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Doctoral Program in Higher Education & Social Change

About The EdD Program in Higher Education and Social Change

WISR’s largest program has always been our Doctoral program* (an EdD program for students entering on or after June 1, 2013, previously a PhD program) in the emerging, interdisciplinary field of “higher education and social change.”

*Effective June 1, 2013, WISR admits all new doctoral students to an EdD program, while previously enrolled doctoral students complete their PhDs–we made the decision to switch the PhD program to an EdD program to enable us to explore the possibility of seeking national accreditation with an agency approved to accredit professional doctoral degrees.

That program provides advanced, individualized learning and professional training for educators, community service professionals, community and intellectual activists, and other adults who are concerned with the relations among social change, education, psychology, and community service or community leadership and development–in everyday practice. It is especially aimed toward people who are concerned with serious inquiry, and inquiry-based action in order to educate fellow professionals and/or the general public in specific ways that will also lead to constructive, broad and long-term social change. It enrolls students who hold positions of leadership in public and community agencies, who are or who eventually become college instructors and professors, and who are self-employed consultants, workshop leaders, and published writers on topics of professional concern.

This is a new, emerging interdisciplinary field of study–pioneered to a great extent by WISR over the past 40 years since our founding in 1975.

Examples of specific student objectives have been:
  • writing books and articles to educate professionals, scholars, and/or lay people about issues, ideas and practical strategies in the fields of psychology, community development and human services, education, ethnic studies, society and media, social sciences, intellectual activism and/or strategies and ideas about social change;

    WISR Doctoral Alumnus, Che Kum Clement, presents a paper on Vocational and Technical Education at an International Conference

    WISR Doctoral Alumnus, Che Kum Clement, presents a paper on Vocational and Technical Education at an International Conference

  • designing and/or conducting training sessions, continuing education courses, consulting programs, and other educational offerings including the use of the internet and technology (e.g., through blogs, wikis, social and community online networks)—for the range of groups noted above;
  • preparing to teach in innovative college and university programs;
  • promoting one’s personal and intellectual growth as an intellectual activist, as a leader of a community organization, or as a creative professional;
  • engaging in action-oriented inquiry to advance knowledge in such areas as–ways to meet the needs of low-income and ethnic-minority communities, strategies of social policy formation or larger scale social change, formulation of cutting-edge improvements in professional practices in therapy, education or social services, among others; and
  • pursuing a variety of other creative endeavors using action-oriented inquiry and adult education to bring about constructive social change.

Students in the Doctoral program critically examine, and strive to bring about change through action-oriented inquiry into:

  • existing programs and institutions;
  • innovative models and practices;
  • the social/cultural/political conditions that influence institutions and programs, local communities, and professional practices; and
  • the creative potential of new kinds of learning and teaching processes.
Dr. Cynthia Lawrence received her Doctorate from WISR in 1987. She continued   for many years in her full-time position on the faculty at the Univesity of California at San Diego and teacher education and multicultural education.

Dr. Cynthia Lawrence received her Doctorate from WISR in 1987. She continued for many years in her full-time position on the faculty at the Univesity of California at San Diego and teacher education and multicultural education.

These educational processes may directly or indirectly influence students; educators; professionals in community services, public policy or counseling; clients of community organizations and professionals; and the general population. Examples of areas of concern to WISR Doctoral students are:

  • multicultural education,
  • community-based adult literacy programs,
  • health education in the face of health disparities,
  • the educational effectiveness and social impact of grassroots organizations as well as self-help groups,
  • the professional, continuing education of counselors concerned with personal and global trauma, sometimes using somatic as well as verbal approaches to therapy,
  • confronting the challenges and social inequities facing people in impoverished countries and disenfranchised communities,
  • creative and effective strategies of intellectual activism, and
  • the educational practices in formal school and college settings.

The Doctoral program in Higher Education and Social Change has graduated dozens of students, who have since distinguished themselves as authors of books, college professors, intellectual and social activists, and community and professional leaders since the first person enrolled in 1976.

After successfully finishing 45 semester units of course work, with extensive opportunities throughout to pursue personalized interests and studies during the course work, the student completes his or her program by conducting action-oriented research and writing a dissertation that is a creative, inquiring project of strong personal significance, of some importance to others, and a springboard for the next steps in the student’s work and life.

Doctoral Program:  Mission, Objectives, Admission, Curriculum and Requirements

Doctoral Program:  Mission, Learning Objectives, Admissions, and Orientation

Doctoral Program:  Curriculum, Requirements, Regulations, Awarding Credit