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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 Thirty: Reimagining the Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) as a Catalyst for Social Change

← 402 | 403 → CHAPTER THIRTY


The revolutionaries thought that a frontal assault could accelerate the switch from the present to the future, from black to white, from hell to heaven. The alternative is to approach problems at a tangent. That is a poet’s way, and perhaps now we prefer a poet’s way, to find our way around problems, to seek hybrids, alliances of opposites, impure compromises, and to be wary of the human brain’s love of coherence when impure compromises may serve us best.


The academic enterprise faces a bewildering array of stakeholder demands, including greater access, cutting-edge scientific research, regional economic development, workforce preparation, and accountability. At the same time, colleges and universities are expected to reduce costs, increase faculty productivity, hold the line on tuition, generate revenues from new sources, tap into emerging global markets, leverage the latest technologies, and realize greater efficiencies, all while providing peak learning experiences for diverse students in a climate of heightened scrutiny and diminished autonomy. External—and occasionally even internal—calls for a radically different business model grow more frequent and insistent, almost by the day (see, for example, Christensen, Horn, Caldera, & Soares, 2011; Lumina Foundation, 2013).

These and related pressures are not unique to higher education; they are, in fact, expressions of broader social issues and challenges, ones that confront other ← 403 | 404 → societal sectors—business, government, and nonprofits—with accelerating force. Classic “wicked problems” (Rittel & Webber, 1973), or meta-problems...

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