In our online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program, students focus on “applied research”: that is, asking questions or “problem-posing” in organizational settings. These questions and this research culminates in a dissertation that reflects the student’s professional goals and interests and meets the standards provided by the program.
Dissertations are conducted by graduate students with the support of instructors, advisors and committee members, and a peer study group. Doctoral students will be asked to apply transformative leadership theory to inform their individual development, for decision-making in their organizations, and to demonstrate engagement as leaders in the greater community. These dissertations can be qualitative, quantitative, or a “mixed methods” approach, depending on the question and the setting.
Dissertation development takes place throughout the three-year program and is developed in five stages:
- Topic exploration that begins in the application essay.
- Development of a literature review that will be reviewed by a designated sub-group of the graduate curriculum committee during the second year.
- Successful completion of a dissertation proposal for presentation at the end of the second year of the program. The draft will include a statement of the problem to be studied, a literature review, and a proposed methodology.
- Completion of the data collection during the third year.
- Completion of a final dissertation that meets the standards provided by the program and reflects commonly accepted tenets of applied research. The final dissertation is presented to a committee using an online video conference service. After a successful presentation, a digital copy is uploaded to UNE’s digital repository, DUNE.
After completing all coursework and successfully presenting their dissertation, students are welcome to join our annual Commencement ceremony on our Portland, Maine campus in May.
Throughout the third year of the program, faculty advisors supervise a graduate cohort of four to six members to support drafting and revision of the dissertation proposal. These advisors provide oversight throughout the data collection and analysis process, and then support the completion of the dissertation. Cohorts meet online once each per month as a team and also one-to-one with their advisor and/or second committee member, and with a peer reviewer throughout EDU 814 through EDU 817 with frequent phone/video conferencing. Such regularly scheduled virtual meetings with the chair and full committee ensure that timely and satisfactory progress is made in order to present the finished product at the end of the academic year.
The faculty advisor serves as the lead instructor, the second committee member supports the advisor by providing consultation and editing of student writing. This two-person team is responsible for dissertation development. The third member is selected by the graduate student and serves as the site-based or local resource, and attends both the proposal and dissertation presentation.
Students’ lead advisor and secondary advisor will review all related work and support students’ development as a scholar. Each team makes different arrangements regarding “taking the lead” as first reader or methodologist, depending on the nature of the study and their expertise, and consultants are called upon as needed.
UNE Online’s distinct and dedicated student support specialists will continue to reach out to students each term as they have throughout the program. Student support specialists are excellent resources who assist students with administrative tasks related to their program and respond to any immediate concerns students may have along the way.
Do you have questions about the dissertation process or our 100% online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)?
If so, please reach out at (800) 994-2804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.