The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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New educational doctorate focuses on professional skills

Dilmit Singh, the student director of instruction and professional development at Granada Hills Charter High School, has come back to CSUN to take classes. Singh, along with 23 other part-time students, has decided to return to better her professional skills related to educational policy and leadership.

Singh is a part of the Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) program new to CSUN. She said she finds the classes very applicable to her job and appreciates the insight those within the program have given her.

‘I take the readings and identify with what I’ve read in class,’ said Singh. ‘With the professional development, you take the model and apply it to your teachers and schools. The connections are very important and meeting people here outside of your own group of people that you work with on a daily basis is very important.’

‘ ‘You tend to get pretty myopic when you work with your own group, but seeing what others have to say and what they do at their own schools it gives you a platform of comparison of what your school is doing compared to other schools,’ Singh said.

The Educational Doctorate, while still a doctoral degree, is very different from a Ph.D., said Dr. Richard Gregory, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies.

‘It’s unlike the Ph.D. in that the Ph.D. typically, and still today, is basically an individual focused degree on doing a research interest that adds to a knowledge based or a piece of the literature that they may be interested in,’ Gregory said. ‘The Ed.D., on the other hand, is a practitioner based degree which means that they work specifically in their work environment.’

In the 1960s, California developed a Master Plan of Education that outlined which types of universities were allowed to have what types of programs throughout the state. UC schools were the institutions that were going to provide degrees from the bachelors level to the doctoral level and the CSU’s could only provide bachelors and master’s degrees. If a CSU wanted to have a doctoral program, they would have to form joint programs with either a UC or a private university.

‘The CSU’s have always identified very strongly with teacher education and education,’ said Dr. Philip Rusche, professor of educational leadership who is also the director of the doctoral program. ‘In general, that’s one of the primary missions of the CSU, but over the years other institutions, UC’s and privates, were not preparing enough people at the doctoral level to meet the needs of public schools and community colleges.’

‘So legislation was put in to authorize the CSU to have a doctor of education in educational administration to prepare administrators for pre-kindergarten through community college’hellip;It’s not that as if they weren’t being prepared at the masters level, it’s just that those extra years of study at the doctoral level gives additional knowledge and skills that are needed,’ Rusche said.

Dr. Susan Auerbach, assistant professor in the educational leadership and policy studies department, said the program is important because the demand from higher-level educational professionals has changed and schooling itself has become more complicated.

‘It’s important to give professionals in education an opportunity to learn at a more advance level about the many issues and theories and trends that are out there in education because providing high quality schooling has become such a complex and controversial endeavor these days that people who are in top positions really need to be very well informed about the latest research and have a chance to really investigate things on their own,’ said Auerbach.

Having just graduated from California State University, San Marcos’ joint doctoral program with University of California, San Diego, Dr. Peggy Johnson, assistant professor in the educational leadership and polity studies department, finds herself to be a good fit within CSUN’s program. She said she is able to help students because she just finished the process they are beginning.

‘There was a real match. I had a practitioner’s perspective meaning I worked full time as all of our doctoral students do, while I was completing my doctorate,’ Johnson said.

The new program has the support of the school behind it, including the Education Department Dean Michael E. Spagna, and CSUN President Jolene Koester, and this is why Johnson is certain the program will succeed.

‘It’s really a unified feeling,” Johnson said. ‘It will absolutely help to make the program. We are all committed from the university to the college to the department to making this a successful program and I think it’s wonderful to have that feeling.’

Rusche said although the program is new, CSUN is still competitive with any of the other pre-existing programs. He said he recognizes there is a strong belief in the community that UC’s have strengths over CSU’s but that this is not true.

‘I think that we’re quite competitive with any of our colleagues,’ Rusche said. ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I think we have very fine faculty here, very fine programs, very fine students and I think students do extremely well when they leave here just as they do from UC’s or the privates. Its what you make of your education.’

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