Fontbonne established its flagship doctoral program — an Ed.D. in Collaborative High Impact Instruction — in the summer of 2018.
The program is based on a cohort model, with new students entering in groups of 10–12 annually each May/June and continuing together for three years. The first cohort of students will graduate in May 2021.
Students come from a variety of backgrounds, and the EdD program was designed to help educators in any setting advance their careers. Teachers in K-12 schools, higher education institutions or corporate environments benefit from the program’s diverse coursework and research opportunities.
Julie Demsko, a special education teacher with Special School District, is a member of the second cohort of Ed.D. students.
“I teach Social Emotional Learning at a large middle school, and my Problem of Practice in the Fontbonne Ed.D. Program directly relates to my profession,” Demsko says. “So my classes and my work continually impact one another.”
Classes are held synchronously via Zoom in the evenings to accommodate full-time work schedules. Due to each cohort’s small size, students are able to build strong connections to each other and to their instructors.
“It surprised me how close we are as a cohort,” says Jennifer Moore, a member of Cohort 1. “We have grown into an amazing support system working toward common professional goals.”
Fontbonne’s own Director of Academic Assessment, Janice Johnson, also decided to enroll in the program’s first cohort along with her daughter, Jennifer Moore. Since then, she has been able to pursue her interest in women in higher education leadership. (View Johnson’s poster “Mentorship Impact: Underrepresentation of Women in Higher Education Leadership.”)
“The faculty are invested in our success,” says Johnson. “They have not only challenged us and pushed us out of our comfort zones; they have also supported us and provided the encouragement and resources necessary for our success.”
The Ed.D. Program is built on a foundation of required coursework that covers topics ranging from research strategies and data literacy to interactive technology and universal design. Additionally, students choose an emphasis area that includes two courses customized to their focus area and problem of practice research.
Throughout the program, students are able to identify their own problems of practice and focus their research work in those areas.
“This is a great program for multiple professions,” says Ethan Kristek, a member of Cohort 2. “As a speech-language pathologist, the learning outcomes and research were able to translate across different disciplines, which allowed for deeper critical thinking.”
The goal of Fontbonne’s Ed.D. Program is to help students become more effective, collaborative and culturally responsive professionals.
“Knowing that I can make an impact, the EdD program has prepared me to be the kind of leader who is a responsible global citizen,” says Johnson. “Someone who thinks critically, acts ethically, and serves responsibly.”
You can view research projects from current Ed.D. students online here.