Ph.D. Program Combines Resources to Expand — and Enhance — Leadership Opportunities

Neag students

Beginning in the fall of 2013, there will be new options for Ph.D. students in the Department of Educational Leadership. “The proposal is to integrate our existing Ph.D. programs in Adult Learning and Educational Administration into a single field of study in Learning, Leadership and Educational Policy, with areas of concentration in Adult Learning and Leadership and Policy,” explains Dr. Robin Grenier, associate professor of Adult Learning in the Department of Educational Leadership in the Neag School of Education.

The change will help ensure students are better prepared for success in the fields of educational leadership and policy, adult learning, and human resource development. There are also a number of commonalities in the two programs that can be better utilized when combined. “Across the two existing doctoral programs, there are similar courses, faculty members and resource needs, as well as very similar research and professional placements for graduates,” says Grenier.

The new, combined Learning, Leadership and Educational Policy program will also expose doctoral students to a wider range of topics, more collaborative work with students and staff, and improved research opportunities.

“As the field grows and changes, so do the needs and expectations of our students. Maintaining our current department and separate Ph.D. programs does not allow for an adequate response to these demands,” says Grenier.

Requirements in this new program will include:

  • 9 or more credit hours of research methods courses offered by EDCI, EDLR and EPSY
  • 9 or more credit hours of courses in the student’s area of concentration
  • 15 credit hours of GRAD 6950 (Dissertation Research)
  • 18 credit hours of core courses

One of the most beneficial aspects of the program, Grenier says, is the high level of interaction students have with experienced Neag faculty members. Students are matched with EDLR faculty that act as mentors and help each student achieve his or her specific educational goals.

The program goal, Grenier said, is to develop for each student an individualized course of study that reflects the student’s specific interests, needs and background.

“We are hoping this new Ph.D. program will create an even more vibrant research community within the Neag School, as well as make our graduates even more effective educational leaders, whether it be in an academic or business setting,” Grenier said. “Our graduates go on to assume positions in academia, administration and policy, government and non-profit agencies, and within the private business sector.”

Adds Dr. Casey Cobb, department head of Educational Leadership: “We’re eager to attract high-quality doctoral students to engage in cutting-edge research in partnership with our faculty, which will only enhance our national standing as a department and school. This is a high priority for us, as is training the best leaders to administer and advance education in schools and elsewhere.”