doctor of arts

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by uncle janko, Sep 1, 2002.

  1. Nosborne

    Nosborne New Member

    But the gubbamint eddication folks consider the D.A. to be the equivalant to the Ph.D.

    Nosborne, J.D.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It should be. While the emphasis is on teaching the subject instead of researching it, the degree requirements for the D.A. should be as stringent as those of the Ph.D. Also, a research element would ensure that the degree was more like a Ph.D. or an Ed.D., and less like the J.D., O.D., etc.

    Again, it would seem an interesting transition for some DETC-accredited schools, particularly those focused narrowly on one or two areas (like the American Military University).
  3. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I like the D.A. concept a lot. Ph.D.s are great degrees, but focused research training may not be the best preparation for undergraduate teaching.

    I can imagine some guy doing a doctoral dissertation on something totally arcane, like applications of nonmonotonic formalisms to reasoning about action using situation calculus. Then getting hired to teach a standard undergraduate philosophy curriculum including the history of philosophy sequence, ethics, introduction to Plato or the philosophy of religion. Unfortunately, our doctor may not have studied some of this stuff since his undergraduate years and might have the teaching skills of an earthworm.

    I'm also not surprised that the D.A. never succeeded. For all their left-wing political posturing, there is no more heirarchical profession on earth than university professors. (Sorry, but it's true.) Nobody this side of faded European aristocracy spend as much time pondering their relative rankings. Is a Marquess higher than an Earl? Is a Ph.D. higher than a D.A.? Is a Knight Grand Cross higher than a Knight Bachelor?

    We all know what a D.A. will inevitably hear: 'Sure a D.A. is good... for a glorified schoolteacher. But he couldn't cut in research, and that's the test of a *real* academic. He's only second-rate.' So why would any graduate student subject him/her self to that crap when they could easily avoid it by entering a Ph.D. program themselves?

    Unfortunately, the losers in all this are the undergraduate students.
  4. Dr Dave

    Dr Dave New Member

    Not to get too far off the topic of the DA per se, but Anthony's comment about the EdD and PhD in Education becoming indistinguishable is correct. Just look at how often that query has been posted on When I was in the PhD in HOD program at Fielding Institute, there were discussions around what an EdD truly ought to be doing careerwise versus a PhD. For example, should the EdD focus more on the leadership element of education?

    But the problem of distinguishing doctorates is even more pervasive than that! Anthony is addressing but one facet of the stone. In Psychology, there was once the notion that the PhD would be the researcher and teacher while the PsyD would be the clinician. In business, the PhD was supposed to be the academician and the DBA the practitioner applying theory out in the field. In reality, you have PhD Psychologists as limited licensed practitioners, DBAs teaching on full-time faculty, EdDs spending full time in the classroom, and PhDs in Educ as school superintendents. So the boundaries have indeed blurred, it does cause confusion to the beholder, and I question whether the diminishing distinctions between and among doctorates can really be a good thing.

    I can understand that folks with doctorates sometimes change careers as do many other people. This is America. It's to be expected that one having spent a long time teaching might well want to transition to the corporate world or vice-versa, for instance. But we're not seeing exception activity, rather wholesale activity which has contributed greatly to the blurring. Universities seem to have picked up on it too and have blurred their degree offerings accordingly, to be all things to everyone. If you compare DBA offerings at some schools, they are now virtually identical to PhDs in all but name. I wish there were a way to rebuild the crisp distinctions between academic and professional doctorates, but it seems to be verging on the hopeless. Thus the homogeneous alphabet soup.

    David April, DBA
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2002
  5. Dr Dave

    Dr Dave New Member

    As a postscript to my message above:

    The blurring of degrees occurs even with the professional degrees, in addition to academic versus professional. Years ago, dentists were DMDs and oral surgeons were DDSs, remember (if you are old enough to)? Now, it's not uncommon to find a DDS drilling, filling and billing, and a DMD slicing and dicing. Just one more non-boundary between the degrees.
  6. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Let me just add a hearty "amen" to Dr. Dave's post.

  7. Nosborne

    Nosborne New Member

    Are D.A. holders actually discriminated against by funding sources or universities? I seem to recall one school offering a "Ph.D. with teaching emphasis or a D.A." at the student's option.

    I'd take the Ph.D., I suppose. No need to explain it, if you see what I mean.

    Nosborne, JD
    (Who would give a great deal to earn a JSD)
  8. KKA

    KKA Member

    When DETC D. A.?

    I think DETC should be involved in accrediting doctoral study.

    A Doctor of Arts degree--(a generalist approach in a field of study--obviously, not all fields are amenable to that, but, perhaps, most are)--would be an organization and class marker for DETC and DL learning.

    In a sense, the D. A., defined as a generalist degree, resolves some of the issues talked about here on this forum: namely, whether some schools are universities or not (because they don't foster or do research); or whether facilities exist to support study from a distance for students in certain fields; or whether they are able to academically support learning in certain areas (availability of experts, libraries, etc.).

    Some how, by "paradigm-shifting", from research-based doctoral degree-obtaining to practitioner-based (broadly trained or learned), one creates a whole co-hort of collegiate level (undergrad and graduate) teachers who are able to support a process of teaching of students--not just being treated as an inconvenience of professorial life.

    Also, I think the idea of a D. A. degree puts the onus on the candidate to develop his/her program of study and to satisfy criteria of broad learning in order to become a specialist in his/her specialism in a broad way. This can be achieved through private study (reading books, taking exams, writing research papers, essays, etc.). The focus is becoming aware of the knowledge out there in the field in a very familiar way--as opposed to adding to the field.

    In fact, long ago, (before the information explosion), the PhD was supposed to represent whole and complete knowledge in a field, while adding new learning. We moved away from that concept because of the impossibility of achieving this in an "information society" where information is constantly adding and changing. What the D. A. could do is to go back to roots and in a real way focus the candidate's effort to become wholistically aware of his or her field, (knowing, of course, that the charge here is contituted in broad terms). Such broad training is wonderful "armament" for teachers who would be working with student (of various interests and backgrounds) at the undegraduate level and at the graduate level, where at said teachers become resources for research ideas and for "ideological" versatility.

    Of course, the D. A. likewise, would be a great credential in much the same way for certain professions, e.g. library science, ESL teachers, specialised-trainers.

    Who doesn't agree or agrees? Has anyone a "line" to DETC? Are they listening or is it just falling on deaf ears?

    Kenneth K. A.
  9. Nosborne

    Nosborne New Member

    What would the DA do for the holder that the MA doesn't do now?

    Nosborne, JD
  10. KKA

    KKA Member


    One is a doctor and the other is not. Your question can be rephrased: " What would the MA do for the holder that the BA doesn't do now?". Obviously, it is about rank and depth of knowledge.

  11. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    A personally favored trite saying: "Freedom is messy."

    Isn't it better to let the education market decide through competition than to predetermine some result through a presumed knowledge of what would be best?

    Rejoice at your many options.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I suggested earlier in this thread that the D.A. would be ideal for DETC schools to develop and deliver.

    The D.A., compared to the M.A., would have a teaching skills component, preparing the person to teach whatever he/she specializes in. Also, the D.A. should result in a dissertation contributing original knowledge to the field, like the Ph.D. Perhaps this project could be more pragmatic and less theoretical.

    I would love to take such a degree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2003
  13. KKA

    KKA Member

    Consumers are right

    You are right.

    But, it has to be offered first.

    I was simply noting making the point that the classical PhD qualification is the hallmark of the "birck and mortar" schools, and the other innovative qualifications are for all kinds of schools, the DA could become (not that it necessarily should become) the hallmark of the LEGITIMATE DL world. That is, while the DL institutions can produce the PhDs etc, their DAs would be the DL institutions' world's great contribution to general approach/wholistic/broad training of teachers in their fields of knowledge who fulfil the need at all levels of academic teaching.

  14. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    See how smart us Detroit types are! KKA, you made the case far more articulately than I could have done. East Side or West Side?

    Interestingly, I just had some correspondence with two non-DL RA DA US programs. One was very gracious--out East--with a clear notion of the distinctive purpose of the DA and completely at ease in discussing its possibilities. The other--not out East--was touchy and defensive and it is too exactly like a PhD and there's no interdisciplinary aspect at all, usw., usw.
    I would urge anybody interested in this topic to go back and read some of the older material from the period when the DA was first being developed.

    Yes, it would be a great thing if DETC would carefully authorize its schools to offer the DA. I felt strongly enough about the DA that I was almost--but not quite--willing to deal with "Newburgh" to get one.
  15. KKA

    KKA Member

    Thanks Uncle Janko

    I didn't know you were from Detroit, too. Three Cheers for Motown! Westside, of course--and no doubt about it.

    But, is anyone listening at DETC? I would love to ge a DA qualification in the sense I am talking about.

    Kenneth K. A.
  16. Dennis Ruhl

    Dennis Ruhl member

    Re: Thanks Uncle Janko

    Unk knows so much about Canada because he was weaned on CBC. It's a bit better than static.
  17. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member


    I agree with you. I think the D.A. could have a lot of utility as the top teaching credential. Faculty at schools that are focused more on teaching than research would do well with D.A. grads. I have seen a lot of D.A.s in the music field when I would attend my daughter's music events over the years (always had to check on the credential of the evaluators).

    I also believe that the Ph.D. has hurt the D.A. When someone is pursuing a doctorate they want to get the more recognized degree. This was apparent at Nova back in '94 when SCIS was changing over its D.Sc. program to the Ph.D. The vast majority in the D.Sc. program opted for the Ph.D. (including myself) and many holders of the D.Sc. also retrofitted themselves with the Ph.D. (while in some other countries the D.Sc. is preferable as it is considered a higher doctorate).

  18. KKA

    KKA Member


    Thank God for CBC! At least there some depth to the news!

    So, who is going to approach DETC about DA program delivery?

  19. Steve King

    Steve King Member

    I don't believe that DETC can accredit Ph.D., D.B.A., D.A., or similar doctoral programs. According to DETC's website, "At the present time, the Commission's recognition by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation extends through the First-Professional degree level only."

    The first-professional degree includes JD, MD, DC, PharmD, DVM, and any other degrees that does not require a master's degree first. The Doctor of Arts degree requires a Master of Arts degree first.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I assumed that was understood. But things change. There was a time when DETC (as the NHSC) didn't accredit schools awarding academic degrees (as opposed to specialized associate's degrees). But that, too, changed.

    I don't know the gensis of it, but I would suspect that change was initiated by DETC.

Share This Page