Posts Tagged ‘writing’

A doctoral program includes more than just attending and passing courses. As the highest level of formal learning, it is important to develop skills in scholarly writing, literature reviews, critical analysis, and making recommendations. These skills transfer to the dissertation process and the colloquium provides a strong foundation upon which to build.

After completing the core foundations and research courses, doctoral students are asked to begin to explore the literature about a chosen topic that will eventually lead to a dissertation topic. According to our doctoral handbook,

This requires the student to write a scholarly paper and to present that paper in a formal, public seminar to the educational community. Presentations are scheduled each summer. The scholarly expectation is that the paper will not be simply descriptive, but will also include (the student’s and not someone else’s) analysis and evaluation. This will generally require the student to state and defend his/her own thesis about the topic.”

After multiple edited drafts of the paper, the students present their papers in formal and public forums that are held each summer. Students present their papers in a research presentation format. They are limited to 20 minutes that is followed by a question and answer period. This format is modeled after the format of a research conference.

Below is a list of the 2015 Colloquium papers being presented this year. There are a wide variety of educational topics that reflect the varied professional and personal interests of the students. Each session will be held in the library seminar room from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

July 14, 2015

Principal Perceptions of Preparation for Leadership in Special Education, Jennifer Norton

Learning to Doing: Bioethics Action in Nursing Care, Heidi Monroe

The Relationship between Cognitive Gap on Conflict and Coping Behavior of Superintendent School Board Teams, Doug Asbjornsen

The Impact of Metacognitive Practice on Academic Achievement, Nalline Baliram

July 15, 2015

Group Supervision: Theory and Practice, Stacy Mehlberg

Foundations for School Improvement, Anna Horton

Motivational Interviewing: A Potential Tool for Secondary School Counselors, Reagan North

July 16, 2015

Literacy for Students with Down Syndrome: A Curriculum in Flux, Margaret Dornay

The Role of Executive Function Skills in Kindergarten Readiness, Amy Wright

The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavior Therapy as a School wide Positive Behavior Intervention, Omar Flores

A Review of School Psychology and Positive Behavior Intervention and Support, Homero Flores

July 21, 2015

Teacher Feedback and Student Self-Efficacy, Tammy Small

Understanding the Challenges Novice Programmers Face in Introductory Computer Programming Courses, Jim Mendes

The Impact of Sheltered Observation Protocol on the Learning of ELL Students, Miriam Mickelson

The Practice of Mindfulness to Reduce Stress Among Educators, Kaley Rankine

July 22, 2015

Assessing Creativity, Jeffrey Youde

Effects of Shame Resiliency Theory in Women, Christy Baumann

Principal Turnover: Identification and Utility of Contributing Factors, Kathleen Cifu


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I began my doctoral work at Seattle Pacific University in 2006. The journey has been long but extremely rewarding. Upon further reflection, I have really enjoyed my time at SPU from start to finish. I have no regrets. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about starting doctoral work to take a serious look at what the School of Education at SPU has to offer. I remember feeling hesitant and a bit fearful about starting my doctoral work, but once that class began all the way back in 2006, I knew that SPU was the right place for me. Those feelings of fear and hesitation quickly dissipated once I began my first class. The key was taking that first step.

Perhaps you are like me. You have a family to look after and you are unsure about completing a doctorate. When I began at SPU, my oldest child was two. Over the next four years two more kids followed. Two of my three children were born while I was a doctoral student. Moreover, I live in Kitsap County, and it takes over an hour to get to SPU. I often took the bus and occasionally rode my bike. (Once I even rode my bike in the snow, but not on purpose.) Maybe you have a good teaching job, like I do, but now you are looking for that next challenge.

I have taught public school for eight years and in this time I have worked with 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students. I earned National Board certification in 2005, coached 11 seasons of junior high sports, taught physical education, language arts, horticulture, math, social studies, and even summer school. Perhaps you have taught for many years, or just a few. However, if you are reading this, you are probably feeling like I was a few year ago. You are looking for that next challenge or that next step in your educational career.

Being a doctoral student has been the most meaningful professional growth experience I have had as an educator. The reason for this is that I have become familiar with important educational theories, developed a set of research skills, and formed relationships with professors and fellow doctoral students at SPU. These have all served me very well since I began at SPU in 2006. For instance, I have written one article (Denton_2009) for an educational journal[i] and have worked with a professor at SPU on other writing projects. Likewise, I have co-taught a class with a fellow doctoral student and, as part of a class titled Topics and Issues in Global Education, I traveled to Russia and participated in a conference at the Black Sea Academy.

When I began the program at SPU I promised myself that I would make the most of each class, learn as much as I could from each professor, and immerse myself in each experience to maximize my learning. I believe that I have done all of these things. Although I have a family and teach fulltime, I have made the most of my doctoral work.

You may have seen one of SPU’s motivational phrases around campus or on the University’s website; it reads “the place where world change begins.” One could dismiss this phrase as a bit idealistic, except I think that my doctoral work at SPU has prepared me to change my small corner of the world. With regard to my career, this means being an effective teacher and a resource for my school. However, I expect in the months ahead that opportunities will present themselves for which I can use the full range of what I have learned as a doctoral student at Seattle Pacific University.

David W. Denton

Doctoral Student, Seattle Pacific University

Public School Teacher

[i] Denton, D. (2009). Reflection and learning: Characteristics, obstacles, and implications. Educational Philosophy and Theory. Retrieved February 28, 2010, from http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123215174/abstract 

Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawleyjr/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/alisa7248/

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