The Scholarly Practitioner as Steward of the Practice

The Scholarly Practitioner as Steward of the Practice

Jill Alexa Perry (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0445-0.ch019
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This chapter reports on the results of a study that analyzed 83 student interviews and 225 student responses to open-ended questionnaire from across 21 schools of education to better understand how these students have become scholarly practitioners as a result of their education doctoral (Ed.D.) program. Applying the theoretical frames of the education profession and the Steward of the Practice, the chapter utilizes a qualitative approach to learn how students and graduates of CPED-influenced Ed.D. programs describe becoming Scholarly Practitioners and learning to apply theory to their own practice as a means to change local context.
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Since the creation of the Ed.D. at Harvard College in 1921, the purpose and goals for this degree have been murky (Author, 2014), resulting in its nickname the “Ph.D. lite” (Shulman, Golde, Beuschel & Garabedian, 2006, p. 27). Eighty plus years of scholarly inquiry into the differences between the Ed.D. and the Ph.D. have produced little distinction or understanding. Yet, despite considerable attention and calls to elimination of one (Clifford & Guthrie, 1990; Deering, 1998) or both (Levine, 2007) degrees, little reform has resulted.

In January 2007, the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) was launched as a response to the Shulman, Golde, Bueschel, and Garabedian (2006) call to schools of education to define each degree clearly or “risk becoming increasingly impotent in carrying out their primary missions—the advancement of knowledge and the preparation of quality practitioners” (p. 25). Their plea came at the climax of this debate. Work being undertaken at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching under then president Lee Shulman was directed on two areas: the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) wanted to understand research doctoral preparation across six disciplines, and the Preparation for the Professions Program (PPP) investigated professional preparation in six fields.1 Findings from both these projects confirmed the need to distinguish the education doctorate (Ed.D.) from the research doctorate (Ph.D.) in education and to clarify the purpose of the Ed.D.

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