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Steps in Dissertation Process

Step I:   Dissertation Advisor


All students will be assigned an academic advisor upon admission to the program. As the student starts to take dissertation credits, a dissertation advisor will be assigned. The choice of a student’s chairperson will depend on their topic and the expertise of the faculty. The dissertation advisor must be a member of the Ed.D. Core Faculty or Special Faculty, a member of the Graduate School faculty, and approved by the Ed.D. Program Director. 



                Step II: Dissertation Topic


Students will identify an area of interest for their applied, action research project – dissertation.    The focus of the research is on improving practice through continual learning and problem solving.  The research is practical, relevant, and informs theory. Critical reflection, a strong theme in this program, is central to the careful examination of evidence that underlies action research.  Students will be given opportunities to develop questions that are central to their workplace laboratories.  Students will also be encouraged to develop their Program of Study in a way that is aligned with their interests and goals. Many of the learning experiences in the program can be used as steps of progressive inquiry in formulating their dissertation topics and questions.   


                Step III: Committee Selection/Formulation


The student, in consultation with the dissertation advisor, will invite two other faculty to serve on the committee.  The committee should have at least one member from the Creighton Faculty.  The third member can be another Creighton faculty member, adjunct faculty or an appropriate experienced member representing the practice community. The dissertation committee must be approved by the Dissertation Chairperson, the Ed.D. Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate School. 


                Step IV: Initial Development of Proposal


As part of ILD 809 Leadership Seminar 2: Mid-Program Reflection and Dissertation Design, students will prepare a preliminary draft that outlines their dissertation area and emerging questions.  In addition, there will be formative review to ensure satisfactory progress with the Professional Performance Portfolio by the supervisory committee.  The final evaluation of the Personal Professional Portfolio prepared by the student is conducted by the candidacy review committee prior to the oral defense of the dissertation. 


                Step V: Submission and Approval of Proposal


After receiving candidacy, a student is eligible to propose his or her dissertation. When the student and the dissertation chairperson have agreed that the proposal is ready, the dissertation proposal will be distributed to committee members. The dissertation proposal will be discussed and approved through a teleconference as part of the requirement for the completing the first three units of the dissertation ILD 899. Students will not be able to register for additional units until the dissertation proposal approved has been signed off by their dissertation committee chair and committee members.


                Step VI: Data collection and writing


Students will collect data for their dissertation while signed up for ILD 899 credits. They may choose to make an appointment with the Online Writing Center or the Grants Office for some help with their writing and/or statistical analyses.  


                Step VII: Format Options for Dissertation             


The program is a practitioner-based degree program with the aim of finding a balance between practice and research/inquiry.  The cultivation of inquiry-driven leadership is an underlying goal of the program.  The dissertation should be a monograph or series of articles that can be disseminated with the appropriate audiences.  The American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual is the style of choice for the completed dissertations.  A student may petition the dissertation committee and the Graduate Program Director for an exception. 


                Collaboration: Candidates may work collaboratively with other classmates who may be interested in the same problem.  In this case, the study must have sub-problems that the individual candidate can identify and explore. 


                Step VIII: Defense and Approval of the Dissertation


When the candidate has completed an adequate draft of the dissertation and the dissertation advisor believes the dissertation is ready for a formal defense then the candidate will enroll in ILD 810 Leadership Seminar 3:  Portfolio Review and Dissertation Defense. This is the final course in the program and is a face-to-face campus event. For the dissertation, the candidate will provide an oral presentation to the dissertation committee which will be followed by a question and answer session. The oral presentation is open to the public while the committee question and answer exchange is only for the committee, Graduate Dean and the candidate.