California State University, Long Beach
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CSULB Graduates its First Cohort of Doctorate Students in its History

Published: June 1, 2010

Demonstrating CSULB’s commitment to help improve education in California, the first cohort of students earning Ed.D. in Education Leadership degrees in the campus’ history graduated May 27 during the College of Education commencement, one of nine graduation ceremonies held at CSULB May 26-28.

Thirteen Ed.D. graduates received their degrees during commencement and another six students will defend their dissertations to graduate in the summer.

“We are most excited for these students. A doctoral degree is a major achievement requiring not only significant academic work, but also sacrifices in terms of life outside work and school,” said Anna Ortiz, co-director of the Ed.D. program at CSULB. “Seeing them grow into confident, knowledgeable and capable leaders and scholars has been a constant source of satisfaction for me and the rest of the faculty.”

The three-year doctorate program, which is designed for working professionals, currently has 98 students in four cohorts who are working toward their degrees. The students come from local school districts, community colleges, four-year universities and non-profit agencies.

Ortiz continued, “The fact that this is the first cohort is a source of pride, not only in the program we have built, but also in the tenacity and perseverance this first cohort has shown as we figured out how to make the program work best for students.”

In summer 2007, CSULB was one of the first universities in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system to offer an Ed.D. in educational leadership. The program represents a major achievement and advancement in the history of higher education in California and addresses the demand for highly qualified educational leaders for P-12 school districts and community colleges.

The 13 Ed.D. graduates this spring are:

• Barbara Dunsheath, associate professor of social sciences at East Los Angeles College.
• Brad Davidson, assistant principal at Powell Academy for Success in Long Beach.
• Dave Edwards, director of the University Student Union at CSULB.
• Deb Powers, associate director of outdoor education at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes.
• Eugene Kwong, a teacher at Hawthorne High School and in the Centinela Valley Unified School District.

• Farah Khaleghi, executive director of the Long Beach Community Improvement League.
• Janet Young, a professor of child development at El Camino College in Torrance.
• Jayson Lloyd, a teacher at Lakewood High School.
• John Scaringe, president of the Southern California University of Health Sciences.
• Marshall Thomas, associate director of the Learning Assistance Center at CSULB.
• Michael Munoz, director of GEAR UP programs at Rio Hondo College in Whittier.
• Michele Starkey, an assistant professor of mathematics at Mt. St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.
• Michelle Fino, a public health nutritionist for the city of Long Beach.

In 2005, the state supported the CSU’s request to offer graduate level instruction leading to the Ed.D. and Senate Bill 724 was enacted, granting the CSU for the first time independent authority to offer doctorate degree programs.

To develop the Ed.D, representatives from PK-12 school districts and community colleges worked collaboratively with CSULB faculty and administrators to design, implement and evaluate the curriculum for the program.

“In the planning phase of the program we involved our PK-12 and community college partners every step of the way; from setting the vision for the program to developing the curriculum,” explained Ortiz. “We had our partners actually designing courses alongside faculty members so we could be confident that our curriculum met the needs of our schools and colleges.”

Ortiz believes the Ed.D. program at CSULB and throughout the CSU system prepares graduates to tackle the challenges California’s three education systems face today and she has already began to notice the programs’ success within communities.

“Ultimately, our schools and colleges benefit from our Ed.D. program through our ability to prepare leaders who can meet the challenges in urban education. We are confident that our students leave us better prepared to lead equitable educational institutions where all students succeed,” said Ortiz. “We have already seen evidence of the impact of our students’ work in their schools and colleges that can be attributed to some aspect of their experience here as doctoral students.”

–Paul Browning