CSU system to offer doctorates by Fall 2007

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A new bill that will allow CSUN’s College of Education to grant independent doctorate degrees to students who want to pursue a career in the field of school administration will be available beginning Fall 2007.

The Ed.D. program will prepare students who plan to work in educational human resources. It will also prepare students who plan to become principals and counselors, and who want to explore various levels of administrative work from grade schools to community colleges.

Clara Potes-Fellow, CSU spokesperson, said the degree would take up to five years to acquire.

“Education takes more time than people think, and a doctorate will serve as a great reward,” said Philip Rusche, dean of the College of Education. “It’s an opportunity for additional learning.”

Before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed Senate Bill 724 last month, the CSU could offer only bachelor and master’s degrees, with the exceptions of a few joint doctorate programs offered because of the CSU’s connection to independent universities or University of California schools. The new program will authorize the CSU to independently reward doctorates to its graduate students.

Since CSUN will be eligible to grant a doctorate, students will no longer have to consider switching schools when they want to pursue a further degree.

“They’ll be able to move easily without jumping from institution to institution, leading to better education,” Rusche said.

The new program will not affect the UC doctorate system, according to the CSU.

“I think it’s a very strong praise with what we’ve done with education,” Rusche said. “It’s sort of a validation in offering the highest degree in the history of CSUN’s College of Education.”

It means more access to a program at a more reasonable cost than the private universities, said Richard Castallo, Education Department chair, in an e-mail. “The costs at the privates is prohibitive and really discourages a lot of people from pursuing the doctorate,” he said.

In addition, this program is aimed at the Ed.D, which focuses on fieldwork, versus the Ph.D, which is aimed at research and university teaching.

Castallo said the number of administrators who will be retiring outweighs the number of experienced candidates qualified to replace them.

The Ed.D would affect the Education Leadership and Policy Studies program, according to Castallo.

“(Ed.D. is) certainly needed, so I’m glad the legislation passed it [almost unanimously],” said Stanley Charnofsky, education psychology and counseling professor.

Charnofsky said several years ago his department and the counseling department at UCLA created a joint doctorate of which they negotiated for two years.

“We even worked up a curriculum,” Charnofsky said.

The curriculum was aimed at counseling “at-risk” kids, but when the time came to present the proposal to the state Legislature for approval, UCLA dropped out of the project, Charnofsky said.

“(UCLA) dropped their counseling doctorate program completely,” Charnofsky said.

Charnofsky said the Ed.D. program was created to train the future leaders of school administration.

“It will only help them become more qualified administrators,” he said.

Rusche said in addition to the 30-unit requirement for a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential, if an education major chooses to pursue a doctorate, the graduate will be required to take an advance training practicum to fulfill the doctorate agreement.

“It’s additional education for people looking to work in administrative (roles),” Rusche said.

According to Rusche, students who are aware of Ed.D. are quite optimistic.

“Most students don’t yet know about the new policy, but it sure will impact them greatly,” Rusche said.

He said those who know about the program are excited about the idea of a doctorate degree program at a local university like CSUN.

“It would definitely be successful since there’s not too many local colleges offering doctorates,” said Shawn Otomo, a graduate student in technology education.

He also said when considering how far it is to travel to UCs and private universities, the CSU offering Ed.D. is a good idea.

“It saves time from going to affiliated schools just to get your doctorates,” Otomo said.

Rusche said the specifics SB 724 are on hold until proper guidelines regarding the program are rendered by the CSU.

“It’s up in the air for now,” Rusche said. “This is something we’ve all wanted, and this definitely opens a new chapter.”

Jelly Mae Jadraque can be reached at jelly.mae.quilantange.jadraque@csun.edu.