Chris Valadez

Chris Valadez
Ed.D. Student

What is a Dissertation in Practice? 

According to the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), an Ed.D. prepares educators to become scholarly practitioners. Those who pursue an Ed.D. hope to contribute to the knowledge and practice within their professional context.  
The Dissertation in Practice (DiP) is a scholarly endeavor meant to address a complex problem of practice, or a persistent issue faced by a professional practitioner within their professional or community environment. The goal of a DiP is to improve understanding, experience, and outcomes associated with this problem of practice. For more information about CPED and the Dissertation in Practice, I encourage you to visit the CPED website.  


How have Marymount's curriculum and faculty supported your dissertation? 

Marymount’s superpower is support! The curriculum is structured so that the dissertation is completed throughout the program. Within the courses, students investigate and write about their problem of practice. The experience is scaffolded so that everyone has the opportunity to graduate having achieved a major milestone in their lives and to make a difference in their fields.  

But it is really the faculty that set Marymount apart from other Ed.D. programs. The Ed.D. faculty genuinely care about the success and well-being of each doctoral student. They teach AND coach. They offer time and energy to ensure that every student, no matter where they are in their scholarly journey, gets the support they need to meet their goals. It’s not just the Lead Doctoral Faculty Mentor, or LDFM, who is there for you. Honestly, all the faculty support you, from the very first course to the final dissertation defense.  
Additionally, Marymount offers programs, like Write Up! and the Scholar Block Parties, to supplement the courses and to give people the extra guidance they need to complete the dissertation. I have never felt so included in a community of scholarship as I do at Marymount University.  


What topic did you choose and why? 

Online education affords students the opportunity to take university courses on their own schedule and without having to travel to campus, enabling those who could not otherwise pursue tertiary degrees the option to do so. However, particularly for university programs where hands-on, competency-based learning is essential, some educators question the quality of online learning and are not convinced that it can provide students with the necessary instruction and practice to become career-ready. This skepticism is especially acute in healthcare fields, like nursing, where clinical preparation and practice are essential for licensure.  
As an online course designer, I want to better understand how healthcare faculty perceive the effectiveness of online learning and to discover whether they consider some content and skills more suitable for online instruction than others. Therefore, I am focusing my dissertation research on how faculty perceptions about the effectiveness of teaching nursing concepts online impact their willingness to teach courses in online prelicensure baccalaureate nursing (BSN) programs. 


How is your Ed.D. preparing you to create positive change? 

My hope is that this study will help universities better understand the perceived limitations of online learning for teaching BSN concepts and skills, allowing them to determine strategies to address faculty concerns and bring more BSN programs online, thereby helping to address a severe nursing shortage that threatens the health and well-being of US citizens, especially in rural America.  


What advice do you have for a student who has never completed a dissertation? 

There is never going to be a right time to get your doctorate, so just do it! It takes time, energy, focus, and fortitude. But, if you have the will, you will find the way. For me, Marymount has offered the exact amount of support and encouragement I needed to push me towards the finish line.  
I am almost at my goal of finishing my dissertation and attaining my doctoral degree, and I don’t regret one minute of the time I had to put into the program to do it. I guess my advice is, “if you have always wanted to get your doctorate, now is the time and Marymount is a great university to support you on your scholarly journey!”   


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