Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's educational leadership doctoral degree program educates students during weekends

May 5, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Looking for weekend plans? Stephen F. Austin State University has the answer.

SFA's James I. Perkins College of Education offers a unique doctoral degree program in educational leadership on weekends to help full-time working individuals further their education.

Dr. Patrick Jenlink, coordinator of SFA's doctoral degree program in educational leadership, said SFA's program stands out because of its weekend and face-to-face delivery, two aspects Jenlink said are important to prospective students.

With more than 150 program graduates, SFA's program moves beyond the confines of an online or traditional program, Jenlink said.

"If you want to prepare for a future as an educational leader, a future that is yet to be written, consider selecting our program," Jenlink said. "If you are interested in a great learning experience unlike any that you have had, an experience that will prepare you for working in a field like educational leadership where the challenges of the next decade and beyond will be greater than the ones we currently face, this program will prepare you to meet those challenges head on."

Faculty members use a variety of instructional delivery methods, which bring students out of the classroom and place them in different learning experiences, Jenlink said. For example, SFA offers study abroad opportunities as well as activity-oriented experiences in East Texas such as ropes courses, canoeing and other field-based course activities that combine curriculum with experiential-learning opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to present research and professional papers at state, regional and national conferences.

Each summer the program admits between 10 to 17 students, which makes the student-to-faculty ratio four students to every doctoral faculty member.

"Another factor in our success is our student-to-faculty ratio, which we believe is very critical," Jenlink said. "This ratio provides for high-quality academic advisement and direct contact time for our students to meet their needs."

The program also uses a cohort model, meaning all the students enrolled in the program work through the classes together.

"The cohort members share a common identity as a cohort and find opportunity to engage academically and socially in forming community bonds," Jenlink said. "The power of a cohort model for delivery of the doctoral degree program is the sense of belonging that each doctoral student has with his/her cohort members."

In November 1996, Jenlink joined the SFA faculty and began working with Dr. Tom Franks, former dean of SFA's College of Education, and the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership faculty members to establish this program. SFA's program is designed with an emphasis on the education leader as a scholar-practitioner.

"The term scholar-practitioner is the foundation of our doctoral program. It holds many meanings in relationship to being an educational leader," Jenlink said. "First and foremost, a scholar-practitioner is an individual who recognizes the importance of informing his/her practice with inquiry and examining leadership practice in the day-to-day activity of the educational setting."

In addition to the doctoral degree emphasizing educational leadership, the program offers four degree concentrations, including superintendent certification, higher education administration, curriculum leadership and research.

The doctoral program has a nine-hour elective and a six-hour internship requirement. Additionally, academic advisers work with doctoral students to select an internship that complements the student's career goals.

For more information, visit http://www.sfasu.edu/secondaryed/106.asp or contact Jenlink at (936) 468-1756.