The first cohort of WT Education Doctors to graduate this weekend

CANYON, Texas (KFDA) – WT’S First 18 Students doctoral program in educational leadership will obtain the highest degrees in their field on December 11.

This program focuses on preparing educational leaders for rural areas and those in higher education and educational organizations.

“Although the program focuses on leadership in rural schools, both streams provide education leaders with a wide variety of tools to lead in any educational organization, of any size and in any place, ”said Dr. Eddie Henderson, Dean of the College of Education at WT. and social sciences.

WT says school districts serving less than 1,000 students represent more than 50 percent of Texas districts, creating a need for rural school leaders.

The program is designed to prepare a well-rounded school leader who is responsive and knowledgeable about maximizing resources to advance their school towards excellence.

“We are equipping them with the tools that allow them to approach their problems with advanced means, especially with some of the research tools and techniques that they now have in their toolbelt,” said Dr Gary Bigham, coordinator of the program.

In rural communities, the resources available to educational leaders are sometimes more limited.

“You need a slightly different skill set because there are fewer resources, fewer staff, and education policy is also generally oriented towards urban schools and less towards rural schools,” said Dr Henderson.

There are also many different backgrounds.

“Many of these communities are located in agricultural areas, they may have a large percentage of individuals in communities for which English may not be their primary language, some of these communities have socio-economic needs. , cultural needs and cultural differences, ”said Dr. Henderson.

In most rural areas, being heavily involved in agriculture, one of the graduates mentions that many students wish to enter the labor market directly for jobs in livestock and agriculture, so it is important to ” teaching skills that are not intended only for higher education institutions.

“This traditional tough path, I’m going to college or not going to college these days to some extent is there, but there are many ways we get further away from it, I can get a certificate and then go straight to the workforce and earn a living wage, ”said Dr Mike Dominguez, Stratford ISD Superintendent and program graduate.

Many graduates of this program are already working as educational leaders in rural areas, so the research they did in the program could be applied to their work.

“The program allowed me to choose a topic that I liked the most and that excited me, but it applied my work to use it to have an impact on my campus and obviously also on the research side,” said said Bethany Davis, deputy director of Lamar. Elementary, Pampa ISD and graduate of the program.

WT says that the research through this program is of great value to the whole community.

“Their research focuses on practice issues, practice issues in rural communities, and this group of graduates has therefore produced over 20 research-specific scholarly publications benefiting rural communities and rural schools, so this is a This is a real benefit of our program and it has a direct positive impact on our regional mission, which is to improve the quality of life in our region and to improve research related to our region, ”said Dr. Henderson.

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