UI joins the Carnegie Project for its Education Doctorate consortium

The University of Iowa has joined the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate to learn and grow from other institutions that offer the corresponding degree.


Raquele Decker

Photograph of Megan McVancel taken by Raquele Decker on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

The University of Iowa recently joined a consortium to enhance its education doctorate, which is typically obtained by those planning to serve as a school-district superintendent or a higher-education administrator.

The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate consortium, in which the UI now participates, aims to enhance its Ed.D. program and learn from other institutions with a similar degree program. 

The UI began offering an Ed.D. after approval by the state Board of Regents in November 2017. The degree focuses on educational policy and leadership studies and requires students to take 75 credit hours, said Megan McVancel, academic clinical program-management coordinator in the College of Education. 

A cohort model requires that students go through the core courses of the program as a group, McVancel said. The degree is a professional doctorate for people in administrative positions in K-12 and higher education, she said.

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“They have real-life experience and real-life problems with things that are happening in education,” McVancel said. “Part of the idea is they are working professionals, so they’re going to learn a lot from each other’s experience.” 

The degree brings together both higher education and K-12 aspects of the College of Education programs, she added. 

The primary difference between the Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs is that a Ph.D. teaches students to be researchers or faculty at a research institution, McVancel said. The Ed.D. trains people to do work in education, she said.

Students in the program can pursue either an educational-leadership track or a higher-education and student-affairs track, UI education Associate Professor Cassie Barnhardt said. Barnhardt will teach courses specifically covering higher education and student affairs. 

“Our program is focused on policy and leadership, and we’re interested in preparing the most effective, highly qualified individuals into our educational settings,” Barnhardt said. 

The degree was founded on the basis that the UI already has the resources and courses available for students, Barnhardt said. The college decided to bring all of those aspects together to create the degree, she said, giving students the option to pursue something different. 

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Carnegie Project on Doctorate Education Executive Director Jill Perry said there are 115 institutions involved with the project, and the goal is to distinguish between an Ed.D. and Ph.D. At the beginning of the project, she said, the organization worked to create guidelines for institutions offering an Ed.D.

The project is not a conference organization, Perry said, but a professional-development organization. The institutions can share and learn from peers in the project to better the design of the program and the courses it offers, she added.

Currently, the project hosts a three-day event to bring together institution administrators, but the organization is working on creating a communal space for institutions to connect online, Perry said. 

“There’s not a one size fits all model. There’s a framework that will guide the design so that each institution can adhere to what their students need, as well as their campus regulations,” she said.