Getting to Maybe: Improving the Education Doctorate in an Era of Uncertainty


  • Harriette Thurber Rasmussen Fielding Graduate University



complexity, evolutionary knowledge, problem of practice, education doctorate


In an age of increasing complexity, particularly endeavors intended to address social justice, institutions of higher learning can be caught in the middle of the need for stability and responsiveness.  Using CPED principles as a guide, this essay argues for complexity as an essential lens to address social justice, problems of practice, and systematic inquiry that incorporates multiple frames and perspective.  It suggests specific tools to rethink approaches to foundational content and suggests a more central role of practitioner problems in doctoral coursework.

Author Biography

Harriette Thurber Rasmussen, Fielding Graduate University

Harriette Thurber Rasmussen, Ed.D. has spent the last two decades coaching educational leaders and their systems toward greater capacity. A member of the consultant cohort piloting an integration of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Harvard Business School, and the Kennedy School of Government for educational leaders, her practice is strongly influenced by frameworks and perspective from each institution and embodies cutting edge research around student learning, organizational effectiveness, and the socio-political aspects of executive leadership. She also served as a faculty member for the Coach Learning Program of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group and participated in the research and development of their systemic change framework. 

Dr. Rasmussen served on the working group to develop a new competency-based Masters in Digital Teaching and Learning for Fielding Graduate University and serves as a part-time lecturer for Northeastern University's doctor in education program.  Her interest and experience in virtual learning environments date back to the 1990’s when she served as the co-coordinator of the International Education and Resource Network’s (I*EARN) Pacific Northwest Center. One of the first digitally based networks enabling cross-cultural collaborative project-based learning opportunities for students and teachers, today I*EARN is found in 140 countries where more than 2 million youth engage in projects daily. She is a founding board member for Educurious Partners that features a technology-based platform to engage at-risk youth with project based learning and field experts around common core standards and has developed synchronous and asynchronous learning modules for Harvard University’s Programs in Professional Education. Dr. Rasmussen consults nationally around leadership, learning networks, organizational effectiveness, and community engagement. Her clients have included The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington State Board of Education, American Institutes for Research, and school districts ranging in size from 800 to 50,000.

A resident of Seattle, Dr. Rasmussen received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University. Her research interests include teacher efficacy, instructional coherence, adaptive leadership, strategic authority and accountability, organizational complexity, and adult development with an emphasis on learning networks. She is widely published in trade journals and was a contributing author to Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools.




How to Cite

Rasmussen, H. T. (2018). Getting to Maybe: Improving the Education Doctorate in an Era of Uncertainty. Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice, 3(2).



Themed Section