I've been meaning to blog for months, but I haven't been successful due to the large amount of writing I'm completing for school. As many of my friends and family know, I'm in a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program through American International College which is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. Although campus is two hours away, their Ed.D. program is a "low residency" program which means I only travel there five times each year. This feature of the program was highly attractive to me since I'm a full-time teacher who also commits to a probably unhealthy number of tutoring clients.
What I want to communicate in this blogpost, though, is what I like, dislike, and have found surprising about this Ed.D. program so far. Perhaps you're a teacher who is thinking about someday embarking on a similar journey. If so, this post is especially for you!
What I Like:
- The low residency format: as mentioned above, I'm only "in class" five times a year, although these can last for an entire weekend. I love being able to do most of my work on my own time and at my favorite coffee shops, or wherever.
- The connections: although only on campus five times a year, I've met and have become close with numerous teachers, principals, and other educational practitioners. Members in my cohort who I also share an advisor with belong to a secret Facebook group in which we ask, answer, vent, cry, and laugh together.
- The learning: I have issues with some of the content—more on that below—but I truly appreciate how much I've learned, and I am learning, especially with respect to conducting research. I'm now fascinated by topics like scale reliability and factor rotation.
What I Dislike:
- The cost: oh, my. The cost of higher education is out of control. My closest friends will know that I'm a saver, so I've been able to progress through the program without taking out a loan. However, spending over $6,000 a trimester stings. Many who would otherwise consider a program such as the one I'm in have decided against it solely due to the cost; I don't blame them.
- The repetitiveness: for the first two full years of the program, the writing I did was very much based on a very particular format and style of writing (formal, APA, with certain quirks my advisor prefers). Although the writing topics varied, the repetitive nature of the papers became dull toward the end of those two first years and into the third.
- The focus on qualitative research: apparently most of the dissertations completed in the program are qualitative in nature. As a math gal, I knew I would complete a quantitative study from very early on. This, however, has been a bit more difficult than anticipated because the program seems to have more supports in place, and experts at hand, geared toward qualitative research. I've found myself watching countless hours of YouTube videos to fully prepare for the quantitative data analysis I will complete in my last year of the program.
What I Found Surprising
- I'm doing well: the latest review of my work was largely positive and the reviewer commended my "no-nonsense" writing. This has given me a boost of confidence and energy going into my fourth and final year of the program. As someone who has always considered herself a math/science person and less able at writing, my success in the program, so far, is a huge relief. Knock on wood.
If you'd like more information about this program, feel free to ask me any question. Additionally, click here and then select "Low Residency and Doctoral Programs" from the menu.
Happy back-to-school season,
P.S. My dissertation will focus on student self-efficacy beliefs in middle school math, but I decided not to go down that rabbit hole here.