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The gaps between the stages highlight the lack of reflection on the moral and socially just significance of the doctoral dissertation of educational administration. they also offer an explanation of why some professors and doctoral students of educational administration do not attach moral thinking and action to me the dissertation experience. some professors have confirmed this belief with comments such as “with all that money that comes from getting the doctoral degree in our field, why should students even be concerned about using their dissertations after graduation?” to “most doctoral programs of educational administration are cash cows that graze upon the fees for dissertation and other coursework expenses.”

Stage four: andragogy of the suppressed

After engaging in verbal discussions about the doctoral dissertation of educational administration, I conducted a qualitative study on the postdoctoral dissertation uses of 118 doctoral graduates from our field. Of this population, there were 57 (48%) graduates with doctor of Education degrees (EdD) in educational administration. Sixty-One (52%) graduates held doctor of philosophy (PhD) degrees in educational administration. The graduates completed a questionnaire that measured their use of the dissertation for socially just purposes.

The instrument consisted of the following questions:

  • Why did you choose your dissertation topic?
  • Describe the rationale and just and democratic components of your dissertation.
  • How did your educational administration program inform you of the ethical and democratic significance of your dissertation?
  • How did your educational administration program’s professors encourage you to use your dissertation to inspire a just and democratic society?
  • Give an example of how you used the dissertation to inspire a just and democratic society.
  • After participating in this study, how will you use your dissertation to inspire a just and democratic society?”

These questions were designed to build a theory about doctoral graduates’ interpretations and uses of their dissertations for socially just reasons. In addition, the questions were designed to focus the participants’ attention to the possible need to use their work to promote justice and democracy in the profession and communities. Listed below are representative samples of the responses to these questions.

1. Why did you choose your dissertation topic?

The PhD graduates and EdD graduates indicated their dissertation studies emanated from the curiosity to examine a particular area of interest. Their inquiries eventually lead to exploring the just and democratic implications of the concept and surrounding issues.

Representative PhD graduate responses were:

“It was a subject I knew little about. I felt that vocational education had been treated poorly by most community college administrators, even though funds make vocational education the ‘cash cow’ of community colleges. I looked on it as an opportunity to explore a subject area I wasn’t familiar with.”

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Source:  OpenStax, The handbook of doctoral programs: issues and challenges. OpenStax CNX. Dec 10, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10427/1.3
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