Program Mission and Goals

  • Curriculum and Instruction faculty and studentProgram Mission

    The Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate (CPED) (2009a, 2009b) summarizes the purpose of the diverse programs that lead to a doctoral degree in education as: “The professional doctorate in education prepares educators for the application of appropriate and specific practices, the generation of new knowledge, and for the stewardship of the profession.”  More specifically, high-quality doctoral programs in education:

    1. Are framed around questions of equity, ethics, and social justice to bring about solutions to complex problems of practice.
    2. Prepare leaders who can construct and apply knowledge to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families, organizations, and communities.
    3. Provide opportunities for candidates to develop and demonstrate collaboration and communication skills to work with diverse communities and to build partnerships.
    4. Provide field-based opportunities to analyze problems of practice and use multiple frames to develop meaningful solutions.
    5. Are grounded in and develop a professional knowledge base that integrates both practical and research knowledge that links theory with systemic and systematic inquiry.
    6. Emphasize the generation, transformation, and use of professional knowledge and practice. (Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, 2010)

    The Doctor of Education (DEd) in Curriculum and Instruction is a graduate program intended for teacher/scholars who have demonstrated distinguished achievement as practitioners or administrators in the field of education. The DEd is a professional degree conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated the ability to function effectively in the role of teacher educator in college and university settings and have a commitment to the professional development of preservice and inservice teachers. Successful completion of the Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction signifies that program graduates function effectively as teacher/scholars who understand and apply educational theory, demonstrate competence in curriculum evaluation, fulfill the role of teacher educator committed to working with diverse populations, and conduct independent research that makes a significant contribution to the field of education.

    The program leading to a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction is an applied sequence of courses, experiences, and research for individuals who are seeking to pursue careers in higher education or to become curriculum experts and professional development specialists in public, private, and independent schools.

    Those who earn the DEd in Curriculum and Instruction are expected to master four areas:

    1. Educational theory
    2. Teacher education
    3. Curriculum evaluation
    4. Research methods

    Program Goals

    The program intends to prepare doctoral program graduates who will:

    1. Fulfill the teacher educator’s role in ways that reflect the highest standards for academic rigor, intellectual inquiry, and professional integrity.
    2. Study curriculum as a discipline including the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs in education.
    3. Analyze critical issues in curriculum and instruction, both historical and contemporary, as they relate to a broad range of disciplinary specialties in the field.
    4. Understand and apply educational theory and research in a variety of educational contexts, basic through higher education.
    5. Use technology to develop outstanding college-level courses and programs for professionals.
    6. Demonstrate knowledge of adult development, characteristics of adult learners, and appropriate ways of supporting professional growth.
    7. Apply knowledge of learners and curriculum to offer exemplary college-level instruction and supervision to practitioners.
    8. Master the research skills of the teacher/scholar as demonstrated by professional presentations, scholarly writing, and the successful completion of independent dissertation research.
    9. Contribute to the Commonwealth and other educational settings by working effectively and ethically with diverse populations of educators and the children, families, and communities they serve.

    Degree Type and Credit Requirements

    The degree awarded to students who successfully complete all of the requirements for the degree is the Doctorate in Education (DEd) in Curriculum and Instruction.

    The program consists of a minimum of 60 semester‑hour credits beyond the master’s degree. To the extent that the master’s degree program differs from what the Doctoral Screening Committee considers to be a sufficient background for doctoral-level courses in education, the exact number of courses required for completion of the degree may be higher than the 60-credit minimum. Decisions about additional coursework will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Doctoral Screening Committee and the departmental chairperson and communicated to the student prior to enrollment in the DEd Program in Curriculum and Instruction.

    Full-Time and Part-Time Study Comparison

    Full-time (three years to complete required courses) is defined as a course load of nine credits in the fall and spring semesters and at least six credits in the summers of years one and two. During the fall and spring semesters at the Indiana campus, required courses are taken on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. along with the part-time cohort, while the remaining three credits are scheduled at other times during the week. Courses in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg include a mixture of Saturday and online classes. Summer classes in Indiana typically follow a Friday/Saturday format from mid-June through the last week of July, and classes in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh include a mixture of Saturday and online classes.

    Part-time (four years to complete required courses) is defined as six credits in the fall, spring, and summer semesters of years one to three. It takes four years to complete the coursework and register for the 60 credits. Part-time study is designed as an option for students who seek to retain their full-time employment. During the fall and spring semesters at the Indiana campus, the required courses meet on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Courses in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg include a mixture of Saturday and online classes. Summer classes in Indiana typically follow a Friday/Saturday format from mid-June through the last week of July, and classes in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh include a mixture of Saturday and online classes. The six credits of electives are scheduled in the evenings or during the summer.

    The amount of time that doctoral candidates will take to complete the dissertation varies considerably. However, coursework will be completed in three to four years.