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Major innovative changes to three Doctor of Education (EdD) programs approved by OISE Council

By Biljana Cuckovic

April 13, 2018



At its final meeting of the 2017-18 academic year, OISE Council unanimously approved major innovative changes to the Institute’s three EdD programs in Counselling Psychology, Educational Leadership and Policy and Social Justice Education. 

“We are extremely pleased that the OISE Council has approved these redesigned, rigorous programs designed to address the specific needs of education professionals,” said OISE Dean Glen Jones. “These revitalized and innovative programs demonstrate OISE’s continuing leadership in linking our tremendous research strengths to issues of educational practice.”

Only EdD at U of T

OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) is the only faculty at the University of Toronto that offers the Education Doctorate, a research-intensive, practice-oriented degree.

During the 2017-18 academic year, three departments (Applied Psychology & Human Development (APHD), Leadership, Higher & Adult Education (LHAE) and Social Justice Education (SJE) worked on redesigning their Doctor of Education (EdD) programs. The aim was to invigorate the EdD, differentiate it from the PhD degree and renew its relevance to a broad range of education professionals.

At the 2016-17 OISE academic planning consultations, discussions about redesigning the EdD were especially important in light of OISE’s involvement with the Carnegie Project for the Educational Doctorate (CPED).

Different from traditional thesis requirement

While each of the three redefined EdD programs have specific features unique to their respective fields, they share the new culminating requirement called thesis (dissertation in practice).

Different from the traditional thesis requirement, the dissertation in practice includes the identification and investigation of a problem in practice, the application of theory, research and policy analysis to the problem of practice, and a proposed plan for action to address the problem of practice. The dissertation in practice is expected to have impact beyond that of traditional doctoral dissertations in education in that it will have meaningful generative impact on education practice and policy and be used by others in the field.

Designed for ‘practising professionals’

In the Educational Leadership and Policy EdD program, “the highlights of the changes include streamlined courses and focus on a cohort-based model to provide a more structured academic experience, sense of community and enhanced access to student support,” said LHAE Associate Chair Professor Peter Sawchuk.

Professor Earl Woodruff, Chair of OISE’s APHD department, added, “We’re excited to offer a program that is designed for practising professionals eager to assume leadership roles.  Specifically, our redesigned doctorate of education in Counselling Psychology program (counselling and psychotherapy field) will provide students with the tools they need to advance practice in the field."

SJE Chair and Professor Abigail Bakan noted, “The EdD in Social Justice Education offers activist-scholars the opportunity to apply research informed knowledge in the social sciences and humanities to complex challenges in contemporary education, within and beyond the classroom.”

OISE continues to lead

As equity, diversity and accessibility is one of the key focusing themes outlined in OISE’s new academic plan, the renewed EdD will have the potential to attract students with diverse backgrounds to doctoral studies, including those who may not consider a PhD degree as an option for their current and future career goals.

“With extensive expertise and a longstanding tradition of training educators in research-informed practice, OISE has a special responsibility to lead in the preparation of the next generation of practitioner-scholars who are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to be effective leaders in their fields. These reinvigorated EdD programs are examples of exactly that,” said Dean Jones.