Doctoral Candidacy Approaching!
I'm about a day behind myself on all the due dates I'm facing, but since I'm tired, and my mind is racing so badly I'm not very productive, I thought I'd blog a bit.
This Thursday I have my comprehensive assessment for my doctorate. I've been working on the EdD in Learning and Leadership at UTC since Fall 2010. I'm in my last semester of coursework this summer (my courses finish the first week in August - two weeks!) And in our last semester, we also register for a "dissertation seminar," which is not actually a seminar at all, but a preparation for comps.
Our version of comps is a bit different than some other doctoral programs that I'm familiar with. Instead of either receiving research paper prompts in our major and minor fields, or being grilled by a committee on a number of books off of a reading list. Instead, our comps (usually short for "comprehensive exams" or "comprehensive assessment") focus on the seven competency areas of the doctoral program: learning, leadership, research, measurement, communication, organizational effectiveness, and technology and innovation. We write a critical reflection for each area, the result of which is a research paper synthesizing theory and professional practice in that competency. For each competency domain, we also put together a competency plan, which details our previous, current, and future experience with each competency with related artifacts to document actual competence. In addition to those seven critical reflections and seven competency plans we write a Critical Synthesis paper, a broader research that synthesizes all seven of the competency areas within a particular professional practice and experiential learning instances. Then there's the vision paper, which serves as the cover sheet for this portfolio of scholarly and practition-y goodness - in it, we address where we were when we started the program, where we are now, how our definitions of learning and leadership have changed over time, develop our own definitions (with, of course, appropriate nods to the literature) for learning and leadership, and detail how the doctorate and our work in the competency areas informs our practice, our career trajectory, and our future goals. All steeped in appropriate theory and discipline literature.
All of this is then organized and made available to a committee made up of your adisor and two other faculty in the program (chosen at random, from what I can tell), preferably online. (Happily, one of my colleagues in my cohort, who is on the same timeline as I am, created a template Google site that the program will be adopting, so I just grabbed that and uploaded my documents to it. Easy-peasy.) I added my CV, a brief description of my dissertation plans (we're not at prospectus stage yet), and the slides for Thursday's presentation-and-defense of the whole shebang. The committee requires the completed portfolio at least 10 business days in advance of the defense so they can read through it all and prepare.
A successful defense means I advance to doctoral candidacy, can call myself ABD, and get cracking on the dissertation.
Am I freaking the hell out about it? Oh, my, yes I am. My advisor has already reviewed all of my materials, and he generously spent June and the early part of July going back and forth with me about revisions; he thinks it is a strong showing. I hope so; we'll see. If you happen to look up on Thursday and see it's around 10:30am EST, please toss some good mojo my way.