Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New doctoral program approved for U-M-Dearborn

A new doctorate in education degree program at U-M-Dearborn has been designed “to provide the citizens of southeastern Michigan with a program that is well-matched to the economic, social and political challenges that face our region.”

The program was approved by the Board of Regents Feb. 19.

“The need for an Ed.D. program with a metropolitan focus is great, and its development on our campus is an excellent fit with U-M-Dearborn’s mission,” says Paul Zionts, dean of the U-M-Dearborn School of Education. “There is a need in this area for a degree of this type in an institution like this.

“We are particularly well-positioned to develop and offer a high quality, accessible and affordable Ed.D. degree for working professionals in the greater metropolitan community,” Zionts says.

The program is targeted at school teachers and community college faculty members looking to broaden their skills and advance their careers.

“We have a genuine need for more highly skilled administrators in the schools and colleges in this region,” Zionts says. “And our program is designed for those who want to learn how to generate and apply research to some of the real-world challenges facing our communities.”

Students in the program will be required to complete 60 credit hours beyond a master’s degree. The capstone requirement is a research project focused on how to solve the problems facing the educational systems in this area.

A main difference between an Ed.D. degree and a Ph.D. is the focus on applied research. “Our program has been designed to produce graduates who can solve practical problems in a specific context,” Zionts says.

The real focus is on better learning outcomes for schoolchildren. “Everything we do has to funnel down to the benefit of children,” Zionts says. “This is about turning out great graduates who will go on to improve our schools, so that ultimately, children will benefit.”

Gail Luera, associate dean of the U-M-Dearborn School of Education, led the committee that developed the program proposal.

“We focused on three main areas that we believe are essential characteristics for the next generation of educational leaders,” Luera says. The three areas are community engagement, transformational leadership and scholarly practice.

“Engaged educational leaders build community partnerships that are responsive to the educational needs of the local community,” she says.

“Transformational leaders are able to make the connection between theory and practical problem-solving, and scholarly practitioners blend theory and practice,” Luera says. “Integrating these approaches will help our graduates understand and implement the best methods to address current issues in the educational environment in our region.”

The degree program approved by the regents was supported by school leaders across the metropolitan area, including Ernando Minghine, superintendent of the Westwood Community School District.

“I am sure that we recognize the need for quality educational leaders,” Minghine says. “This ‘local’ doctoral program means that our geographic area would have much better access to an administrative labor supply second to none.”

Applications will be available soon for the program, due to begin this fall. For more information, contact the dean’s office at the U-M-Dearborn School of Education at (313) 593-5090.