Posts Tagged ‘admissions’

Working as a school psychologist in the northwest for the past eight years, I was ready for a change. In the Fall of 2012, I had a “heart to heart” conversation with my supervisor/mentor and spoke to her about my interest in continuing my educational journey. At the time, I was interested in becoming a director of special education, and wondered which schools offered such a program. In speaking with my mentor, she mentioned, “You can go the easy route and do an online administrator credential from a less reputable institution, or you can enroll in one of the better programs like Seattle Pacific University.” As we discussed my future, she went on to share that she had received her Ed.D. from SPU and spoke very highly of its professors and the positive learning environment. I was motivated to apply and by the Winter of 2013, I was enrolled in my first course! As with any new experience, I had some trepidation in returning to school, and not being affiliated with a particular denomination, was apprehensive about SPU being a faith-based institution. Nevertheless, I decided to have an open mind and submitted myself to the experience.Omar Flores_SPU

Taking courses for the program administrator credential at the Olympia campus was incredibly convenient and beneficial in my return to school. I found the instructors at SPU to be well rounded; with “real world experiences”, humble but firm, and immediately made me feel welcome in the classroom. My apprehensions about attending a faith based institution quickly diminished; and I found some advantages to SPU. One of the major advantages was the camaraderie and sense of community created by the instructors. Compared to past educational experiences, which were rigid and “cut throat” in nature, SPU presented as flexible and compassionate in their approach to learning.

In June of 2014 I received my program administrator credential from SPU. By that time, my vision as an educator and dreams for the future had evolved. So motivated was I from my experience at SPU, that I decided to apply for the Ph.D. in Education program. I was accepted and began my coursework that very summer.

As I write this piece, I am now into my third quarter in the Ph.D. program. For the first time in my life, I feel I am where I truly belong. Compassionate professionals and a community of educators with a higher sense of purpose surround me. My professors, for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, support and challenge me. I am encouraged by the possibilities the future holds for me in education. My interest continues to be in the field of special education, and my hopes are to become a professor specializing in school psychology one day. In the immediate, my role is to provide educational leadership in my schools, and to be an encouraging example to educators who desire to make positive change in their community. I am keenly aware of the influence I have on underrepresented youth disenfranchised from their schools that may need a role model/mentor to push them along their educational journey. I strive make a positive impact on a daily basis.

Taking the next step has been the most rewarding experience in my educational journey. I am grateful for making the decision to go to SPU to advance my career in education. As with any journey, the first step should be planned toward success!


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Alex JohnLast year I decided to take the leap. I am currently a high school counselor and I was looking for the next thing in my career. At the Washington Education Association (WEA) state conference in 2012 I happened to pass a booth that SPU was at and noticed that there was a PhD program in counselor education. The light bulb went on in my head – I could get a degree in counselor education and work with the next generation of professional school counselors?! Sign me up! After dragging my feet (and brain) to the GRE testing center – I survived yeah!! – I began my journey of becoming a college educator.

The courses that I have taken at SPU have me reflecting on my practice as a counselor, educator and learner. I look forward to continually stretching myself and discovering new topics of interest. Most recently I have been fascinated with Self-Efficacy and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Studying these topics allows me to think about how I can apply them to my school program.

I look forward to working with future and current counselors throughout my PhD program and beyond. Sharing my experiences and learning from new student’s insights will bring another element to my practice and allow me to always be learning!

Alex currently serves as a School Counselor at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, WA. 

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With good reason only a small percentage of people pursue and complete a doctoral degree. Earning a doctoral degree demonstrates attainment of the highest levels of knowledge and thinking available in formal education. The work is rigorous, challenging, and time consuming.

It’s best to chunk challenging tasks into doable parts. You can think of doctoral studies are a series of hoops to jump through… taking admissions tests, getting admitted, taking coursework, passing comprehensive exams, conducting dissertation research. But the pursuit of a doctoral degree is much more than jumping through hoops and completing products. While those earning a doctoral degree reap tangible benefits such as increased earning potential and professional opportunities, the processes involved can also be exceptionally rewarding in many other intangible ways.

The cognitive challenges presented during a rigorous doctoral program can drive students (along with faculty) to develop and grow. Synthesis, critical analysis of historical and current ideas, debate, application of ideas to professional contexts, and pursuit of new information are hallmarks of this level of learning. For many, these sorts of cognitive challenges are highly motivating. A love of learning and doctoral studies often goes hand in hand.

The professional and personal relationships built during doctoral studies will last a lifetime. Students and faculty spend time in the “trenches” together and the collaboration, support, and development of ideas cement relationships that pay multiple dividends. Many who earned degrees years ago remain in contact with professors and fellow students. The semi-cohort model employed in SPU’s doctoral programs, along with close interactions built with faculty members during mentoring and dissertation processes, ensures rewarding relationships for years to come.

Doctoral studies should be viewed holistically and the multiple rewards of the journey, along with the more tangible benefits, are to be cherished.

Andrew Lumpe, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Director of Doctoral Programs

Photo Credits-Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/fncll/

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