Doctoral dilemma...

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I am no longer considering Cal U. I will definitely look at other programs which have a dissertation requirement.
  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Hi, dlbb:

    I have been admitted to the inaugural cohort for the Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ) program at Saint Leo University. I know that in some of the previous messages of this thread, I had seemed hell-bent on pursuing the Doctor of Public Administration at West Chester. In fact, I was until I learned about the DCJ program at Saint Leo. The DCJ program will follow a cohort model which is designed to be completed in 3.5 years by taking 1 course every 8 weeks (2 courses every Fall, Spring & Summer). The program also requires 3 short residencies, the first at the main campus in Florida, the second in Virginia and the third in Georgia. There are two tracks available, Homeland Security and Education. I opted for the Education track. The program, which will culminate with a dissertation, takes on a unique approach which I think is awesome. Here’s one of the questions/answers from a Q & A session with the program’s director:

    Q: Will this program involve a traditional dissertation?

    A: Yes, but we’re taking a little different approach to it. We’re converting a typical, independently completed dissertation into four actual classes. This way, students will have benchmarks to meet to ensure they are fully on track with the degree and dissertation and can walk away with a DCJ diploma.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Just to stir the pot a little, the University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited, has an incredibly affordable PhD in Leadership with an 18 credit Criminal Justice specialization, and the dissertation phase there is also organized as a four course sequence:
  4. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    I believe Chris addressed U.C. in the very first post in this thread when he wrote, "I am NOT interested in Liberty, Cumberland or any other school that is not LGBT friendly."

    Which puts him in a much better moral position than someone who professes to be liberal but sells his soul to pursue an "incredibly affordable" program at a school that is homophobic to the point that they toss openly gay students out on their butts.

    Of course, who am I to judge, being someone who thinks that, as a general rule, doctoral programs in leadership are bullshit?

    But I digress . . . :rolleyes:
  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Steve F.,

    Thank you for your recommendation. However, like Steve L. stated, I am not interested in schools that are not LGBT friendly whether I'm studying virtually or otherwise. I tried to trick myself into believing that I could attend a school that I know is not LGBT friendly by focusing on the affordability of the tuition. This was the case when I applied to and was accepted at Southeastern University in Florida. However, I could not in good conscience, invest my money in a school that openly frowns upon people like me. While I identify as a Christian and was required to submit a Christian Faith statement to Southeastern, I found it odd that they only admit students who are professing Christian. Is this even legal?! I have found that Catholic schools tend to be more welcoming of everyone, as evidenced by their non-discriminatory policy statements. I am proud to have worked at one of the top Jesuit and Catholic universities in the country and they were very welcoming. Recently, Liberty tried to undermine Grand Canyon by suggesting that they are not a real Christian school. Of course, I think Falwell is just upset that Liberty isn't the largest Christian university anymore.

    "Falwell questioned whether the comparison between the universities was appropriate, telling Religion News Service that his definition refers to evangelical Christian schools. He also claimed GCU doesn't require its faculty to adhere to a "fundamental Christian doctrine," like Liberty does.

    But GCU does require its faculty to affirm a commitment to Christian ideals, according to its faculty handbook. About 70 percent of GCU’s students come because they’re seeking a Christian education, but the school doesn’t require any religious affiliation or church attendance, Mueller said.

    Still, GCU is certainly a Christian university, Mueller said. The university holds a chapel service on Monday mornings, which between 5,000 and 7,000 students attend. Attendance is not required, though. “This is a university. It’s not a church,” Mueller said of GCU."

    "We are Catholic, but we are for everyone. We welcome learners of all faiths and those with no religious affiliation."
    -Saint Leo University
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Do as you say, not as you did, huh?
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I apologize, I didn't see that part. The online programs at UC aren't run the same way as the campus programs, but even so I can understand your position. Best wishes wherever you go, then!
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  8. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    I think that is fantastic news. Congrats. A dissertation will serve you much better and help make sure no doors are shut as far as future opportunities. A Ph.D. with a dissertation is better, but a DCJ with a dissertation is a still great opportunity.

    I did look at the program page and noted they said the Education specialization prepares you for careers such as instructor at community college or university, but does not include professor, though I note you did not express interest in that previously. Something more research-based might lead more directly to a tenure track professor position, though that would be more competitive. I do not know how competitive tenure track professor positions for criminal justice are, but other positions would be easier to obtain. If you are interested in a professor position, you may wish to consider some other issues.

    I applaud you for avoiding anti-LGBTQ schools, and even if that were not an issue, I would not under any circumstances consider Cumberlands with a Leadership doctorate and a Criminal Justice specialization over the real thing, which is what you would get at SLU. Money isn't everything, and if you are able to obtain a job more easily with a DCJ, the slightly more expensive school may help you earn more money in the long run.

    You also might investigate SLU to see how they rank, reputation, etc., just to make sure there are no issues, but if you are wanting to be an instructor, it probably would not matter.

    A dissertation is not a trivial undertaking, so having those four classes should be beneficial.

  9. MattS

    MattS New Member

    This seems to be a growing trend, as ACE recently introduced a new version of the Ed.D. program which also breaks up the dissertation into four courses. Essentially, they have a course to complete chapter 3, a course for chapter 2, a course for chapter 1/IRB approval, and then a course for chapter 4/5. There are also supplemental research courses for those who cannot complete a chapter within the specified course. Many students will presumably benefit from a more structured approach.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    One of the criticisms we have heard from some people and about some universities is that they drag out the dissertation process, forcing students to register for semester after semester of added enrollment time. There are times, I'm sure, when this is because the student has not done this or that adequately but there have also been many instances where it is the school that seems to be at fault. I have never even attempted a doctoral dissertation but I know it's a huge endeavor and some students remain ABD forever because they can't quite get it done. There are other sorts of horror stories that are told of multiple dissertation supervisor resigning with each successive supervisor demanding massive re-writes or even changing the direction of the research altogether. In this regard having a more structured approach might be useful if the actual goal is to get the research done, get it written into a suitable form, get it defended, etc.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  11. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    No problem.. Thank you, Steve!
  12. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I think Saint Leo will be a perfect fit for my career goals. Several community colleges and some non-research classified 4-year colleges offer tenure-track positions and most of them only require a master's degree. I think a D.CJ. might make me a little more competitive, although some Ph.D's also pursue faculty positions at 2/4 year colleges. As far as Saint Leo's ranking, here's a link to their Points of Pride. In addition, they are consistently ranked in tier 1 of the U.S. News' Regional Universities South ranking. A few of their 2018 rankings include #61 out of 149 Regional Universities (South), #36 Best College for Veterans, #23 Best Value School. Their online ranking among 1200 surveyed programs includes #88 Best Online Bachelors and #157 Best Graduate Education Programs.

    Thanks for your feedback on the LGBTQ schools and Cumberlands. On a different note, I have a CJ faculty interview tomorrow. Wish me luck!! I have had two previous phone interviews with another college (CJ and Business) but never made it to a campus interview. I also had a mock teaching (CJ) at another college but wasn't selected. I am now a facilitator for a curriculum in my juvenile facility so I think this will give me some teaching/instructing experience.

  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Thanks for that link. Is there a way around the article limit notification?
  14. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    Congrats on the interview. It is a campus visit? Being in a terminal degree program should help somewhat, though you are just beginning.

    The mock teaching can be very important. I recommend practicing significantly when that time comes, including in front of at least one other person. Even if they lack subject matter knowledge, they can give some feedback on presentation style. I would keep the topic simple, i.e. not too advanced, use slides you created yourself that are engaging and well made, visually interesting, not too much text on each slide.

  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    My interview today was on campus at a 4-year college. The panel included the Academic Dean (a Ph.D.), the Chair of Social Sciences, a CJ Instructor, a Business Instructor and a non-teaching director at the college. I will know tomorrow if I am being advanced to the mock teaching, scheduled for next week. They said the topic will be on school shootings. The Chair mentioned that it's a broad topic so I can make it whatever I want and choose how I want to present it. I did make mention of my D.CJ. admissions and the Academic Dean offered her congratulations. Thanks for the tips on the mock teaching presentation. After the mock teaching, the finalist will then interview with the president.

    After my interview today, I received a voicemail from another college wanting me to come for a campus interview next week. However, I have work on the day they wanted me to interview plus I am in another state so I would have to fly which could only happen on my days off. Anyway, they agreed to a 30-minute phone interview next week. Funilly, I have had two prior phone interviews with this same college. The first in December 2017 for a CJ Instructor (Spring 2018 opening). The second last month for a Business/Customer Service Instructor position located in a state prison. I wasn't selected for either of those so I hope #3 will be the lucky number!

  16. dlbb

    dlbb Active Member

    With any topic, you want to keep it so an undergraduate with no background can understand it, and so staff or faculty that may be from a different subject matter area can also understand it. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be good detail and solid information, but you should consider your audience and keep it interesting and captivating for them. Intended audience is not master's or doctoral level. It is not a chance to show off your learning, but to show them you can teach, inspire or motivate (or more likely, just teach).

    If you were in the market for a faculty job, I would not turn down an on campus interview, provided they paid for travel. I would optimally reschedule, unless you were not that interested or had reservations. An on campus interview is a good deal more serious than a phone interview.
  17. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Of course it's legal, the First Amendment protects their right to make faith statements a requirement and to exclude anyone who is not a Christian. In the same way, it protects your right to establish a private institution that is limited to those who agree with your views on religion, sexuality, etc. Generally, the First Amendment protects our right to associate with whom we please. About the only recourse the government would have is to cut off federal student aid if they had a disagreement with the practices of a private religious institution (and if they did so over this particular form of discrimination by a Christian college on the basis of basic Christian beliefs, such as the divinity of Christ, the private school would likely have a pretty good lawsuit against the government). The Civil Rights Act forbids certain forms of discrimination, but the FCRA would not force a Hindu school to accept Muslims, or a Catholic school to accept atheists, in the same way that it would not force a synagogue to entertain the application for rabbi from one with a degree from a Southern Baptist seminary.
    Abner likes this.
  18. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for the additional tips. You're indeed correct about tailoring your presentation to your intended audience. One of the articles (The Art of Conferencing) I read in my capstone course provided a wealth of information on delivering an effective presentation. I even discovered some of the mistakes I made in my first mock teaching after I read the article. If I don't land myself a faculty position for Fall 2018, I am going to pursue the Faculty Preparation graduate certificate program at Humboldt State University. I had deferred my acceptance last year.

  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the clarification. Much appreciated!

  20. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    No problem, there's a difference between legal and ethical, of course, and while some people may not consider it ethical or good practice to discriminate in that manner, it's still legal. I personally would not be interested in working for a sectarian college that required a statement of faith, even though I'm definitely a practicing Christian of the conservative stripe (not politically conservative, and definitely not in the Falwell conservative camp, those people I actually consider to be religious liberals, remaking the Bible into a tool to consolidate their power and dominate public law), because I don't feel comfortable signing anyone's statements of faith that could be later used against the signer, and I don't recall Jesus or anyone in the New Testament era requiring signed documents, their faith was presumed based upon their actions. If someone has a genuine faith, no document can make that faith more real, and if someone does not have genuine faith, no document can turn that deficiency into true faith.

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