Why the Frequency of my Posts Slowed

I haven’t written for this blog in almost a month.  The reason is simple.  I have not been able to bridge the gap between thoughts and comments on primarily current events in higher education and academic research.

Several years ago, I heard about a doctorate program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education that was designed for people who were employed full-time in higher education.  The doctorate was in higher education management.  With an ongoing interest in learning (what else is lifelong learning), I engaged in a dialogue with the Board of Trustees of the American Public University System (APUS) and the Board of Directors of American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) about the merits of enrolling in this program if I were accepted.  Both of the boards were supportive of my interest.  The primary question was related to timing.  I applied and was accepted.  There were several doctoral programs around the country designed for people working full-time, but the program at UPenn was the one that I wanted to attend.

I started the program in August 2008, a member of a cohort of 22.  Part of the uniqueness of the program is that we had to submit five suggestions for dissertation topics at the start of our program.  As the months progressed, we tackled courses with subjects like Qualitative Methods, Public Policy in Higher Education, Quantitative Methods, Institutional Governance in Higher Education, Strategic Management in Higher Education, History of Higher Education, Community Colleges, International Higher Education, Enrollment Management, and Small Colleges.  At the same time, we continued to progress toward our development of a topic and ultimately a proposal for our dissertations.

I successfully defended my dissertation proposal in May.  Courses have continued through the fall and will conclude in February.  Meanwhile, the chapters of my dissertation continue to take shape, along with data collection and analysis.  As those who have gone through this process know, the last few months are the most intense, requiring a lot of writing and rewriting.  Mixing a more casual style of writing into my more structured research writing has been more difficult than I had imagined.

I am not sure how often I will submit articles for the blog.  I may find a guest author or two.  I might even post a few videos of professors and students at APUS; a project that we have been developing over the past few months.

Meanwhile, I can relate to the challenges of going back to school for a degree when you have a full-time job and a family.  My family has been very supportive and I thank them.  I look forward to being able to spend more time with them, but the most important activity in my spare time will be finishing this dissertation and defending it successfully, sometime this spring.  The opportunity to do this has been wonderful.  I have enjoyed the program, the faculty, and my cohort classmates.  I think I know how an American Military University (AMU) or American Public University (APU) student feels when the finish line is in sight.



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3 Responses to Why the Frequency of my Posts Slowed

  1. David Jay December 16, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Congratulations and Good Luck. I am glad that you able to enjoy this educational endeavor. The best thing I have done in a long time was enroll at APU for my Masters just for fun.

  2. Christopher Schwartz December 23, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    Mr. Boston,

    First, let me congratulate you on the journey for your Doctorate. Second, I personally believe that your pursuit of the degree reflects on you as an administrator and shows your commitment to the betterment of yourself and APU/AMU. Finally, this adventure allows you to truly “walk a mile” in our shoes and hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what we go through each time we complete a class.

    Each time I read about a student, a professor or an administrator I am even more proud to be a student at APU. Like many students, I share with my family, friends and co-workers where I go to school and how the school works. This sharing of information has resulted in one person enrolling and completing her degree with a second person seriously considering enrollment. I myself started in March 2009 and will complete my degree in June 2010, with serious consideration being given to enrollment in a Master’s program.

    So, let me be one of the many to say thank you for your commitment to our education through your own education and your commitment to APU/AMU.

    Christopher M. Schwartz, JD
    Student 3135753

  3. Michael P. Procter, Sr. April 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    Mr. Boston,

    You are to be commended on your decision to pursue a doctorate and practicing the belief that education is a life-long process. I am completing my second master’s degree, this one in history, with AMU.

    You are fortunate in that you have a place to go to earn a doctorate. Many of us are not so lucky. Distance to a suitable university aside, the brick-and-mortar schools put up too many roadblocks for working adults to earn doctorates. I will be relocating to the Phoenix, Arizona, area in the next couple of months. The two majors schools nearby, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University have doctorate in history programs, but it is impractical for me to enroll in those programs because full-time residency is required. Unless things change I might have to wait until I retire to pursue a doctorate degree.

    My hope is that APUS will be able to drive the online doctorate as they have driven the online masters program that I am presently enrolled in. It would be a tribute to you as well as our university if that hope becomes reality one day soon. I can say with certainty that I will be first in line for an online PhD.

    Best of luck to you going forward.

    Best regards,

    Michael P. Procter, Sr., MA

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