Because some students may not know what things to ask when weighing their doctoral program options, the following list of questions is provided as a guide. Following each question are answers that apply specifically to the University of Missouri-Columbia Statewide Cooperative EdD Program in Educational Leadership. Potential students are encouraged to use this list of questions when making inquiries about doctoral programs they may be considering.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Doctoral Program
What is return I can expect on my investment of time and money? Ninety-two percent of Cohort Five students who began the Statewide Cooperative EdD Program in 2005 reported job promotions and/or increased job responsibilities while enrolled in the EdD, and 60% of all program alumni and students report promotions while enrolled in or upon completion of the program.
What is the reputation of the institution from which I will receive my degree? The Carnegie Classification for the University of Missouri-Columbia is RU/VH (Research University - Very high research activity) and the university has a national reputation for program excellence. The Statewide Cooperative EdD Program has been lauded by various national and international organizations for its innovative delivery, cohesive curriculum, and rigorous standards. Additionally, the University of Missouri-Columbia is one of 62 members of the prestigious Association of American Universities(AAU). AAU was founded in 1900 to advance the international status of U.S. research universities and membership is by invitation only. MU is one of 34 public institutions among the membership and the only public university in Missouri on the membership roll. The University of Missouri also has a strong pattern of active involvement in the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) and has hosted its national headquarters on the MU campus. The EdD program was invited to be one of twenty-two institutions to join the Carnegie Foundation Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). The project brings together many highly-respected institutions that offer the EdD degree and is working on creating a national dialogue about the education doctorate. The Carnegie Project also provides an opportunity for institutions to learn from one another about their respective programs. The program has an outstanding reputation with its graduates. An impressive 97% of Statewide Cooperative EdD Program students stated that they would definitely refer prospective students to the program because it is of high quality, promotes excellent leadership skills, encourages personal growth, and provides a beneficial experience in collaboration.
What are the goals of the program and what competencies do graduates gain? The Statewide Cooperative EdD has the following objectives: • To enhance the knowledge and competencies of leaders so they provide optimal leadership for the education of all learners, both youth and adult • To prepare future education leaders who are inquiring, reflective practitioners, • To prepare leaders who are competent in identifying and solving complex problems in education, • To prepare leaders who understand the multitude of leadership and organizational theories and techniques related to their professional settings. • To prepare educational leaders who value, encourage, and facilitate the professional development of self and others in their organization, • To prepare leaders who demonstrate effective communication skills in both educational and non-educational settings, • To prepare leaders who value, understand and support diversity in their organizations, and • To prepare leaders who make contributions to the profession. The following items and trends rank among student responses as the most profound results of program participation: • interpersonal skills, • teamwork capacity, • problem-setting and solving capability, • ability to work effectively in a learning team, • ability to understand leadership from a variety of contexts, • collaborative learning, • ability to analyze organizational settings, and • general improvement in personal leadership skills and ability.
What is the likelihood I will complete this degree after I am admitted? Of Cohort One students (admitted in 1997), 84% who began the program have completed their degrees. This graduation rate is higher than those observed in traditionally delivered doctoral programs. Ninety-four percent of all students who began the EdD program have persisted in the program. Cohort Three has the highest persistence rate at nearly
What is the admissions process like? The Statewide Cooperative EdD Program utilizes a selective admissions process. Acceptance into the program is not automatic but is based on a two-tiered screening process. This process maintains the quality of the students in the program and, consequently, contributes to the quality of the program. The first tier of application screening is based on a multifaceted paper application, followed by the second tier of in person interviews and writing. All applicants’ qualifications are judged on an individual basis and admissions decisions are determined by the Statewide Cooperative EdD Coordinating Committee. New students are admitted as “cohorts” into the program every two years. At a minimum, an applicant must hold a Master’s degree and have relevant organizational leadership experience to be considered for admission.
What is unique about this doctoral program as compared to its competitors? The Statewide Cooperative EdD Program is based on an integrated curriculum delivered via a cohort format. The program is delivered through face-to-face and web-enhanced instruction at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at each partner institution. Students accepted into the program must hold an educational leadership position so students come to the program with various leadership backgrounds including public education, private schools, non-profit associations, state agencies, and universities and colleges. They can apply what they learn because they are working full time in organizational settings. Students highlight the following as strengths of the program: • the supportive cohort structure, • collaborative learning environment, • teamwork expectation, • diversity of leadership contexts within the program, • program flexibility and structure, • relevant and useful course material, • high quality faculty who are knowledgeable, and caring, and • rigorous and integrated curriculum. Students benefit from multiple students’ perspectives as well as from the broader context of educational learning provided by the program. Program graduates and current students hail from 159 communities across Missouri and from contiguous states. A Cohort Five student remarked, on the end-of-coursework evaluation, “ I believe this program is the best around. My belief is that this is the most rigorous program in the state.”
How long does it take to complete this degree program? Doctoral students can finish in a minimum of three years and are allowed a maximum of seven years to complete the degree. The average student completion time for Cohorts 1-4 is 4.22 years. Students complete two years of required courses, take oral and written comprehensive exams, and then write the dissertation .
For PK-12 administrators, how will this program fulfill superintendent certification requirements? The program carries no superintendent certification; however, specific parts of the superintendent certification requirements can be fulfilled by this EdD degree. Students should have their transcripts reviewed by a faculty member at their partner institutions to determine what requirements will be met through the completion of the EdD.
What is the time commitment while I am in the program? <ul><li>Students take classes during two summers, attending class three days a week for four weeks (July) at the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. In addition to the three days of classes, students typically meet in teams outside of class to complete class projects. During the two academic years (August-May), courses are offered at the regional partner universities that participate in the statewide program. In addition, a web-based course connects the students to the University of Missouri-Columbia program during the academic year. </li></ul>
Where will courses be offered? The summer courses are offered in Columbia and the August-May courses are offered at the partner regional campuses of Missouri State University (Springfield), Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville), Southeast Missouri State University (Cape Girardeau), and the University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg). Partner institutions also host extension sites to make the program even more accessible to students. The Statewide Cooperative EdD Program has been offered at 17 sites across Missouri.
What local faculty support is provided for students at partner institutions? <ul><li>EdD students receive ongoing support from faculty advisors and committee members located at each partner institution. In addition, another source of support is fellow cohort members. </li></ul>
Can I work full-time while in this program? The program is designed for leaders who work full time. Completion of the program while holding a full-time leadership position makes program learning immediate and applicable to the current job.
What are the qualifications of the faculty who teach in this program? Unique about the Statewide Cooperative EdD Program is that faculty from each partner regional institution and from the University of Missouri-Columbia team teach the courses. All EdD faculty hold a doctorate, are full-time faculty, encompass years of experience in their field, and are known nationally and internationally. Currently, about 100 faculty teach, advise, and serve on dissertation committees. An Instructional Team leader facilitates the collaboration between faculty from all partner institutions to design courses and their instruction.
What are the primary content areas in this program? The program has distinct curriculum themes which have been modified for maximum effectiveness based on student feedback. Themes include: • Leadership Theory and Practice • Organizational Analysis • Analysis of Educational Policy • Content and Context of Learning • Research, Inquiry, and Evaluation
How well established is the Statewide Cooperative EdD Program? The EdD degree is conferred by the University of Missouri-Columbia. The program began in 1996 and the first cohort was admitted in 1997. As of April 2007, six cohorts with 455 total students have begun the program, with cohort size ranging from 62 to 108. 88% of those who are admitted to the program begin coursework. As of July 2007, 170 students have graduated from the program; another 125 are working on dissertation completion; and 160 are actively working on courses. Program graduates, students, and faculty have presented at more than 200 local, regional, and national conferences; many students have been recognized for their effective leadership; at least eight articles about the program have appeared in scholarly refereed professional journals; and one dissertation has been completed on the Statewide Cooperative EdD Program.
Is there a final research project? What is it like? The final research project, an indicator of the quality of the doctoral program, consists of an applied research dissertation. This project is completed under the direction of an advisor who works closely with the student to encourage him/her to successfully complete a project that has professional merit and contributes to the student’s leadership practice, as well as to the leadership practice of other educators.
How marketable is this degree? Graduates report a high degree of success in obtaining professional advancement as a result of degree completion. Ninety-two percent of Cohort Five students who began the program in 2005 reported job promotions and/or increased job responsibilities while enrolled in the EdD and 60% of all program alumni and students report promotions while enrolled in or upon completion of the program. Statewide Cooperative EdD graduates hold and transition into top leadership positions in PK-12 school settings such as superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, and instructional specialist. Most higher education graduates hold administrative positions such as Vice President, Registrar, Director of Housing, and Director of Admissions. A program graduate stated the following about how the program led career advancement : “The program emphasized collaborative learning; we were a learning community in the truest sense of the phrase, with faculty guiding the process and students learning with and from one another. It was among the most meaningful experiences of my professional life. I have no doubt that completing this program ultimately advanced my career. ” A current student stated at the end of coursework: “My life has been forever changed and amazing doors have opened for me as a result of the EdD program.” In addition, students should ask program alumni and potential employers about their perception of the marketability of a degree from a program they are considering.
How much money will I be investing in this program? University of Missouri-Columbia 2007-2008 academic year in-state fees are $286.90 per credit hour. The EdD program entails 46 credits.
What are the quality standards to which this program adheres? The Statewide Cooperative EdD Program was established with approval of the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education. Students provide weekly feedback to the Instructional Team during both summers of the program. The program also engages in ongoing internal and external program evaluations and assessment. Program evaluations are used to maintain program quality and to contribute to continuous program improvement.