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The Education Doctorate (Ed.D.)

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


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 Twenty: An Examination of the Intersecting Identities of Female Ed.D. Students and Their Journeys of Persistence

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The purpose of this chapter is to discuss challenges specific to female Ed.D. students, given their intersecting roles and identities as females and scholars within the sociocultural context of academia. This chapter is motivated by research suggesting that a vital reason many women choose not to begin or persist in Ed.D. programs is that they experience conflict between their identities as females and emerging scholars—a conflict between “the enduring sense of who they are and who they want to become” (Cobb, 2004, p. 336). The stress of maintaining separate identities as scholars and females and their corresponding roles and responsibilities can cause motivational problems that lead to attrition (Lynch, 2008). The consequences of stress may also include choosing to deny aspects of the female identity. After presenting an overview of the nature of the Ed.D. degree and a theoretical foundation for identity, we examine tensions that females experience in the various stages of the Ed.D. as they negotiate their potentially conflicting identities as females and scholars within their social and academic contexts. Strategies for successfully negotiating multiple roles and identities leading to persistence as a candidate within an Ed.D. program are provided.

Women are accessing higher education at increasing rates and represent approximately 60% of the Ed.D. population (National Science Foundation, 2009). This trend is positive, but when compared to other disciplines, the outcomes for Ed.D. programs and the women pursuing doctorates are not as positive. While the average doctoral attrition rate across disciplines has hovered around...

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