An Unexpected Affordance of Program Design for Dissertation Writing During COVID-19: The Embedded Dissertation

  • Sarah Capello Judson University
  • Mellissa Gyimah-Concepcion Judson University
  • Victoria Vandover Billimack Judson University
Keywords: education doctorate, dissertation writing, program design, COVID-19

Abstract

Purpose: This paper describes how an embedded dissertation program design feature supported two cohorts of EdD dissertators and helped them make consistent progress toward and eventually complete their dissertation milestones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we detail the work, challenges, and results of EdD students’ efforts toward their milestones and offer perspectives on the same topics for EdD faculty who are teaching dissertation writing courses or supporting dissertators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conceptual Argument: This paper argues that an existing program design feature, the embedded dissertation, provided unexpected affordances for EdD dissertators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it acted as a scaffold for dissertators to make small but consistent steps forward on their dissertation milestones despite the significant challenges they faced both as practitioners and as students during the pandemic.

Implications for Research: In sharing these experiences, we hope to: (a) offer a contribution to the literature on the intersection of program design and dissertation writing, (b) proffer a program design structure that was successful in moving dissertators forward during COVID-19, and (c) document the lived experiences of EdD dissertators and faculty in this unprecedented, historical moment.

Author Biographies

Sarah Capello, Judson University

Assistant Professor

Division of Education

 

Mellissa Gyimah-Concepcion, Judson University
Assistant Professor of Literacy
Victoria Vandover Billimack, Judson University

Adjunct Professor of Literacy

Division of Education

References

Aitchison, C. (2009). Writing groups for doctoral education. Studies in Higher Education, 34(8), 905-916. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070902785580

Capello, S. A. (2020). Leveraging PhD students to support EdD dissertation writing. Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice, 5(3), 8-13. https://doi.org/10.5195/ie.2020.110

Bawa, P. (2016). Retention in online courses: Exploring issues and solutions-A literature review. SageOpen, 6(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621777

Bowen, W., & Rudenstine, N. (1992). In pursuit of the Ph.D. Princeton University Press.

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. (2019). The CPED framework. Retrieved from https://www.cpedinitiative.org/the-framework

Cassuto, L. (2013). Ph.D. attrition: How much is too much? The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/PhD-Attrition-How-Much-Is/140045

Crossman, J. M., & Kite, S. L. (2012). Facilitated improved writing among students through directed peer review. Active Learning in Higher Education, 13(3), 219-229. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787412452980

Council of Graduate Schools. (2012). Attrition and completion. Retrieved from http://cgsnet.org/attrition-and-completion

Ferguson, T. (2009). The ‘write’ skills and more: A thesis writing group for doctoral students. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 33(2), 285-297. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098260902734968

Hochschild, A. (1983/2012). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling (2nd ed.). University of California Press.

Levine, A. (2005). Educating school leaders. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Maher, D., Seaton, L., McMullen, C., Fitzgerald, T., Otsuji, E., & Lee, A. (2008). “Becoming and being writers”: The experiences of doctoral students in writing groups. Studies in Continuing Education, 30(3), 263-275. https://doi.org/10.1080/01580370802439870

Nettles, M. T., & Millett, C. M. (2006). Three magic letters: Getting to Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Padilla, M. A., & Thompson, J. N. (2016). Burning out faculty at doctoral research universities. Stress and Health, 32, 551-558. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2661

Perry, J. A. (2015). The Carnegie project on the education doctorate. Change, The Magazine of Higher Learning, 47(3), 56-61. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2015.1040712

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A., Holmes, J., & Stephens, J. S. (2019). Identifying significant personal and program factors that predict online EdD students’ program integration. Online Learning Journal, 23(4), 313-335. http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i4.1579

Rose, M., & McClafferty, K. A. (2001). A call for the teaching of writing in graduate education. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 27-33. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X030002027

Salee, M., Hallett, R., & Tierney, W. (2011). Teaching writing in graduate school. College Teaching, 59, 66-72. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2010.511315

Schulman, L. S., Golde, C. M., Bueschel, A. C., Garabedian, K. J. (2006). Reclaiming education’s doctorates: A critique and a proposal. Educational Researcher, 35(3), 25-32. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X035003025

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of candidate attrition (2nd ed.). The University of Chicago Press.

Published
2021-04-30
How to Cite
Capello, S., Gyimah-Concepcion, M., & Billimack, V. V. (2021). An Unexpected Affordance of Program Design for Dissertation Writing During COVID-19: The Embedded Dissertation. Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice, 6(2), 16–20. https://doi.org/10.5195/ie.2021.163