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2010-09, Educational Leadership Doctoral Program Off to a Strong Start

Candidates mingle at the Doctoral ReceptionIn June 2010, Manhattanville College received approval from the Board of Regents of New York State to offer its first doctoral program, an Ed.D program in Educational Leadership. The first cohort, in September 2010, brought together 12 area educational leaders. Now a year later, the program has nearly 30 exceptional students in three cohorts.

"When you start with successful students it is easier to be successful," Dr. Steve Caldas, a professor in the Ed.D program, said.

The Ed.D program is designed to meet the needs of mid-career professionals who already have leadership experience in public or private schools, in community programs, in governmental agencies, or in non-governmental organizations with major education initiatives. It has attracted an array of local candidates, all working towards continuing their education and furthering their knowledge in the field.

"I knew I was looking for an opportunity to expand my experiences, build upon my knowledge and participate in a cohort-type model with colleagues that were like-minded," Adam Van Der Stuyf, a principal at an alternative area high school and a first semester Ed.D candidate, said.

doctoral reception2Many students came to the Manhattanville program from the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Future School Leaders Academy having just finished accelerated masters, eager for more knowledge.

Scott Wynne, a member of Cohort 1, is a building-level leader who has never left school. He's continued his education from high school through college, two masters and now at the doctorate level, Wynne is looking to take on a dissertation that will allow him to continue his lifelong learning journey.

"I've always believed in the concept of lifelong learning. It's something that I have always felt was important from a young age," he said. "To be able to look at a concept for a dissertation and believe that it's a topic that I can continue learning throughout my career, I've selected the concept of school climate looking at it in terms of student achievement."

He went on to say, "I think that at any level within the public school system being able to use that research and continue that learning and applying it in the field has always been something that jumped out at me as a strong possibility."

Candidates Mingle at the Doctoral ReceptionThe candidates in the program are all working educational leaders. With this in mind, the program tries to schedule its classes in tune with the lifestyles of its students. In the fall and spring semesters, classes are held at the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown; during the summer candidates come to Manhattanville. The class schedule is also set up around the public school schedule instead of the college semester schedule. Candidates meet after school hours one day a week for five hours. Each cohort has class on a different day of the week.

The cohorts, large and small, are close-knit and learn together as they go through the rigorous 59-credit program.

"The support that we have for each other and the support that we get from the professors, for me it's just beyond what I have ever experienced in a program," Monique Reilly, who also completed her MPS at Manhattanville, said.

Dr. Yiping Wan, Director of the ProgramThe professors and students in this new program are growing together as the Ed.D program at Manhattanville develops into its own.

"There's a partnership in the learning," Lori Roberts, assistant principal at Yorktown High School and member of Cohort 3, said. "There's a partnership between the professors and the doctoral students. They really value your thinking as a learner. They are such great role models in terms of how they are always evolving and their eagerness to learn really has pushed us to think further. What we are learning in class we are applying it day to day in building leadership. You are learning and practicing in tandem and it's really powerful."