Earning a terminal degree is the culmination of graduate studies and has historically served as the entry into a vocation as a professor at a college or university. Higher Education is seeing an unprecedented level of disruption that is making many students question the value of a college education. Hard questions about return on investment are posed now from students at all degree levels. With fewer opportunities in traditional faculty roles, what motivates graduate students to pursue a terminal degree like the Doctorate in Education at the University of New England?

The Doctorate in Educational Leadership at UNE is designed for mid-career professionals working in a number of different industries including Health Care, Public Service Agencies, and PK-12 Education among many others. The audience for this terminal degree is diverse and the online delivery appeals to a national audience. Recognizing that most of our students are NOT at the start of a career as a college professor, what do they see as the career enhancing aspects of earning an Ed.D? A recent survey of our alumni revealed the following themes that describe the career developing experiences they drew from pursuing their EdD at UNE.

Credibility

UNE Online alumni report that their degree has increased their credibility in their field.* Alumni describe their Ed.D. to have opened doors for them, legitimized their efforts, and in some cases increased their salary. The overwhelming sentiment expressed is that Alumni feel empowered by their degree and the research it represents.

*It is important to note that graduates work in a variety of fields including PK-12 Education, health care and public service agencies among others.

Knowledge and Skills

UNE Online graduates report gaining a deep knowledge based in the area of applied research.  In particular, graduates felt more prepared to lead initiatives founded on institutional data.

Confidence

UNE Online graduates describe having increased confidence in new or existing roles in their institutions. They describe being more inclined to offer to present on topics pertaining to their research and more comfortable taking the lead on projects. Graduates also describe finding new ways to use their research in their career. Because all Ed.D. students conduct a site study as part of their program there are myriad opportunities for putting research into practice.

The Doctorate in Education program at UNE Online focuses on Transformative Leadership and prepares students to transform self, organization, and community through focused, flexible study. Students become powerfully positioned to build allies with others striving for common outcomes as well as collaborate with individuals with divergent values and perspectives.

The exploration of these themes represents on-going research conducted by Erin Connor, Ph.D. (Program Manager for the Graduate Programs in Education at UNE) and Michelle Collay, Ph.D. (Faculty for the Graduate Programs in Education at UNE) in their efforts to build upon the success of the first cohorts of doctoral students.

If you’re interested in learning more about our Ed.D. program, visit http://go.une.edu/education/doctorate-program or email [email protected]