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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

May 12, 2011
Cheryl Reitan | Interim director | UMD Public Relations and Marketing | 218 726-8996 |
Joyce Strand | Director, Graduate Studies | Department of Education | 218-726-8182 |

First Doctoral Class from Education Program Offered Exclusively at UMD

UMD Doctoral StudentsUMD Doctoral Students
On May 12, 2011, 14 UMD graduates received doctoral degrees. Thirteen of these students are in the first cohort to graduate from the first doctoral degree offered exclusively on the UMD campus: the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree with a major in Teaching and Learning.

The Ed.D. is an applied degree for the professional development of pre-school to 12th grade teachers/school professionals, community college and university faculty, administrators, and professionals in other human service professions.

Director of graduate studies and head of the Department of Education, Joyce Strand said "the program is designed to produce scholarly practitioners. The program is heavily focused on research and field-based work."

Cindy Ryan, doctoral graduate in the program, has landed a tenure-track position as an assistant professor at Western Oregon University. "The journey to an Ed.D. has been wonderful, grueling, exhilarating, and terrifying at times. I am grateful for the encouragement we all received from one another through the cohort model . Our advisors and professors gave us their support," Ryan said.

She attributes her success to the use of a cohort system. "Utilizing a cohort model provided us the structure we needed to get through this process," Ryan said. "I am graduating as a different person compared to when I began the program four years ago. I am a researcher now and am more knowledgeable and ready to take on new challenges. It has been a great ride."

Strand believes Ryan's job search and hire has set the standard for graduates from this program. "Cindy's experience is the litmus test," Strand said. "You know the program is working if a student lands a tenure-track faculty position right after graduating."

Tom Beery, who is also graduating with the first cohort, received a Fulbright Scholarship to complete his doctoral work on a Swedish concept. He studied friluftsliv, a tradition of respect and care for the environment along with an active physical involvement with the natural world.

Brian McInnes, Director of the Center for Indigenous Knowledge Revitalization and the first candidate to defend a dissertation from the first cohort, will teach a course in the next cohort.

"The whole program has been a delight," Strand said. "The faculty have been involved and revitalized by working with doctoral students and it has affected the entire college. Students, faculty and staff in the education department and outside committee members across campus are motivated and energized by the high level of scholarly work."

Program Success
The first class of students remained in the program at a greater rate than most doctoral programs. After two years of coursework, students take preliminary exams. The average national graduation rate for students who have completed their preliminary exams is 50 percent. The current UMD graduating cohort had 20 students before the preliminary exams. After the exams, 13 were on track to graduate in four years and six additional students are still in the program.

The second cohort will take their preliminary exams in fall 2011. The third cohort begins summer 2011 and focuses on global indigenous education, culture, and language.

For more information on the program, visit

The Graduates' Dissertations

Lynn Amerman Goerdt
"Toward Critical Consciousness: Internationalized Social Work Education"

Tom Beery
"Nordic in Nature: Friluftsliv and Environmental Connectedness."

Brenda Fischer
"Using Data to Increase Student Achievement: A Case Study of Success in a Sanctioned School"

Shannon Godsey
"Student Perceptions of Professional Identity and Cultural Competence"

Suz Hoppe
"Transitioning from a Student to a Professional in Athletic Training:
A Phenomenological Review of Graduate Assistants/Fellows"

Trent Janezich
"The Community College Baccalaureate and Iron Range Engineering: Limiting Rural Brain Drain in Northeastern Minnesota by Offering a Hands-on Baccalaureate Degree on a Community College Campus"

Christopher Johnson
"Epistemology and Prospective Content-Area Teacher Candidates: Preparing for Teaching Adolescent Literacy"

Dana Luehr
"Organizational Perspectives on Online Programming Implementation in Three Traditional High Schools"

Brian McInnes
"Educator Perspectives on the Role of Culture in Ojibwe Language-Language Immersion: A Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Practice"

Rick Revoir
"Exploring Learning During a Business Ethics Simulation"

Cindy Ryan
"Head Start Teachers' Beliefs and Practices Related to Positive Teacher-Child Relationships in the Classroom"

Pamela Sarvela
"Being Aware of and Learning How to Navigate the Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR) Program: The Entrepreneurs' Perspectives"

Neil Witikko
"'I'll Get by with a Little Help from my Friends': Peer Response Groups in a Composition Classroom"

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