New England College (NEC) has expanded its offerings for its doctorate of education (EdD). The college, based in Henniker, launched a hybrid EdD program in 2011, which enables students to advance through a variety of online courses and residencies formed at the time of enrollment. This initial program focused primarily on leadership and administration in the student’s chosen area whether Pre-K through grade 12 or postsecondary education.
In contrast to the original hybrid program, NEC’s new EdD program, launched this past January, is delivered 100% online and is designed for a national audience. “The online program focuses on educational leadership across sectors, combining Pre-K through grade 12 and higher education into one group,” said Dr. Gavin Henning, professor of Higher Education at NEC. “And in response to the national conversation about racial justice, we have threaded an equity focus across the curriculum.”
“The courses absolutely prepare every student to be stronger practitioners,” said Dr. Michael Taberski, class of 2019. “The structure includes a perfect balance of in-person and online meetings, with time for students to complete their dissertations. The cohort model provides an incredible support system for students.” Taberski credits both the relevant content and the ultimate credential with helping him land his position as Vice President for Student and Campus Life at SUNY Geneseo.
Paige Fournier, class of 2021, is on track to graduate on time despite the challenges of juggling a family with three children, a career as a special educator, coursework, and her dissertation. “Although I knew the online component of the program would be beneficial for my busy lifestyle,” said Fournier, “I also knew that having the in-person residencies would provide the support system I needed to be successful. Residencies also provided opportunities for me to practice my presentation skills and become more confident in sharing my work in public.”
Fournier recently co-wrote a journal article with a fellow cohort member, and she will present the findings of her dissertation research at a conference this spring.
Students can choose the program delivery method and curriculum that fit best with their professional aspirations. Either way, according to Henning, there is one thing students can count on regardless of which program they choose: the opportunity to complete their dissertation proposal by the end of the first year. “Our students have said that one reason they chose our program is that they started their dissertations in their first course,” said Henning. “This not only reinforces the realistic timeline to completion in three years, but it also enables them to apply their learning immediately.”
NEC offers a January intake for the online program and a July intake for the original hybrid program. NEC’s hybrid EdD boasts strong on-time graduation rates, with 84.5% completing coursework and 62.3% graduating within three years.