Aug. 8, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Sam Houston State University’s College of Education will be working to meet the growing demand for professionals in the field of college readiness preparation for students with its new Doctor of Education degree in developmental education administration.
Formally approved July 28 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating board, the doctorate in developmental education administration will be the only online doctorate in the academic discipline offered in the entire country, according to SHSU educational leadership and counseling department chair Stacey Edmonson.
SHSU’s 60-hour program is designed to prepare education professionals to “develop or administer programs for students who may not be college ready or may need additional services to be successful in college coursework,” Edmonson said.
The curriculum will take an interdisciplinary approach, requiring doctoral students to take coursework in a variety of areas, such as math, reading and writing.
“We really think with the coordinating board’s ‘Closing the Gaps’ initiatives, this falls in line with what their specific agenda is in terms of helping more and more students become college ready and be successful in higher education; we feel like because of that initiative and the movement towards ‘Closing the Gaps’ by 2015, there will be a strong demand for people with this type of preparation and education,” she said.
An example of these types of support programs includes SHSU’s Writing and Reading Centers, which have staff members for whom this type of degree will both be wanted and needed, according to Edmonson.
“We certainly think there is a strong need already out there, but we also think that the need is going to increase as more and more colleges and universities and even secondary institutions are developing programs to help students be successful,” she said. “We believe there is going to be a greater demand for people to effectively and successfully run those programs.”
Edmonson also said this growing need can be demonstrated through a recent study by SHSU professor John Slate and Reading Center professionals Wally Barnes and Ana Rojas-LeBouef, who found that less than 20 percent of black students, 24 percent of Hispanic students and 41 percent of white students in Texas were deemed “college ready” based on standardized test scores between the years of 2006-2008.
While two other universities offer doctorates in developmental education, the administrative component is what sets SHSU’s program apart, Edmonson said.
“The leadership component really makes it one-of-a-kind and will prepare people not just to work in those programs but to develop and improve those programs so that they can continue to do what’s best for students across the state,” she said.
SHSU’s College of Education is currently in the process of hiring faculty for the new program and plans to begin enrolling students by next summer, at the latest.
“We are very pleased that the Coordinating Board approved our proposal for a doctorate in developmental education,” said recently retired Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs David Payne. “The state has a critical need for qualified leaders and practitioners in this field.
“This program is an example of the strong leadership in educator preparation that is being provided by our College of Education and Sam Houston State,” he said. “Dr. Edmonson and her colleagues are to be congratulated for their vision and energy in bringing the program forward.”
The Doctor of Education degree in developmental education administration is the fourth doctoral degree offered by SHSU’s College of Education and the sixth offered by SHSU.
For more information on the program, contact Edmonson at 936.294.1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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