CARNEGIE NETWORK ON THE
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE DOCTORATE
CARNEGIE INITIATIVE on the DOCTORATE (CID)
Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CUIN)
Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies (ELCS)
Department of Educational Psychology (EPSY)
College of Education
University of Houston
November 27, 2006
Juanita V Copley
Chair and Professor,
Curriculum and Instruction
Chair, Educational Psychology
Director, Institutional Effectiveness and Outreach
Summary of Project
Three departments, Curriculum and Instruction (CUIN), Educational Leadership and
Cultural Studies (ELCS), and Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the
University of Houston propose to engage in a 3-5 year effort to strengthen doctoral
education with a focus on professional practice. Each of the three departments has
experienced significant success with long-standing existing doctoral programs. Indeed,
each of the three departments has recently engaged in extensive on-going reform efforts
that focus on the needs of the school districts and community colleges in Houston and its
surrounding area. The University of Houston’s diverse, urban setting would make it
uniquely qualified to collaborate with other institutions to define and describe a new
Professional Practice Doctorate. While differentiated doctoral programs have been the
norm in the respective departments, the notion of a collaborative college-wide
Professional Practice Doctorate with differentiated areas of emphasis also has appeal.
Our proposed plan of action includes a needs assessment of doctoral expertise necessary
in our surrounding urban community and the continued discussions between members
from the USC and Vanderbilt programs and our faculty. We have strong support for this
initiative from our university, our college administration, and the faculty. The College of
Education also is fortunate to have the technological support necessary to initiate and
support this proposal.
Education School Demographic Description
Situated in one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation, the University of
Houston is an urban university and the most ethnically diverse research institution in the
United States. The College of Education reflects that diversity, producing more Hispanic
doctorates than any other College over the past 10 years. Because of our unique
situation, the University of Houston has an invaluable opportunity to educate some of the
country’s most underserved and underrepresented student populations. UH enrolled
35,344 students for the fall 2005 semester, 26,959 of them undergraduates, and is
designated a Minority-Serving Institution (MI).
There are four academic departments in the College of Education. This proposal is for
faculty members in three of the departments: Curriculum and Instruction (CUIN),
Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies (ELCS), and Educational Psychology.
Currently, two of these departments (CUIN and ELCS) grant a doctorate in education
(EdD) using traditional models and specifically targeting educational leaders as
principals, curricular and instructional leaders, teacher educators, and administrators; one
of these departments grants doctorates of philosophy (PhD) in Counseling Psychology,
Educational Psychology and Individual Differences, and School Psychology and a
doctorate of education (EdD) in special education. Currently, the Ed.D. in Special
Education is in moratorium while the focus of the degree, coursework, and practical
expectations are reviewed. This program has graduated only one individual with an
Ed.D. in the past 5 years and only one student is currently enrolled in the program.
Clearly there is a need to support students with disabilities in America’s public schools.
We initially thought that a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Individual Differences
might meet this need. However, the nature of the Ph.D.s in the department is research
oriented and focuses on basic science. The department is reviewing the need for a more
applied practitioner degree.
Over the past five years the following Ed.D. graduation rates have been noted in two of
Doctorate of Education
2000-01 27 2000-01 21
2001-02 19 2001-02 14
2002-03 18 2002-03 17
2003-04 10 2003-04 22
2004-05 18 2004-05 8
2005-06 12 2005-06 5
Total 104 Total 87
During the current academic year (2006-2007), the Curriculum and Instruction
Department has more than 171 active doctoral students and 27 faculty members who
support the doctoral program; the Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies
Department has 67 doctoral students and 9 faculty members who support the doctoral
program; and, the Department of Educational Psychology has 157 doctoral students
(Ph.D.) and 19 faculty members who support the doctoral programs.
The students in CUIN and ELCS are unique. Most of them are focused on the needs of
the urban community and work full time in the Houston area in educational settings. In
addition, the majority of these doctoral students work part or full-time off campus and
take 6 hours or less per semester for most of their degree plan. In most cases, they are
only involved full-time on campus during their residency over three summer semesters.
Conversely, the students in EPSY are focused on basic science research, counseling
psychology, and systems change in schools. In most cases, they are full-time students
who work full-time (20 hours per week) on campus. Consequently, individuals who
work in full-time in public schools and respond to the needs of students with disabilities
often find it difficult to participate in a full-time doctoral program that prepares them as
applied practitioners who use evidence-based practice to respond to the needs of students
Our faculty is active internationally (Asian American Study Center), nationally
(National Center for Hispanic Student Success, Department of Education grants for early
childhood education and mathematics/science education, four national history grants),
state-wide (established doctoral cohort located at University of Texas at Brownsville and
Texas Southmost College and Teach Houston grant for mathematics education), and at
the city level (a partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine to provide education
graduate degrees for medical personnel; assessment and evaluation opportunities at Texas
Children’s Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Veteran’s Affairs, and
Baylor College of Medicine, and the Teacher Center partnership with more than 30 area
school districts, including Houston Independent School District). Our departments
include an extensive research faculty with a wide range of expertise related to teaching.
In fact, three of the top ten researchers in the University of Houston were from the
College of Education over the past three years. Currently, the departments have
generated more than $8 million in grants in the past couple of years. Most, if not all, of
the grants obtained in the departments are training grants that not only require training of
teachers and leaders in education but research on the change process or the interventions
Current Doctoral Offerings leading to EdD
Currently, there are two doctoral degrees offered in the two of the three departments (as
stated previously, the EdD in Special Education has been in moratorium): an EdD in
Curriculum and Instruction and an EdD in Educational Leadership. Both degrees are 66
hours including dissertation, with established core classes of 21 hours. The required 21
semester hours include a minimum of 3 semester hours in Social, Historical and
Philosophical Foundations, 3 semester hours in Psychological Foundations and 15
semester hours of approved courses in research methods. In addition, all students
complete and defend a candidacy paper before they are eligible to take comprehensive
exams and defend their proposal and dissertation.
In Curriculum and Instruction, the student receives a doctorate in Curriculum and
Instruction; however, there are thirteen possible areas of emphasis. These areas of
emphasis are content focused with specific professors aligned to each area. In six of the
areas, fewer than 3 faculty members are involved. In general, the purpose of the
doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction is to prepare outstanding leaders and teacher
educators in the specific area of emphasis. The doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction
lead to a wide variety of positions: university faculty members, curriculum developers,
leadership roles in regional service centers, state departments of education, and school
systems, supervisors, and educational consultants for museums, school districts, zoos,
and a variety of educational settings. Students are admitted into the program three times
a year and generally progress through the program at an individual pace.
The doctoral program in Educational Leadership prepares educational leaders with the
ability to apply conceptual knowledge to problems of practice. The program addresses
policies and practices of strategic, instructional, organizational, and community
leadership. A cohort of about twenty students interested in educational leadership in both
P-12 and post-secondary settings are admitted once a year to begin studies during the fall
term. From the program's onset, group and individual assignments are guided by and
structured within a belief in learning communities. This collaborative environment offers
students a supportive setting to enhance their leadership potential. Students are required
to take six hours per semester, including the summer term, and move through their
graduate studies as a group in the "college core" and "leadership core".
Recent (On-going) Education School Efforts to Reform or Renew
Recently, the doctoral programs in all three departments have been involved in a review
process for change and renewal. In general, our programs have relied more on tradition
than on a shared vision of the purpose of doctoral education. Due to faculty retirements
or relocation, funding sources, our continuing search for quality, and the changing
demographics of our community, this review process has been necessary. Over the past
three years, the departments have worked independently in this endeavor; however, more
recently, conversations between the departments have been initiated to help share
resources and work on collaborative research opportunities – both funded and unfunded.
A list of our recent and on-going efforts is detailed.
Major revision of doctoral programs (ELCS) from large individual admissions to
smaller cohorts admissions
Beginning discussions about quality doctoral programs in CUIN.
Intensification of the annual review of doctoral students in EPSY. Annual
reviews in all EPSY programs continued.
Decision to put the EdD in Special Education into moratorium since students were
not graduating from the program and were not enrolling in the manner intended.
Decision to absorb an undergraduate program into EPSY to help support more
Review of doctoral students and their progress in the program (ELCS). Records
were updated and non-active students were dropped from the program.
Retreat for EPSY Individual Differences faculty to review doctoral program
content. This resulted in a new PhD handbook and more specific course
Discussion and retreat for faculty (CUIN) regarding issues of quality doctoral
programs and the possibility of offering a PhD rather than an EdD. It was decided
that the CUIN program aligns most clearly with the practical goals of an EdD.
Funding for Graduate Assistants expanded to 35 to support various program
Funding for Graduate Assistants expanded to include 40 CUIN doctoral students
as coordinators and advisors for the undergraduate teacher education program.
Review of doctoral students and their progress in the program (CUIN). Records
were updated and non-active students were dropped from the program.
Recommendation and initiation of both a research and practiced-based internship
for all doctoral students in CUIN.
Discussion initiated to regrouping of the 13 areas of emphases (CUIN) to four
general groups for the purposes of research grants, doctoral advising and
dissertation teams. The four groups initiated were: 1) Science and Mathematics
Education, 2) Teacher Education, 3) Studies in Culture and Society, and 4)
Literature, Language, and Reading Education. Each group had specific
methodologists and technology experts assigned to their groups.
Inception of a national search for a Chair of ELCS.
A doctoral review plan was designed and initiated for all CUIN doctoral students.
A PhD in School Psychology was added to the offerings in EPSY.
Discussion continued regarding the regrouping of the 13 areas of emphases
(CUIN). Two grants were applied for and received for three of these areas.
A doctoral review plan for all individual students was implemented to be
completed on an annual basis (CUIN and ELCS).
Discussion in the College Administration Team concerning the future of doctoral
education and the initiatives proposed in the CADREI meetings.
A review of doctoral programs and outcomes for our analysis of Institutional
Effectiveness (CUIN, ELCS, and EPSY).
Continued analysis of doctoral programs, outcomes and effectiveness (CUIN,
ELCS, and EPSY)
Decision to implement annual online doctoral review process (web-based) for
each of the three departments.
Two faculty retreats were held (ELCS) to discuss and review current doctoral
Three additional faculty positions in ELCS have been discussed to support
potential for an increased research agenda.
Discussions begun regarding the quality of dissertations in CUIN and the needs of
our doctoral students.
Tracking of students who complete doctorates in CUIN, ELCS, and EPSY.
Invitations to specialists from the University of Southern California and
Vanderbilt regarding their professional EdD programs. Associate Dean David
Marsh from USC has agreed to come during the spring, 2007 semester.
Discussion between faculty leadership regarding common and differentiated goals
of doctoral programs across the three departments. A major emphasis on
professional attributes across all programs, undergraduate and graduate for
professionals who will work in public schools.
Alternative suggestions for the candidacy paper explored (CUIN).
Proposed Plan of Action
We would be delighted to expand our conversations and commit resources to exploration
of the goal of a Professional Practice Doctorate. Based on a review of our current
programs, our unique educational setting, and the impetus of ideas proposed by CID, the
faculty members and administration are committed to our participation and cooperation
with other doctoral-granting institutions. The self-study and change processes are
initiatives that we have already begun; we would be excited to continue the process with
the knowledge and expertise of others in similar situations.
We propose the following plan of action:
A needs assessment of the surrounding educational community for the doctoral
expertise necessary to implement and support their programs.
A series of monthly discussions/retreats for faculty members concerning ideas for
Professional Practice Doctorates. These discussions will begin with our invited
presenters from USC and Vanderbilt and can include all faculty members from
the three departments. In addition, selected essays from the 2006 publication,
Envisioning the future of doctoral education: Preparing stewards of the
discipline, will provide some insights for our discussions. Many of these
discussions will occur via the internet and be supported by our strong technology
Different suggestions for the candidacy paper outlined and piloted in departments.
These suggestions could become the first list of “capstone experiences” for the
Professional Practice Doctorate and be used to replace the traditional doctorate.
These experiences could include needs analysis, review of intervention literature,
plans for change, critical analyses of district programs, and assessment and testing
An analysis of our current field-based educational sites and their potential as
“laboratories of practice.”
A review of our current core requirements and the suggestion of a new or revised
core specific to the Professional Practice Doctorate. These may include: program
evaluation, instructional theory and practice, and specific courses on change
theory and practice.
Naturally, all of these suggestions could not be accomplished this first year. However,
we look forward to moving from largely segmented, isolated doctoral programs to a more
practice-based set of differentiated opportunities that cull the best from the varieties of
expertise that Houston has to offer. Economies of scales can be generated when we
review our overlapping efforts and identify what we have in common; excellence can be
generated when we identify what differentiates us and provide ourselves with the time
and energy to focus on our uniqueness. Our intent is to integrate faculty expertise,
community needs, rigorous requirements, and practical experiences and knowledge of
urban educational settings. To this end, the first two items in the list, 1) a needs
assessment of our educational community and 2) enlarging our network of discussions
will be our priorities for the first year.
The College of Education has outstanding technological support. Many of our
conferences or discussions can be held “face-to-face” across great distances with the
technology equipment and support we have within the departments. In addition, the
Executive Dean’s office and the department offices have and will provide financial
support for this initiative. The University of Houston has extensive library resources that
support our instruction and research. We have also managed to increase the number (and
dollar value) of graduate student appointments (particularly at the doctoral level) within
the departments. The city of Houston is the fourth largest in the nation; it provides more
than half of the energy consumed in the United States; it will continue as a minority-
majority city; Spanish will be the language spoken by more than half of the students who
are enrolled in Houston-area public schools by 2015; and, the needs of the educational
institutions in a city that anticipates an increase of over 750,000 in population – many
who are economically disadvantaged – provides a rich incubator for ideas, initiatives and
solutions that must be generated to fuel the US economy in the decades to come. The
College of Education at the University of Houston is poised to provide the educational
leadership at the doctoral level that this city needs.