Taft Doctor of Education Graduate Interview
Taft University Alumn and school superintendent Louise Bennicoff-Nan, talks with The School Administrator about her experiences as she earned her Ed.D. degree at a distance. The following excerpts are from the September 2010 issue of The School Administrator magazine, published by the American Association of School Administrators.
I chose distance education for my doctoral program because at the time I was a single parent of a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old. Some of my friends in school administration were enrolled in a program meeting Friday nights and Saturdays every other weekend at a university in San Francisco, and they encouraged me to join them, but I could not see myself allowing two teenagers to be home alone and left to their own devices overnight.
I made the right choice, because during my participation in an alternative graduate program, they grew into successful young adults. I set the expectation for college-level work in my home, which they successfully followed. Now 26 and 28, both are well-educated professionals, and I am grateful that distance learning gave me the opportunity to meet my academic goals while continuing to be a good parent.
While I missed the interaction of classmates during my graduate courses, the advantage of having so much reading, independent research and writing in each course was apparent when it was time to do my dissertation, which I opted to do on computer-adaptive testing. I was well-prepared. I found my preparation to stand in stark contrast to the experiences of numerous colleagues, who went through traditional doctoral programs and then were unprepared or unmotivated to do a dissertation and thus never completed their degrees.
I had a chance to participate in a full doctoral experience, including the comprehensive exam, a traditional dissertation and the defense in front of a committee. While my program was academically strong, my instructors’ practical experience left me well-suited to be successful in the superintendency, which I attained in just over a year after completing my degree.
Read the full article here: http://www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx?id=16376.