I read with interest the suggestion by Jeremiah Reedy, professor emeritus of classics at Macalester College, that the University should eliminate the doctorate of education degree program, based on the critique of programs leveled by Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia University.
Reedy’s critique suffers like Dr. Levine’s from the same weak analysis of such programs. It is ignorant of our program at Minnesota and draws its conclusion without any reference to our quality, success, faculty or the curriculum. I am disappointed that Reedy would construct an argument without learning about our program.
The Annenberg Foundation project that led to Levine’s comments did not include the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Ed.D. program in its analysis. While some Ed.D. programs are not as rigorous as ours, the same could be said of any academic program. We can speak only to our own program, the one Reedy proposes be eliminated.
Our program is highly selective and attracts only students who meet the criteria of the University’s Graduate School. In fact, we are sometimes criticized because we don’t serve more.
All of the Ed.D. courses are taught by college faculty members. In some cases, the Ed.D. students are enrolled in the same advanced classes as doctorate students and must meet the same standards. In their specialized course work, they must be able to draw connections between theory and their own and other’s experiences in the field, a rigorous contemplation of all aspects of education and its impact on everyone involved.
The program is distinctive from the doctorate in its focus on creating connections between theory and practice, and because the final dissertation project deals with a question related both to existing scholarly knowledge and a practical problem facing today’s schools. The criteria for what constitutes quality are identical from the doctorate. We welcome a real examination by anyone who is interested in how to design doctoral work that incorporates the goals of civic engagement and responsibility with research and scholarship.
Steven Yussen is dean of the College of Education and Human Development and Karen Seashore is professor of Educational Policy and Administration. Please send comments to [email protected]