who begin doctorates
do not earn their degrees (McAlpine & Norton, 2006).
 Support from family, peers, faculty/chairperson can
influence completion, along with financial support
and student motivation.
 Specifically, a student’s interaction with their faculty
chairperson has a more direct influence on student
completion than any other factor.
 There are two distinct challenges to doctoral student
persistence, as pointed out by Nettles and Millett
 Faculty advisor issues, which include:
 Unexpected faculty departures
 Conflicts with a mentor
 Academic issues, which include:
 Difficulty in making the transition to an independent scholar
 Loss of confidence
 Loss of interest in the dissertation topic
 Changing academic interests
 Current program not meeting the student’s needs
 Nettles and Millet (2006) reported the following facts
in regards to the decision-making process for the
pursuit of a doctoral degree:
 Students typically decide to pursue doctoral studies ten
years after they complete their master’s degrees.
 Education majors tend to be older than other doctoral
students, and begin their degree programs around the
age of thirty – students in other disciplines start their
progressions in their early twenties.
 African-American doctoral students in education have an
average age of thirty-seven years as opposed to the thirty-five
years old age demographic for other racial ethnic groups.
 As stated by Townsend and Mason (1990), most individuals
pursue a doctorate for one of two main reasons:
 To maintain their current position in Student Affairs.
 To advance into upper-management Administrative positions.
 The doctorate opens up doors to either a teaching career, or
one in middle- and upper-administration.
 The time to complete a doctorate is typically up to ten
years, which can be considered to be a major interruption
in the lives of many people.
 Careful consideration must be given in regards to making
such a decision, since it puts life “on hold” for many
 Collins and Barratt (2007), in their research of the
American College Personnel Association’s (ACPA)
directory of graduate programs, found there to be
approximately 134 institutions across the country with
master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees in Student
Affairs or Higher Education.
 Most programs now require prospective students to
have a least one year of full-time employment in
Student Affairs/Higher Education before they are
allowed admittance.
 Students should examine the following items:
 Faculty and their research interests
 Will you research interests align with theirs?
 Does the program demographic contain faculty that are full-time,
along with faculty that hold primary roles as administrators?
 Program requirements
 Most programs require students to take courses in HiEd.
Administration, Finance, HiEd. Law, Qual./Quant. Statistics,
History of HiEd., and Student Development Theories, just to name
a few.
 Financial aid options
 Are there assistantships available? What about grants?
 Academic quality
 Academic infrastructure
 Faculty friendliness
 Academic reputation of the program and campus
 The oldest and most recognized degrees in education are
the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the Doctor of
Education (Ed.D.)
 The Ph.D. was established by Yale University in 1860, and the
first Ph.D. in education was granted in 1893 by Teachers
College, Columbia University (Nettles & Millett, 2006)
 The first Ed.D. was established by Howard University, and
conferred it in 1920, followed by Teachers College in 1934
(Nettles & Millett, 2006).
 The degrees were created to present options for the
preparation of either Administrators in HiEd (Ed.D.) or
Professors, researchers, and scholars in HiEd (Ph.D.)
 Today, however, the programs and their requirements are
strikingly similar to one another, with the line becoming
blurred between the two in most cases.
 Research has shown that there is minimal difference
between the two degree tracks (Coorough & Nelson,
Both require rigorous coursework
Both require research tools and experience
Both require end-of-coursework Qualifying Exams
Both require the production of a Dissertation
 Ph.D. Dissertation generally utilizes multivariate statistics
 Ed.D. Dissertation generally utilizes survey research
 Differences exist between the two in regards to target
populations, research designs, and statistical analyses,
but those differences are minute, as well.
Ph.D. Program
Ed.D. Program
 For individuals interested
 For individuals interested
primarily in scholarly research
and in the teaching of HiEd as a
field of study
 72-78 credit hours beyond the
Master’s Degree
 Requires 9 additional hours in
research methodology and
 Conceptual or theoreticallybased dissertation of
publishable quality that is
generalizable to the field of
primarily in the application
of theory and research to
 60-66 credit hours beyond
the Master’s Degree
 Requires a student to
complete a cognate field in a
“sub-specialization” of HiEd
 Applied, analytical, or
descriptive dissertation
 The attainment of a doctoral degree opens up various
career paths for those who have completed the degree
program, with the most popular being either a career
in the professoriate or in administration.
 Statistics show that eighty percent of doctoral
candidates pursue administrative careers, while twenty
percent aspire to hold faculty positions.
 Many students pursue terminal degrees in order to
hold onto current positions, as opposed to pursuing
professional advancement.
 Howard-Hamilton and Hyman (2009) stated that doctoral
students who find interest in becoming a faculty member
should consider the following:
 Is there a line of research that you would find yourself
passionate about?
 Have you carefully examined the institution in which you
would like to seek faculty appointment?
 Public institution v. Private institution
 Does the program you wish to become a faculty member in
pride its focus on the preparation of solely master’s students,
or does it cater more to doctoral students?
 Is the program you wish to work in more administrativelyfocused, counseling-based, or a blended model?
 Howard-Hamilton and Hyman (2009) recommends that
those aspiring for a career in administration consider the
 What are your ultimate career goals?
 Is your focus on becoming a senior student affairs
 Are you looking to retain your current administrative
appointment or move on to another institution in a different
 Administrative duties differ from campus to campus and
demographic to demographic (i.e. the community college,
state university, private institution, etc.).
 Keep in mind that administrators may also accept faculty
 Whether a doctoral student decides on becoming a
faculty member or an administrator, they are both
considered to be “educators.”
 Being a visible member of the campus community –
regardless of having status as an “administrator” or as
“faculty” – provides students a model to witness that
both entities are important to the mission of the
 Collins, D. & Barratt, W. (Eds.). (2007). America
College Personnel Directory of Graduate Programs.
 Coorough, C. & Nelson, N. (1991). Content analysis of the
Ph.D. vs. Ed.D. dissertation.
Retrieved from ERIC database. ED364580.
 de Valero, Y. F. (2001). Departmental factors affecting
time-to-degree and completion rates of doctoral
students at one land-grant institution. Journal of
Higher Education, 72(3), 341-367.
 Howard-Hamilton, M. F. & Hyman, R. E. (2009).
Doctoral education and beyond. In G. S.
McClellan & J. Stringer (Eds.), The handbook of
student affairs administration (pp. 388-402).
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
 McAlpine, L. & Norton, J. (2006). Reframing our
approach to doctoral programs: An integrative
framework for action and research. Higher
Education Research and Development, 25(1), 3-17.
 Nettles, M. T. & Millett, C. M. (2006). Three magic
letters: Getting to ph.d. Baltimore, MD: Johns
Hopkins University Press.
 Townsend, B. K. & Mason, S. O. (1990). Career paths of
graduates of higher education doctoral programs.
Review of Higher Education, 14(1), 63-81.

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