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The Education Doctorate (Ed.D.)

Issues of Access, Diversity, Social Justice, and Community Leadership

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Edited By Virginia Stead

This first-of-its-kind text explores the Ed.D. program as a crucible for equitable higher education and community leadership. It was inspired in part by the Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate (CPED) and, more broadly, by widespread international interest in the power of the Ed.D. as a force for positive social change. The book’s range of cultural contexts and educational perspectives promises new insights and solutions for policy analysts, policy makers, executive administrators, faculty researchers, philanthropists, and policy beneficiaries.
In contrast to the traditional Ph.D., the Ed.D. typically attracts educational practitioners within school boards, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as standalone or internationally linked community associations. The greatest attraction of the Ed.D. is an assessment strategy that encourages graduate students to incorporate their own cultural and professional contexts into a capstone project instead of producing a classic dissertation.
This book features inclusive language, highlights everyday expressions from minoritized cultures, and clarifies new concepts to accommodate new scholars and English Language Learners. Readers will discover representative research on Ed.D. policy and practice from the United States, Canada, and a sprinkling of other countries. Renowned and emergent researchers represent multiple roles within the Ed.D. education process. Individual chapters contrast historical and contemporary issues, and raise awareness about many complexities and strategies that make the Ed.D. an ideal engine of professional empowerment and social justice leadership.
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Chapter Fifteen: The Authentic Ed.D. Program: Project-Based and Counter-Hegemonic

← 196 | 197 → CHAPTER FIFTEEN

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A number of challenges and controversies related to credibility, respect, access, goals, instruction, and curricula continue to plague the professional education doctorate (Ed.D.) in the United States. I contend that educational hegemony is significantly responsible for this situation, as it has resulted in a stifling of the degree’s most logical manifestation as the highest level of preparation for developing educational leaders and practitioners who want to make the world a better place. The degree is positioned to be a serious threat to the hegemons because of two ideas that are inherently part of the original intentions for it. The first is that motivated working adult professionals are to be relatively self-directed. The second is that programs would emphasize authentic, critical, real-life, praxis-oriented study, that is, project-based learning (PBL). They might produce graduates who know about the effects of neoliberalism on schools or would influence curriculum so that Helen Keller’s critique of capitalism and structural inequalities would at long last be studied. I suspect that such Ed.D. graduates would also be committed to education that promotes social/ecological justice and sustainability as part of their transformational objectives.

Hegemony is a slippery concept to grasp. Although the Italian researcher and political economist Antonio Gramsci (1971) is most associated with the term, I define it as “the process by which we learn to embrace enthusiastically a system of beliefs and practices that end up harming us and working to support the interests ← 197 | 198 → of others who have power over us” (Brookfield,...

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