PhD in Leadership and Change Program Overview
The PhD program curriculum and activities are based on three major underlying learning goals. The goals aim to engage students as reflective learners, reflective practitioners and reflective scholar/researchers.
By “reflective learner”, we refer to people who think deeply about their own learning needs, styles and goals within the context of both formal doctoral study as well as informal learning situations in their professional practice. The emphasis is to help students understand their role as a self-empowered learner, and to guide them in the process of constructing their doctoral study within the context of the program’s structure.
By “reflective practitioner,” we refer to people who think deeply about their own practice as a leader within the context of inclusive, ethical decision making and scholarly fields of study. Hence, not only will the conceptual issues of the core curriculum (leadership and organizational change, changing nature of the professions, and intercultural/global dynamics and societal change) be emphasized, so too will personal experiential issues dealing directly with leadership and, in particular, the ethical and moral issues which all leaders face as they make decisions and organize their institutions.
By “reflective scholar,” we refer to individuals who think deeply about the intellectual content and achieve mastery of relevant fields of knowledge while engaging with others in public forums. The emphasis here is on student learners becoming “public scholars” who think deeply on the content of the core curriculum and their own areas of professional expertise and being able to present their scholarly knowledge to others. By “reflective researcher” we refer to an individual’s exploration and production of knowledge in her/his field of expertise as well as in his/her ability to think critically about methods of inquiry and research.
While each of these goals can be discussed separately, the program views them as integrated within the working/learning life of individuals who desire to be leaders in their professions, as well as in their life as student learners in this program. We also expect that the graduates’ doctoral training will give them the capability to solve problems in more thoughtful ways as their conceptual knowledge informs their reflections on experience as well as by their ability to assess the relevance and quality of available scholarship and research. Further, we expect that many of the graduates will themselves contribute to scholarship in their professions as a result of their doctoral education.
In focusing on the development of reflective learners, practitioners, scholars and researchers, the program is naturally led to develop educational processes and activities that follow a pattern of focusing on the student learners’ experience (through the interaction with peers, faculty members/mentors-advisors and the subject matter being read and discussed), then reflecting on the meaning of that experience and finally acting/applying what they’ve learned to their work or living situations. This experience-reflection-action cycle is the core educational process of the program.