Academic journal article Quarterly Review of Distance Education

BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE A PROFESSOR! the Innovations of an Online Practitioner Doctorate Focused on Educational Technology Leadership

Academic journal article Quarterly Review of Distance Education

BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE A PROFESSOR! the Innovations of an Online Practitioner Doctorate Focused on Educational Technology Leadership

Article excerpt


Is there a need for an innovative doctorate in educational technology for people who do not want to be a professor? What about an innovative doctorate in educational technology leadership? What about an online practitionerbased program? These are questions that were raised by Morehead State University, a Midwestern regional university, 6 years ago when development began on its first institutional doctoral program, the doctor of education (EdD) in educational leadership, with a track in educational technology leadership. There are several institutions throughout the United States that offer online doctoral programs in educational technology and some institutions are offering practitioner-based EdD programs, but few are combining both of these types of programs. This article describes the development of an innovative online doctoral program in educational technology leadership. It is designed to tell the story of how Morehead State University went through the process of developing its first doctoral program.

Originally, this story was presented by Miller and Curry (2013) at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Annual Convention, but there was still a need to move the story toward a wider audience to detail the development process and to provide insights to those considering the development of similar programs in the future. The telling of MSU's story of developing its first doctoral program was a specific recommendation made by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reviewers during the accreditation site visit after MSU received initial approval for substantive change to become a Level 5 institution (a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools designation for institutions offering three or fewer doctorate degrees). This article will focus upon the initial development of the program and how it was structured with a specific focus on being a practitioner doctorate, rather than being a university faculty preparation program. Additionally, the article will address issues the program has faced such as geographic issues, rigor, policies and procedures, faculty resistance, and the management of expectations. While there have been several issues experienced along the way, there have also been achievements made, particularly in relation to student engagement within the field.


In 2008 Morehead State University (MSU), a Midwestern regional university located in eastern Kentucky, was given the opportunity to develop its first doctoral program. Previously only the research-based doctoral institutions in Kentucky such as the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville were authorized as public institutions to provide doctoral programs. The caveat by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education for allowing regional universities such as MSU was that it must be an advanced practice educational doctorate (EdD) (Programs of State and Comprehensive Universities, 2012). There was a need for the advanced practice EdD as there had been little difference between the PhD and EdD programs in education within Kentucky previously. This was not a surprising discovery, as this lack of difference has been found in prior research occurring throughout the United States (e.g., Anderson, 1983). This new direction was in direct alignment with the ideals presented by Shulman, Golde, Bueschel, and Garabedian (2006) in discussing a need for reclaiming the EdD for the original intent of preparing advanced practitioners.

The EdD in educational leadership program was developed initially with two tracks that included P-12 administrative leadership and educational technology leadership. The purpose was to create a doctoral program for individuals who wanted to be educational leaders within their current work positions. As the program was being developed it was focused around a "north star" of providing all students an opportunity to leam within a culture of high expectations (Barnett, Miller, & Abell, 2009). …

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