Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership
In order to prepare for an Accreditation Review in Spring 2008, an external consultant, Dr. Dennis Shirley from Boston College, was asked to review all aspects of the program. His full report is located in the report to the Department of Higher Education for Fall 2007. He reviewed all program documents and held individual and group interviews with faculty members, students, community members, and university administrators. Among other comments, Dr. Shirley made the following two points:
As a professor of education who is well aware that one of the persistent criticisms of schools of education for decades has been that they are excessively theoretical and irrelevant to the concerns of teachers, principals, and superintendents, I found myself admiring the commitment, talent, and vision of the faculty and staff at WCSU who created and are sustaining the Instructional Leadership doctoral program.
Second, the collaborative nature of the instructional leadership doctoral program was evident throughout this site visit. Within WCSU, the program is viewed by students, faculty, and administrators to be internally coherent and well sequenced. Discussants held that the doctoral program is embedded in a broader, university-wide commitment to the improvement of public education that they find praiseworthy and worthy of emulation by other universities. Significantly, local educational leaders on the Advisory Board agreed, confirming that the doctoral program is meeting their needs for highly qualified teachers and administrators.
Dr. Shirley’s very positive assessment of the program is reinforced by the following student comments:
The excitement of working with classmates who are experienced practicing educators and faculty members who are dynamic and engaging challenges my thoughts and ideas about education. Frank LaBanca, Oxford Public Schools
This doctoral program enables me to not only be a stronger, more knowledgeable leader, but it also inspires me to be a better educator.
Joan McGettigan, New Canaan Public Schools
I have learned so much about myself as an educator and a leader through participation in this program. Nora Bennet, Ridgefield Public Schools
I have no regrets about choosing to participate in this challenging program.
Mike Obre, Danbury Public Schools
I came to WestConn’s Ed.D. Program for the education, but I am staying because of the inspiration. Lori Kolbusz, Norwalk Public Schools
The program’s fifth cohort has now matriculated, and members of three cohorts of students have successfully defended dissertations on a wide array of topics. Our students continue to win top awards in leadership at their schools and districts. A statement from a current student reflects the excellence students believe to be embedded in program experiences:
Choosing to pursue WestConn’s doctorate in Instructional Leadership has exceeded my expectations. The professors are supportive and have a wide range of professional experiences and teaching styles, which demonstrates the strength of diversity in a faculty. Through the challenging, yet manageable, curriculum, I have become a better teacher, a better critical thinker - especially with respect to what constitutes “educational research,” have gained a broader and more diverse understanding of education, and am inspired and encouraged by being a member of a cohort of educators that will transform our educational system. Kristy Zaleta, Cohort 4