online degree program - how online learning works
educating armed forces and veterans
contact admissions
education investment
undergraduate academics - schedule a campus visit
online learning - start your online degree today
image showing top half of building on Saint Leo University's campus

Saint Leo 360 Podcast

Episode 6: Diving into Saint Leo's Doctor of Education (EdD) Program

Posted by Greg Lindberg on October 24, 2019

Podcast-Episode6

Download Episode 6 Transcript

Speaker 1:
Saint Leo 360, a 360 degree overview of the Saint Leo University community.

Greg Lindberg:
Welcome to another episode of the Saint Leo 360 podcast. My name's Greg Lindberg, and today it's a pleasure to be joined by Ivy Pierrelus who is a graduate enrollment counselor here at Saint Leo. Ivy, it's a pleasure to have you on the podcast.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Yes, thank you, Greg. It's a pleasure to be here.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely.

Greg Lindberg:
So, today, we are talking about one of our doctoral programs and that's the EDD, which stands for the doctor of education. And I should mention this as one of three doctoral programs that Saint Leo offers. In addition to this one, we also have a DBA, the doctorate of business administration, and then also a doctor of criminal justice.

Greg Lindberg:
So, as far as the EDD, Ivy talk to me about what were kind of the reasons behind offering this program and how it got started?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Okay, well, the program was in high demand from our alumni. And it was the natural progression to provide a program that hones the skills of educators and administrators to become organizational leaders.

Greg Lindberg:
I see. And I know we've had education programs for a while at both the bachelor's and master's levels. So, I would imagine it kind of made sense to offer this program eventually.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. The calls that were coming in for students, it seemed like it was something that they were waiting for, for a very long time.

Greg Lindberg:
Nice, yeah.

Greg Lindberg:
So, let's talk about how a perspective student would actually get into this program as far as the admission requirements. What are the requirements to actually at least be considered for this program?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Okay so, it is a doctoral program, so they have to have a master's degree in education, or a related field, psychology, sociology, those type of fields from a regionally accredited school. And their GPA must be a 3.25 or higher. They would need to have transcripts from both their undergraduate and graduate studies. A current up-to-date resume to evaluate their professional experience, two recommendations from either professional or academic referral. And a two page narrative regarding the important aspects of ethical leadership for school leaders. Once all of those items have been received, then the student can then go through the review process to see if they are a candidate for the program.

Greg Lindberg:
I see, interesting.

Greg Lindberg:
And talk to me about just the types of students that have enrolled in this new program, and maybe perspective students, what kind of individuals would be a good fit for this program?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Well, there's been many different types of students, of course, all underneath the umbrella of the education system. We have teachers, but there have been curriculum designers, administrators, principals, assistant principals, guidance, counselors, and some people who just are life learners, and they want to continue in education, but they have some type of experience in the school district.

Greg Lindberg:
Right, I see.

Greg Lindberg:
So, would you say this is not necessarily for someone that wants to either get into teaching or continue teaching, this wouldn't be more of an administrative role that one would attain after this degree?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. It's a program that gears it's geared more towards leadership and administration, so they would need to have some type of classroom, or school experience in order to do this program.

Greg Lindberg:
I see.

Greg Lindberg:
And then, as far as you know, where the program is actually offered. I know it's mainly online, but there is a residency as well, if you could just elaborate on that?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Yes. The program is offered online. All of the 19 courses are completely online. But we do have the residency that is done at the main campus here at Saint Leo. It is a one week long residency program. It's the opportunity for the cohort members to begin to engage face-to-face with each other, and their professors, their chairs. It's a collaborative and supportive learning environment to actualize the program and their professional goals.

Greg Lindberg:
I see.

Greg Lindberg:
And I know there are so many online programs out there in general. And, in my view, having this residency really offers a way for the students to connect not only with their peers, but their professors. And, in my opinion, that's such a unique selling point, I would think of an online program. Would you agree with that?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. It's ideal, especially for individuals that are in the classroom to be able to have the perspectives of other individuals that are working in the education system. And come together and have a collaborative learning environment where they can share ideas, but also grow with those ideas.

Greg Lindberg:
Right.

Greg Lindberg:
And then, as far as just online programs, in general, talk about the availability, the willingness of faculty teaching in this program to really work with the student, even though they are taking it remotely.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Well, the faculty with the School of Education, I can say by far, if I could describe them in one word, it would be invested. The student alumni, of course, they have been driving for the EDD program to come into fruition. But the faculty, I think, is the reasoning behind that. The students always speak highly of the professors that they've had, the program chairs, how supportive that they are. So I think, it is by far, one of the factors that sets Saint Leo apart is that they have such caring faculty that are involved in their students' development.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. Very well said.

Greg Lindberg:
Let's talk about the length of the program. On average, how long would it take a student to actually go through this program?

Ivy Pierrelus:
On average, the program is formatted to be a three-year program.

Greg Lindberg:
Three years. And I would imagine that could vary. You don't necessarily have to complete it within that timeframe, obviously, I would imagine.

Ivy Pierrelus:
There could be some varying factors, but with the formatting of the program, they are really striving for students to avoid being, what's called, ABD, all but dissertation. So, if they're falling through the curriculum and with the support doing one class at a time for eight weeks, it is attainable that they should finish within three years. Or it could be a little bit sooner just depending on what other factors may be there.

Greg Lindberg:
Right, I see.

Greg Lindberg:
And then, I know there's also, I guess, a little further than halfway through the program students actually attain, is it an education specialist degree?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Yes, that is. That was one of those factors that could cause them to complete the program a little sooner than three years.

Greg Lindberg:
I see. And just, if you could elaborate on that degree, what would that degree actually allow someone to do, that education specialist degree?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Well, the education specialist degree is a post-master's degree. So, there's additional information, and studies and research that the student does at that level. The first 39 credits of the EDD curriculum is aligned with that EDS curriculum. So, upon graduation in three years, if you think about it, a student is not just completing one degree, but they're completing two degrees. So, they can confer both the EDS and the EDD after three years. And with the conferred EDS, a student can submit their individual district contracts to see if there's any additional compensation that they can receive. So, it's kind of like a win-win in between completing the EDD.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah, that's unique. Just kind of being able to say, kill two birds with one stone in a way.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah, that is nice.

Greg Lindberg:
Let's see here. Now, as far as the actual curriculum, talk to me about some of the topics that are covered within this EDD curriculum.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Okay so, the curriculum is practitioner based. So, the focus is always going to be on leadership and administration. Students will be able to integrate their work with the ins and outs of their working days with their current working environment and place that into their projects and their assignments. And some of the courses that the students could look forward to will be on topics like school organization, analytical leadership, instructional technology, and various policies.

Greg Lindberg:
I see. So, quite a variety of topics covered and lot of good information, it sounds like.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. We want to make sure that they are experts in their fields, and that they can take the education system, and the leaders into new dimensions.

Greg Lindberg:
Right, that's wonderful.

Greg Lindberg:
Now, as far as how this prepares a student for future advancement, or a career change, what would you say kind of the goal of the program is in terms of preparing students for success?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Well, to prepare the graduates pretty much to be effective in strategic planning, the program wants to make sure that they're able to lead schools and districts, to manage change through data information, decision-making skills in order to improve outcomes for students across all grades. And also if they want to come back into higher education to be able to implement that same information into the future educators.

Greg Lindberg:
I see.

Greg Lindberg:
Let's talk about the faculty that actually teach in this doctoral program. What are some of their backgrounds? And, as far as experience, what kind of experience do they bring to the table?

Ivy Pierrelus:
All of our faculty, of course, have completed a doctoral program that are teaching and that are incorporated into the EDD. They have those individuals who've completed, EDDs themselves, those who have PhDs. And they've been very involved with these students, many of them through the research aspect of the EDS program. So, they're already well familiar with the curriculum, and what information that these students need in order to complete the last leg of the EDD portion. So, a lot of it has already been incorporated with the faculty through the EDS, and now they're just taking it to the home stretch to complete the dissertation portion for the EDD.

Greg Lindberg:
I see. So, they have that backbone and that experience [crosstalk 00:11:02].

Ivy Pierrelus:
They're well-versed.

Greg Lindberg:
Right, which is wonderful.

Greg Lindberg:
Let's see. Now, as far as EDD programs, in general, how common are they out there within higher education? And what would you say separates this program from any others?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Well, there is a growing market for EDD programs, but what separates Saint Leo is the flexibility of the program. Being able to do these courses online, having a residency that's during the summer, I mean, that's advantageous for many of the educators. They're not in the school, typically, they're not in the classroom during that timeframe. So, to do it where it benefits their schedules with an online platform and a summer residency, as well as experienced faculty, these faculty are qualified and they, as an invaluable resource to the students. It's evident through the information that students have told me as alumni, when they're requesting the program about different faculty that has stayed in contact with them throughout the tenure of their careers, that is something that definitely separates Saint Leo.

Greg Lindberg:
I see. Very nice.

Greg Lindberg:
Now, let's talk careers. If someone were to attain this doctoral degree, what are some specific types of jobs or positions that one would be qualified for?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Since the program is to prepare practitioners they're already in their field, they're in the classroom. They're just looking at moving up in a leadership perspective. So, any type of organizational leader, such as a principal, a school superintendent, a director or, like I said earlier, going back into higher education and inspiring the new generation of educators. It's any type of light that can be shed as an organizational leader or an administrator that these students can look forward to.

Greg Lindberg:
I see.

Greg Lindberg:
Now, I know there is some confusion as far as an EDD versus a PhD. And I think a PhD versus even a DBA or a DCJ.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Oh yeah.

Greg Lindberg:
If you could just talk about what actually separates the EDD from the PhD.

Ivy Pierrelus:
It's funny that you asked that, Greg, I hear that question all the time. And sometimes even with the prospective students, they'll call the EDD the PhD. So, they'll call and say, "I'm calling regarding my PhD file." And I'm like, "Yeah, it's the EDD file." But the PhD is a theory based and research doctoral degree, and the EDD is practitioner based. So, they're both experts in their fields. They both will be addressed as doctors. And they're both working in education, if you have a PhD in education. The only difference is that the practitioner based is just dealing with what you see in your current working environment, extrapolating those experiences, and putting them into your classroom. As opposed to the PhD where it has a lot of theoretical information. So, the research is more on theories, where the research for our program is on what you see. What you see is what you get.

Greg Lindberg:
Right, got you.

Greg Lindberg:
I know you did mention briefly dissertation, if you could just touch on that a little bit more, as far as the dissertation within this program. Since it is practitioner based, and maybe how that might be different from, say, a dissertation for a PhD or whatnot.

Ivy Pierrelus:
As far as the dissertation goes, the way that the program was formatted, as the students are working through their curriculum, they're pretty much building all of the resources that they're needing and the writing for their dissertation later on. So, as they're going through the program it's kind of like unbeknownst to them that they're already gathering, like a hunter gather, they're gathering all of this information throughout their curriculum, putting this aside for this assignment. And, in this course, they're doing this project. But, ultimately, it all works as the framework and the blueprint for what will be their dissertation.

Ivy Pierrelus:
And then, they'll have the faculty input that we'll be able to provide them with guidance to hone in on their subject matters and their research based off of what they have been writing, because it's practitioner based. And, as we both know, when you work in a field, there are certain things that you just hone in on, whether that is child safety, in the climate that we have now in education. Or maybe it's employees' incentives with teachers, making sure that they have the adequate pay. Or maybe it's more so regarding curriculum. So, whatever just that fire, that those instructors have, that will be evident throughout their body of work. And that will, ultimately, be honed in through the guidance of their professors for their dissertation.

Greg Lindberg:
Got you. So, it's almost like the dissertation is built in to the whole curriculum in general?

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. Wax on, wax off. Unbeknownst to them, they're working on it.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah, that's good. So, it's not like this big daunting thing that's coming up that you have to look forward to. And, in a way, you're working your way toward that throughout the whole process.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. And providing the different courses, the different turns that they take. If it's a course that's dealing more with research, or statistical data, all of that will be built in. So, when they are, ultimately, doing their applied studies, just putting all of their work together, and just pretty much writing their life away. They'll have all of the background needed in order to do that.

Greg Lindberg:
Right, I see.

Greg Lindberg:
That's definitely some good info. And I just wondered if you had anything else you wanted to add? I mean, it's certainly a wonderful program and we're really excited to have it as a pretty new program here at Saint Leo.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Oh, absolutely. It's so exciting to meet the students. I've had the opportunity to meet a couple in October that are pretty much almost completed with their EDS/EDD type of transition there. And to hear what these future educators want to do, not only in their school districts, but for education as a sector, I'm excited about it. I'm encouraged about it because it makes me feel that these individuals truly have a passion for it. And our platform provides that for them.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. That's very well said. And I know, I feel like in this day and age teachers and education gets a bad rap. And people say, "Oh education is not as good as maybe it was years ago." And so, for students and graduates of this program to be able to make a positive impact is such a wonderful thing just in our society in general.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely. I even have a testimonial. I spoke to an individual who's interested in the EDD program. She works with the school district pretty high up where she does the hiring. And she said, her best teachers have come from Saint Leo University. And when she said that, I was like, "Wow, that is a great testament." I was like, "Are you an alumni?" She said, "No, but I know what you guys produce." And that's why she was interested in the doctoral programs. I was like, "What a great testament that our students are leaving impressions such as that in their communities.

Greg Lindberg:
That is very wonderful to hear. And I think it speaks to Saint Leo's, like we were talking about the faculty earlier, just having that one-on-one connection. And then, the student, the graduate, being able to take that experience they had here at Saint Leo, and then pass it on in their own careers.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Absolutely.

Greg Lindberg:
All right. Well, I definitely appreciate your time and thank you so much, Ivy, for joining me here on the Saint Leo 360 podcast.

Ivy Pierrelus:
Thank you Greg for having me, it was a pleasure.

Speaker 1:
To hear more episodes of the Saint Leo 360 podcast, visit saintleo.edu/podcast. To learn more about Saint Leo's programs and services call 877-622-2009 or visit saintleo.edu.

Episode Summary

  • Conversation with Graduate enrollment counselor Ivy Pierrelus
  • Why Saint Leo launched this unique Doctor of Education program
  • Admission requirements
  • What the curriculum entails
  • How this doctoral education program benefits professionals advancing their careers to make an impact on K-12 learning outcomes

Links & Resources

Learn more about Saint Leo University’s Doctor of Education program.

pursue education degree

Recent Episodes

Subscribe to Email Updates

Request more information