NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The Doctor of Education in educational leadership program offered through Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education has joined the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, a consortium of over 125 colleges and schools of education that have committed to critically examine the doctoral degree in education.

“Through collaborative efforts, CPED member institutions work together to share best practices, engage in research, and advocate for the transformation of doctoral education in the field of education,” said Dr. Summer Pannell, associate professor and coordinator for SFA’s educational leadership program. “This will help us produce graduates who are well-prepared to address complex educational challenges and contribute to positive change in educational organizations and systems.”

Established in 2007, CPED aims to redesign professional practice preparation in education at the doctoral level. After receiving an invitation to join, SFA’s educational leadership faculty members completed a vigorous application and interview process to become a CPED member. The educational leadership faculty who worked together on this project include Pannell and educational leadership faculty members Dr. Brian Uriegas, Dr. Barbara Qualls and Dr. Ali Hachem, all SFA associate professors of human services and educational leadership.

SFA began the partnership in early October, when CPED members convened in Pensacola, Florida, to collaborate with other CPED institutions to explore various models and implementation strategies to fit the project’s standards and principles.

“CPED's main focus is on reimagining the Doctor of Education degree to better align it with the needs and challenges of professional practice in educational settings,” Pannell said. “This focus on the Doctorate of Education as a professional degree aligns with our goal to become a premier doctoral program in the state of Texas and nationwide.”

CPED membership provides faculty members at affiliated institutions access to a professional learning community, support and resources to redesign and enhance the educational leadership program, the integration of research and scholarship into professional practice preparation, and a platform for collective advocacy for the transformation of doctoral education.

“Membership can provide valuable opportunities for collaboration, learning and improvement that can enhance the quality and effectiveness of our Doctorate in Education program,” Pannell said. “We will have the opportunity to engage with a community of like-minded institutions and work together toward advancing the field of educational leadership and practice.”

To align with CPED’s standards, the program will begin this spring semester to audit courses and curriculum to identify where changes might be beneficial. Changes to adhere to CPED’s goals include refocusing on scholarly practitioner preparation, incorporating a commitment to social justice and ethical practice in education, strengthening partnerships with other schools and districts, and exploring alternative assessment practices. Revisions will be applied strategically to ensure the least amount of disruption to the program’s current students and maintain the integrity of the program as it is currently designed.

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Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at the SFA website.