ATU’s First Doctoral Graduates Earn Degrees

Eight educational professionals from across Arkansas are the first doctoral graduates in Arkansas Tech University history.

Those earning the Doctor of Education degree in school leadership at the completion of the spring 2017 semester are (photographed, left-to-right):

*Cindy Rice, academic facilitator, Heritage High School (Rogers)
*Keri Rathbun, principal, Kimmons Junior High School (Fort Smith)
*Mary Ann Spears, superintendent, Lincoln Consolidated School District
*Tiffany Bone, visiting assistant professor of educational leadership, Arkansas Tech University
*Cody Chatman, principal, Greenwood Junior High School and Freshman Center
*Ivy Pfeffer, assistant commissioner, Arkansas Department of Education
*Christopher Johnson, assistant principal, Jacksonville High School
*Keith McGee, principal, Mann Magnet Middle School (Little Rock)

The formal steps involved in creating the Doctor of Education degree in school leadership began in July 2010, when the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees approved a letter of intent notifying the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) that the university was developing a Doctor of Education program.

One month later, the board approved a letter of intent to ADHE concerning the change in role and scope necessary to allow Arkansas Tech to offer doctoral programs.

In November 2010, the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees approved the program proposal that outlined the Doctor of Education degree as developed by the faculty in the Arkansas Tech Center for Leadership and Learning.

The following years saw a site visit by an out-of-state review team in March 2012 and program reviews by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB), all of which led to a decision by the AHECB on July 25, 2014, to grant Arkansas Tech a change in role and scope and permission to begin offering a Doctor of Education degree in school leadership.

The final piece of the puzzle was put in place in May 2015 when the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, granted accreditation for the Arkansas Tech Doctor of Education degree.

The program is designed for K-12 education professionals who currently serve or wish to serve in school district leadership positions.

For more information about the ATU Doctor of Education degree in school leadership, visit www.atu.edu/gradcollege/degree-EdD.php.

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