Formal Training for the Informal Leader

Gabel, S. (2014). Expanding the scope of leadership training in medicine. Academic medicine89, 848-852.


Stewart Gabel (2014) in Expanding the Scope of Leadership Training in Medicine defines leadership in both formal and informal terms. Formal leadership is defined by a specific position, role, or title that one holds such as director, executive, president, or chair, while informal leadership is based on ones ability to affect change and attitudes in a non-title given role. For example, an informal leader would be a coordinator in higher education who does not have very many leadership responsibilities because of their title, but implements change through their personality and other interactions with both internal and external populations.

Qualities and characteristics found in formal leaders are a mastering of technical, financial, or regulatory formalities, positional based power, expert knowledge or education, and social and material awards and rewards (Gabel, 2014). While characteristics typically found in an informal leader are, powers derived from personality, relates to many co workers, have clinical competence, often times does not have formal leadership role (Gabel, 2014).

Gabel (2014) makes it known that not all informal leaders aspire to become a formal leaders. Often times an informal leader does not want the responsibility of making tough choices where they are the sole reciprocator of the outcomes, positive or negative. Extra responsibility may result in more working hours causing a change in lifestyles and may place greater time restrains on one’s personal life.

In the vast majority of organizations, informal leadership is the most common type of leader. It is for this reason that Gabel (2014) makes a point that there should be formal training for individuals in this type of role. The author emphasises the importance of transformational leadership training for informal leaders.

Transformational leadership focuses on idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Gabel, 2014). With basic training in these areas, an individual often times has higher ethical standards, strong communication skills, and are often able to inspire others to hold similar values (Gabel, 2014). It is important for informal leaders to have these skills as they are often times the greatest contact for other employees and outside populations. Even if at the moment, an informal leader does not want to take on a formal leadership roles early in their career, having the skills and competencies provided by transformational training, could help the informal leader later on in their career if they choose take on a formal leadership role.


The organization of the article was sequential having a very clear beginning, middle and end. It beginning with the descriptions of both formal and informal leaders and the roles they play within an organizations. Gabel (2014) almost immediately lays out his argument for formalized training for informal leaders and then builds his theoretical argument throughout the work. After stating basic definitions and his argument, Gabel (2014) breaks down qualities commonly found in both types of leaders, the different type of leadership and power, types of leadership styles, how to train informal individuals and then finished with his concluding remarks.

Although the piece is helpful with distinguishing between types of leaders found in a work environment, it contains little more than broad ideas. The paper lacks empirical data, direct examples, and does not provide a clear way of implementing formalized training programs. The work seems to lack rigor and substance to support its claims. The author also frequently relies on statements such as “informal leaders potentially are able…to motivate others” (Gabel, 2014, p. 850, ) due to their personality, however he never seems to address which traits helps one motivate others.

The ideas presented seem reasonable and logical making it easy to follow and understand. Essentially, the piece lays a foundation on to which to build research and outcomes. This article by Gable (2014) seems to act as a springboard to inspire individuals to begin thinking about their work environments and the roles each individual plays. It also begins to get the reader to think about how one would go about creating a program that would benefit each type of leader. Gable’s (2014) findings simply point out that we are all charged with being leaders at one point in our professional lives and we should know how to handle the leadership role with the assistance of formalized tools when the moment arises.

Personal Use

I would have to agree with the author that there should be a formal training in transitional leadership skills annually for employees. This article inspired me to look at the potential formalized leadership training could have on the College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM-P) staff. When establishing a growth plan for COM-P, I now may look at employee’s thoughts on professional training programs. This article also helped me realize that there are no current formalized training programs at the COM-P campus and no one to my knowledge has any plans of implementing one. This article helps me think about the types of leaders present on the COM-P campus and how to begin to establish and operate a professional program that would benefit employees on campus.

I believe that by possibly establishing a program available to informal leaders on the COM-P campus, that staff would have greater access to resources that could help them succeed in their current role, but possibly provide extra skills and access to other roles they may be interested in. I also believe that by providing a training, staff member may also experience a greater feeling of acceptance and overall happiness in their work environments due to being able to expand one’s skills set.

All in all, I believe that this article was great at sparking a lot of new ideas in regards to leadership and professional development, which are topics that I can look at when collecting data at the COM-P campus. This article also gave me a new branch in types of leadership which I can examine in my study as I begin to further develop my action research project.

Turning a New Leaf: The Realization of Exclusion

Teresa L. McCarty (2005) in the “Editor’s Introduction” of Indigenous Epistemologies and Education – Self-Determined, Anthropology, and Human Rights, discusses several insightful points about indigenous history, language, and education.

I know this article was short in length but it was full of great information that I had never considered before. Personally, I had never had a draw or connection with indigenous studies, articles, or news. Every so often, working in higher education, I would hear about different indigenous issues and brush it off. It was not really until this article and this doctoral class that I really begin to take a different stance at looking and considering the many influences affecting indigenous populations.

One of the main reasons that I began to connect and wonder about indigenous populations was the use of the term ‘ally’. In the last sentence of the article, McCarty (2005) states, “We hope the articles…assembled here lead the way toward transformation…for indigenous people and their allies to build the…cultural infrastructures required to nurture self-determination in education” (p. 4). It was the first time that I had even considered that indigenous people need an ally to help support and protect their interests. I was so used to the term ‘ally’ referring to the LGBTQ population, that I never considered that other populations would need the same support – support from those who are not indigenous or connected to indigenous cultures.

I was also fascinated about the complexities and importance of language to indigenous people. McCarty (2005) opened my eyes to the fact that indigenous populations speak approximately 5000 out of the 6000 known languages. However, although there are thousands of languages, languages are disappearing at an alarming rate which researchers refer to as linguicide (McCarty, 2005). A lot of the reason for their disappearance is the dominance of other languages specifically in educational and urban environments. The author emphasized that languages are epicenters to indigenous populations as they are carriers of identity, knowledge, and ways of knowing, underlining that with a loss of language, there is a loss of history and culture (McCarty, 2005). One way in which to preserve languages is through the implementation of indigenous languages in education. By implementing specific indigenous languages in targeted areas of education, we begin to protect that particular population’s culture and history.

One way that language can be revitalized in education is through universities and language development course work. By implementing programs and spaces for students to have everyday speaking interactions, education can help keep the language alive and thriving (McCarty, 2005). By helping to teach and keep these languages alive, we help support a population that was “burned by centuries of repression, marginalization,and negation” (McCarty, p. 4, 2005).

I am excited to be expanding my education by reflecting and engaging in new information. Because of this class and this article, I can definitely say that I will work on being a better and more educated ally. Which in turn means being more educated about many different types of educational aspects through a willingness to listen and discover new areas of education and its populations.


McCarthy, T. (2005). Indigenous epistemologies and education self-determination, anthropology, and human rights. Anthropology Education Quarterly, 36, 1-7.

External Factors on Organizations

Scott, W. R., & Davis, G. F. (2007). Organization of the environment. Organizations and organizing: rational, natural, and open system perspectives. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.


Scott & Davis (2007) in  Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives describes how an organization is a product of its environment. They draw the analogy to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, stating that only the strongest or most adaptable organizations survive. Chapter 5, “Organization of the Environment”,  describes how organizations are developed, how new organizational populations are created, how organizations are shaped by political and social influences, how organizations take on different forms by the demands of their populations, and how organizations strategically respond to all given demands.

In creating organizations, there is usually a meeting of minds. Often times these minds are of similar cultures, ideologies and ethnic backgrounds (Scott and Davis, 2007). Along with these individuals, it is highly likely that an external organization will take part in the birthing and nurturing of a new organization through different tips for success or through financial backing (Scott and Davis, 2007).

Most developing organizations use an existing target population as similar business. They have similar products and similar marketing strategies to their competitors and market to the same audiences. A great example of this would be a large grocery or department store. In targeting populations, new organizations often use current “imprinting”, which refers to a given set of noms and conditions that a population is already used to – for weeding out certain sections of a given population (Scott and Davis, 2007).

Once an organization is established, it fights for the limited resources in is subject specific arena. From populations to products, organizations are constantly shifting and molding to different external forces. According to Scott and Davis (2007), organizations have three types of frameworks for dealing with the social, political, and cultural strains on an organizations. These frameworks are regulative, normative, and cultural cognitive. The regulative framework is the most visible and easy to change element of an organization. It is often able to respond quickly to the demands of external factors. Normative is the day-to-day operations of the organization. This sections is slightly slower to respond to demands and often takes some getting used to by both the public and internal employees. Finally there is the cultural cognitive framework. This framework usually lies at the heart of the institution and is usually the hardest and slowest element to alter. It is traditionally made of the values and beliefs of the given organization. Often, the only way of changing this framework is through a complete reorganization of the institution, the disassembly of the organization, or through a merger where interests shift (Scott and Davis, 2007).

Finally, organizations often have to give into specific demands of their environment. For example, organizations will often respect the given cultural celebrations and customs of it given environment. By appeasing these customs, an organization shows that it is integrated into its given community. Scott and Davis (2007) also describe that organizations are bound by political factors and regulations outside of their control. For example, there are specific rules and regulations that all business have to abide by for public safety and social cohesion. If organizations do not follow these policies they risk being fined, sued, or shut down. Finally, Scott and Davis (2007) depict organizations as servants to the given resources and economic factors. Organizations will often times have to change strategies quickly to keep populations interested, purchasing, and happy. For example, with the economic downturn, many organizations had to lower their prices, lay off employees, or create new products in order to stay afloat.

Strengths and Critiques

The book chapter is clearly organized. The chapter opens with a brief introduction about organizations and their environments. It then discusses organizations from their conception, to their struggles, and concludes with their demise or triumph. This makes it easy for the reader to follow the theory and almost provides a visual about the life of an organization.

The contribution to the field is not very strong as it provides little information on how to build an organization, however, the article does provide insight into the initial success of organizations and provides a glimpse of why certain organizations fail or succeed. By providing a brief look at the stages of an organization, one is able to use this structure to reflect upon their specific institution to begin to understand the shortfalls and successes  of the organization due to its external environment.

Scott and Davis (2007) do not have strong data collection methods. Most of the information is built upon other research theorists within the given field. The strength of their theory relies upon  controlled situations and explanations of how basic commonalities are often seen in common organizational history.

Scott and Davis’ (2007) findings seem convincing as they use logical examples to explain and describe their theoretical ideals. It seems like their findings could be used as a reflective tool for both researchers and administration in an organization.

Personal Use

Compared to other readings that I have observed about organizational theory and development, Scott and Davis (2007) focus on the influences of external factors on an organizational environment rather than looking at the specific structure of the organization. This chapter developed a new research perspective that I can look at when developing a growth plan for the Academic Affairs Department at the College of Medicine – Phoenix. When looking at external factors, I need to consider the cultural, political and social impacts on the department and the university as a whole. I need to think of the budgetary factors involved as the main investor in the university are external persons. Although the budget is allocated by upper management at the university, the budget is determined by state legislators. This political factor could potentially affect a growth plan that I develop.

Shaking Up Logic and Methods

Before reading the content of White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology, edited by Tukufu Zuberi and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (2008), I was perplexed by the boldness of the title. I initially thought the book was going to go one of two ways, the first being focused on the harm white researchers have played throughout history (specifically in eugenics) or, second, the history of how white men looking at race have perpetuated racial methodologies about looking at race. I was soon to discover that it was much more complicated. To be honest, I had to read several sections of this book over again because the way race was presented by Zuberi (2008) was so different than typical research articles on the subject.

Most of the articles and books that I have read prior single out race as a major indicator or causality in their findings. Most of the previous research looks at the “effects of race” within their specific research field. However, Zuberi and Bonilla-Silva (2008) “suggest that when we discuss the ‘effect of race,’ we are less mindful of the larger social world in which the path to success or failure is influenced” (p.6), pointing out that “If we begin with a racially biased view of the world, then we will end with a racially biased view of what the data has to say” (p.8, 2008). Essentially, what I took from this is that one simply cannot look at the effects of race without understanding what the original influence is on the given situation (external factors). By just looking at the effects of race, one continues to perpetuate the biased view of the world just as Francis Galton did with his eugenics experiment to suggest racial hierarchy (Zuberi & Bonilla-Silva, 2008).  When Galton set out to find empirical data that showed racial hierarchy, he was already determined to show that there was a cause and effect relationship between genetics and race, hence, Galton was able to find data that suggested racial genetic differences to support his theory through molding the empirical data. Zuberi and Bonilla (2008) elegantly describe this situation, “empirical results may be a way to understand what is happening; however, these same data tell us very little about why it is happening.” (p.9).

I would have to agree with Zuberi and Bonilla (2008) in this instance. As researchers, we often get so caught up in getting specific results or seeing correlations that we often forget about the many factors and determinants that play into the empirical data we gain. At the beginning of this summer semester, I was taking another class that observed the effects of race in the K-12 system. Several assignments in the course asked us to reflect on given racial high school data and determine different ways to fix problems with the achievement gap in education between white and colored students based off of testing standards, grades, and dropout rates. So I would do as assigned, prescribing a remedy for the factors presented.

Looking back, it would have been beneficial to look at the resources that were provided to the students, the type of atmosphere, the learning practices and the effectiveness of the administrators in the high school rather than simply looking at diverse student’s success rates and test scores. Maybe looking at the bigger picture would have helped to develop a more accurate and effective answer than just looking at how to improve the grades and test scores of students of color.

Zuberi, T. (2008). White logic, white methods: racism and methodology. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Four Formidable Frames

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1991). Reframing organizations: artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


In Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal (1991), they use four common organizational frames – Human Resource, Political, Symbolic and Structural – to explain how to effectively organize, operate, utilize and change organizations and their work teams. The human resource frame explains how the feelings of individuals, teamwork relations, tailored skills, and work reflection assist an organization and its employees through human interaction and emotional development. The political frame describes the contest, conflict, negotiation, coercion, compromise, and a vie for power within individuals and institutions. The symbolic frame depicts the creativity, cultural, vibrant, social, and ceremonial aspects of leaders within organizations. The structural frame show us that standardization, supervision, hierarchy, stabilized environments, coordination, and organization can be extremely beneficial to the success or demise of an institution.

The frame work concept relies on these four frames to help explain why some businesses fail while others succeed. The same applies for the teams that manage these organizations. Bolman and Deal guide the reader through real world examples pointing out the chinks in many organizations structure. They then use these frames to illustrate how companies can better adapt and promote success in different institutions through using not just one frame independently, but by acting as a multiframe institution where all four frames are being used in many different facets.

At the end of the book, The authors provide a case study analysis of a new principal at ‘Richmond’ high school. They show a dysfunctional school system and decisions that were made over a several year period. Bolman and Deal (1991) then break apart the high school case study and explain how the different frames were used or could be used to assist in developing the high school further.

Validity (Strengths and Critiques):

When it comes to the data, the authors focus mainly on the implications of previous institutions successes and downfalls. Bolman and Deal (1991) use examples from a variety of professional fields from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to Mcdonalds, and from Harvard University to the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina. The authors rely little on abstract thoughts as they use real world examples to show the use of their organizational frames. The data also does not look at organizations as isolated beings, but as players in the same arena. This allows for a better understanding about the complexities of major business industries and allows for a better application of their ideas into common workplaces. However, it is important to point out that Bolman and Deal seperate the public and private sectors in their analysis as they believe each model interacts and deals with in a different type of organization manor. Bolman and Deal (1991) also acknowledge that specific people can often be the demise or saving grace of an organization to to their mastery or “artistry” of the individual (p.220).

The organization of the book is excellent. There is an introduction to the book and framing concept, a reflection on the information and examples used to support the concept, and then very detailed chapters that provide an in-depth look at each frame and how specific examples have used or not used that particular frame. The authors wrap everything up with a look at multiframe uses, ethics and the influence of external factors on all organization.

I believe that this concept is imperative to the education body of organizational development. Not only were many diverse examples of companies, schools, and businesses used, but the concept works for both the physical institution and employee development. By providing only four frames, it makes it easy to apply the information to personal situations, and provides an easy tool for evaluating a way to restructure organizations.

Personal Use:

This book, Reframing Organizations, is one of the reasons that I decided to focus on organizational structures in higher education. I seem to be able to see the practical application of their information. It was the first time that I saw how there are so many pieces to an organization that require constant attention and maintenance. It helped me to see that the basic hierarchical structure to an organization is not what makes or breaks a company, but the people, the companies ethics, the use of different talents, and the ability to manage in an ever changing environment. These are all factors that I will now have to consider when looking at organizing a growth plan.

I can use the frame concept as a springboard to develop a growth plan for the College of Medicine – Phoenix. The book gives me many different examples of great ways to help a business succeed or adapt, but nothing specific on developing growth models. However, Bolman and Deal  provide all the tools necessary to create a growth model through their examples and structural frames. For example, I can use this notion to show the importance of proper structure and team development. I can research different policies that have been implemented to make sure they are ethical and fully developed. I can also use the frame theory presented in this book to see if the Academic Affairs  and Student Affairs departments at the College of Medicine – Phoenix currently are using all the frames appropriately. If they are not, I can help to build the new frames into a new growth model. If the frames are being implemented correctly, then I can help build upon them and see the continuation of their development.

A Battle for Access

It’s scary how politics holds the reins over the educational system in the United States, particularly in regards to Arizona. ‘Keeping Up the Good Fight’: the said and unsaid in Flores v. Arizona (Thomas, Aletheiani, Carlson & Ewbank, 2014), paints a dark picture of the struggle in funding English Language Learning (ELL) programs in Arizona. Thomas (2014) depicts the struggle of ELL programs since 2001 by portraying the over twenty court cases, appeals, bills, and reforms in one linear chart (p.245-247). The chart provides only a snapshot of the struggle but shows the blatant disregard of Arizona’s politicians and society not protecting non-english speakers rights to be equally educated. The authors’ main argument can be summed in in one statement.

“Policies and practices follow a market-driven mentality in which the whims of supply and demand dictate who gets what, how much, how often and at what cost…language is left to the competitive market, a place where individuals and groups have to battle with each other for access” (Thomas et al., p. 250, 2014).

I hold this sentence to be representative of many of the struggles in education in the state of Arizona. The fact that Arizona’s legislators are more concerned with the bottom line than the improvement and success of those who need it is astounding. The ten years of fighting to disassemble ELL programs and the over 21 million dollars in fines that the state was willing to pay to not have to support students who were trying to learn english is a stark example of the growing disparity in education. Although this article only shows us the struggle of ELL programs and those in them, Tyrone Howard in Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools (2010), shows us the growing disparity between white and nonwhite students. A large reason for this growing disparity is due to the racial inequality throughout the history of the United States. This history of racial inequality is then reflected by Arizona’s resistance to help underprivileged groups such as non-english speakers.

I am also disappointed to say that the fault not only lies on the shoulders of Arizona’s politicians, but on Arizona’s society as well. I am ashamed to admit that I was not very aware of the struggles with funding ELL programs in Arizona. One of the reasons I (an active participant in Arizona) did not know about the programs is I took little to know time to even find out about or care about it. I was more focused on problems that I saw more pertinent such as higher education funding, taxation, teacher pay, and other various community issues. In this barrage of political topics, I neglected to even think of others outside my direct scope. I briefly remember reading the headlines in the local newspaper about ELL programs but glanced over it because it did not pertain to me. It was not until I read this article that I really began to understand the struggles of non-english speakers in the K-12 education system.

This article shows that it is important to listen to those affected by our political system. It should not take fines and court rulings for us as a society to listen to quieter voices. If people are asking for help so that they can succeed within our educational system, we should listen to their needs, not to the economic bottom line. One should not have to beg and file lawsuits to get educational programs that help them assimilate into a society in which they belong, we should encourage them by giving them the financial and physical resources support they need. By helping others grow as contributing, educated members of society, we help our community grow and learn in the process.



Howard, T. (2010). Why Race and Culture Matters in Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap in America’s Classrooms.  New York, NY: Teacher’s Press

Thomas,M.,  Aletheiani, D., Carlson, D. & Ewbank, A. (2014). Keeping Up the Good Fight: the said and unsaid in Flores v. Arizona. Policy Futures In Education. Vol. 12.


Theory of Mobility and Behavior in Organizations: An Inquiry Into the Consequences of Some Relationships Between Individual Performance and Organizational Success.

Jacobs, D. Toward a Theory of Mobility and Behavior in Organizations: An Inquiry Into the Consequences of Some Relationships Between Individual Performance and Organizational Success. American Journal of Sociology, 87, 684-707. Retrieved May 27, 2014, from .

David Jacobs in “Toward a Theory of Mobility and Behavior in Organizations: An Inquiry Into the Consequences of Some Relationships Between Individual Performance and Organizational Success” (1981) begins to model how individuals can positively or negatively impact their larger organizations. He brought three examples into perspective, in regards to determinantes of a relationship between an organization and an individual. The first example showed how a professor of an academic institution received the pulitzer prize. This individual not only brought spotlight to himself, but to their organization. This person and their academic institution were then able to affect different resources to their favor compared to another research whose subject area and research are just as important but did not receive an award. In this second case, an individual effects change on a smaller level and brings little advantage or disadvantage to the institution. Jacobs  third example shows how an individual who does exemplary work at his or her job may not stand out or make their institution stand out, however when the individual does poorly, it can dramatically influence the company or institution negatively. A good example of this can be seen with an airline pilot. If the pilot has an error in landing or in flight, it could hurt the companies stock and customer base compared to if he perfectly lands the aircraft, there would be little reward for the pilot or the company. Jacobs (1981), also acknowledges that not all employees at an institution work or are reliant upon themselves and that often times other individuals or departments are responsible for collective work. In these cases, four relationships between an individual and the organization were looked at…


“(1) whether interdependence between positions is pooled or sequential,

(2) whether individual success in various organizational positions is common or infrequent

(3) whether positions are located in organizations which cannot receive much credit for an exemplary performance, and

(4) whether positions are located within subunits whose performance has limited effects on the performance of the total organization” (Jacobs, pg. 691, 1981).


Much of the research in the article relied upon others organizational structures and theories. Jacobs relied upon established examples of careers and the general public knowledge about the roles of particular individuals within society. He used his Theory of Mobility to show how an individual’s movements are structured based off of the organization of an institution. Jacobs was able to depict how some types of jobs provide/require a different mobility structure based off of his 3 general mobility classifications. What Jacobs discovered was that industries can begin to predict and outline the success of employees and institutions based off of their mobility structure.

The organization of the article was coherent, however it could have used more titles to give the reader the ability to go back and look at specific examples. It seemed to run quite long with examples.

The contribution to the the overall organizational field is minor, as a majority of the information deals with broad generalizations. However, it is beneficial to those inexperienced in different organizational  structures and expectations. It gets the mind to consider the roles and growth of their institutional field.

The strength of this article was his ability to classify individuals performance structures and how one can succeed or fail within a given organizational environment. Jacobs constantly uses his three organizations performance models through the entirety of the article and examples to solidify his research.

However, I felt the theory lacked when trying to depict mobility examples of how an individual can break away from their specific groups. For example, what happens when an individual begins to take on the vast majority of the work on their team? Who gets the credit? The team or the individual? The article also lacked in specific, tested examples, and relied on a basic understandings of particular careers and their functions.

Jacobs does well in the introduction and concluding summary in conveying his theory and its application to the reader.

This article sparked a new avenue that I would like to look at and pursue within creating and organizational structure for the College of Medicine Phoenix. Prior to this article, I was unable to articulate why it is important to have a mobility structure in place or how to begin to look at the movement of individuals within the institution. Because of this piece I will be able to build a stronger argument for developing a strong growth structure for the Academic Affairs Department. I can use this information to help create a positive mobility structure within the department to help encourage employee growth and retention as it provided a way to measure the effects of different types of individual performances at an institution.

I would like to further the study by trying to practically apply this theory in developing and organizational growth structure at the College of Medicine – Phoenix campus. Hopefully by using a theory based model, I will be able to more clearly see the holes in the theory and depict whether the theory actually works. By attempting to implement the actual study I will hopefully build on what the study/article was missing. Physical application.


The Impact on Higher Education: Is Creating a New Doctoral Degree Worth it?

After reading Reclaiming Education’s Doctorates: A Critique and a Proposal by Lee Shulman, Chris Golde, Andrea Conklin Bueschel and Kristen Garabedian (2006), I pondered if a Professional Practitioners Degree (PPD) is a step in the right direction as  I agree that having a distinction between a PhD in Education and a Practitioner’s degree is important and relevant to the times. However, after much thought, I would argue that it is more of a hindrance.

One challenge that the article failed to develop was the difficulties in creating a new degree. The article mentions that creating a new degree lets one start at “ground zero” thus being able to create the exact degree one would like (Shulman, 2006). This statement seems to ring true, however it does not acknowledge the complexities of creating a well respected degree. A new degree lacks history, proven effectiveness, and quantity in field examples. How could one presume that a new degree without any standing would gain more respect in the academic community than the current degree already in place? What then happens to people with an EdD? Are they expected to go back and get a second degree to gain get more academic respect? Who is then in charge of making sure that the new degree maintains its intended integrity? All of these questions are rather large and unlikely to have an answer until a degree is implemented. In saying this I believe that revamping the EdD is the route to go.

In the past several years, large, prestigious universities began revamping their EdD programs – University of Southern California, Harvard, University of Washington, Vanderbilt. From personal observation, when large, prestigious universities begin to make changes, other large, prestigious universities begin to make similar changes. Thus, in this case, creating a national spur of revamping and redefining the EdD. I believe this rings true for ASU as well. A couple years ago, when I first started looking into ASU’s EdD, there were two different tracks. One was demolished and the program was remodeled. Part of the remodel (rumor has it) was due to budget constraints and for redefining the difficulty and purpose of the EdD. I dont know if it was mere coincidence, or just timing, but none-the-less the EdD at ASU is being redefined even if just for growth purposes. This would seem to support the ideas that there is a national shift beginning to happen in regards to reinvigorating the EdD programs. With this shift, it would seem better to keep the EdD rather than establishing a PPD.


Shulman, L., Golde, C., Bueschel, A., & Garabedian, K. Reclaiming Education’s Doctorates: A Critique and a Proposal. Educational Researcher, 43, 25-32. Retrieved May 1, 2014, from the ASU Blackboard database.