Students aim higher with education doctorate

By Lauren Lavelle

Beginning in July 2017, students will have the opportunity to earn their Doctorate of Education in educational leadership through Rider’s first ever post-master’s degree program.

The program, which boasts both online and on-campus classes, is designed to give students the proper tools to develop their leadership, research and data analysis skills within a three-year time frame.

Of the 51 credits offered within the program, 39 will focus on leadership, curriculum, generating and assessing data, and learning about the ins and outs of running an educational organization. Additionally, there will be a series of action research projects focused on solving a current issue within the education world.

Aimed at students who wish to take the next step in establishing their careers in education, several aspects pertaining to today’s education processes will be analyzed including: politics and governance, teachers and training, and the social context of education.

“The overall goal for our students is to prepare them to become scholar practitioners who will assume a variety of leadership roles and face the challenges that exist in education, today and in the future,” said Chairperson of the Department of Graduation, Education, Leadership and Counseling, and Director of Doctorate in Educational Leadership Leonard Goduto.

According to Sharon Sherman, dean of the college of education and human services, the doctoral program was thoroughly developed and designed to ensure that the overall quality of the coursework fits the needs of today’s students.

“A thorough and professional market study was commissioned so we know that there is a need for the program and there will be jobs for graduates,” said Sherman. “Three highly esteemed external evaluators were engaged to evaluate the program.  They each did a full day site visit and wrote an extensive report.”

Sherman feels now is the perfect time for Rider to introduce such an extensive degree and appreciates the positive feedback she has received from the community regarding the program.

“When President Dell’Omo first arrived last year, I met with him in my role as dean,” said Sherman. “His first question was, ‘Why don’t you have a doctorate?’  This was music to my ears, as our chairs and faculty have wanted to offer a doctorate for many years. There is tremendous excitement about the new doctorate in the local community, among our current students, alumni, faculty and staff. Our College has a well-deserved reputation for preparing high-quality graduates and this new program only enhances our reputation.”

Goduto also respects the time frame of the program and looks forward to the futures of the students set to participate.

“Upon completion of a market analysis, we decided that it was the appropriate time for Rider to offer this program,” added Goduto. “Our graduates of the master’s programs in educational leadership had expressed an interest in a doctoral program for many years.  Additionally, we believe there is a need for innovation and creativity in the field of educational leadership and this program will fulfill that need.”

The program was approved by N.J. Presidents’ Council and is currently awaiting approval from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.

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