Bachelor of .Art, Metropolitan State University of Minnesota, 2003

Master of Business Administration, Argosy University, 2005

A Paper Submitted to Dr. William Kelly of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree DOCTOR OF EDUCATION



Copyright © 2006

Alyou Alem Tebeje




This paper will try to explore the impact of Doctor of Education (EDD) students at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN) lives style, how they feel about their educational experiences. The reports on data gathered from an exploratory study designed to study the impact of EDD study at on students’ life style. Based on data from the interviews, similar positive pattern was evident when examining the attitude towards the Doctoral study. The study is designed to explore the attitudes of the Doctoral students in EDD programs K12 and Higher educational leadership. This study deals with declines in family time, finance burdens and the positive side of the study is to gain more knowledge and enthusiastic to their lives by building up a positive attitude and a fine personality. SMUMN prepares students to be leaders, in research and the development of new knowledge and applications in the field. The student pursuing EDD is expected to develop positive attitude and a fine personality, since the believes education makes the difference



The Impact of EDD Study on SMUMN Students Lives styles


This study is aimed to gain a better understanding of the doctoral education experience at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMUMN) Doctor of Education (EDD) program, to learn about the impact of the study on students’ life of the socialization process. Many of us are talked about our experiences as doctoral students. Some of us have spoken about the declines of time for family or to travel, finance burdens (living cost, tuitions, etc) and gaining more knowledge was the positive aspect of attending at SMUMN, the coursework, research and other assistantship, and the job search. Because every journey starts with a single step, the goal of this study is to help readers weigh the factors related to pursue an EDD degree, as well as to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of students’ life on pursuing doctoral education.

The Doctoral study although it has not attracted much attention in the past has long been a distinct sector in higher education. In the past few decades Doctoral education has undergone major changes in many aspects. One of the main motives underlying these changes is to find a better way to support Doctoral students. To satisfy this need, this paper investigates doctoral students’ learning experiences in education attempts to answer the question: how do doctoral students in education perceive their learning experiences


Purpose of the Study

The purpose this research was to examine the nature of doctoral students’ experiences, the meanings students attach to these experiences, and through this .knowledge to develop better understandings of the factors that contribute to the persistence of pursue the doctorate. The study of the doctoral degree is a highly individualistic process, in no way the two students’ journeys are the same and nor should they be. The aim of this study is to know the impact of doctoral degree on the students’ life. It is important to take these differences into account when planning different ways of approach. To some extent information searching can be learned, but there will always be differences in the ways different people seek information. There can never be only one way to approach the search problem, why then have just one search design. They will still to some extent hold their previous behavior and can never be taught exactly how to search in every situation.

Background of the Study

SMUMN began its doctoral program in Educational Leadership in 1995.The primary mission of the SMUMN is to prepare individuals for leadership positions in a variety of post-secondary educational organizations. The doctoral program focuses on the processes and environments emerging around the globe that are connecting learners with knowledge in new ways. The doctoral program was designed to create such new educational leaders that are connecting learners with knowledge in new ways. SMUMN is a multipurpose university whose roots date back to 1912 ( Patrick R. Heffron (, the second bishop of Winona founded Saint Mary’s as a junior college to provide higher education for young men in southern Minnesota’s Diocese of Winona. In 1925, ( the Junior College became a four-year degree-granting institution under the name of Saint Mary’s College. The graduate education was added in 1938.

The SMUMN is true to its “Lasallian heritage in Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s belief in meeting the needs of the people of the times,” ( Religious life today, as we all know, if full of uncertainty. About the only thing that seems certain is that the religious life in structured religious institutes is not what it used to be, but the University continues to be increasingly attractive to our diverse audience of students serving local, national, and international students provides positive learning environment.

Delimitation and Limitations of the Problem

The design of the interview questions allowed me to meet face-to-face, as a researcher to have a good discussion with study participants. Otherwise, I would have been less likely to use telephone or electronic mail for the benefit of having good information about the problem, sharing very personal experiences while at the same time we remain relative strangers according to the traditional conventions of interpersonal relationships. The electronic mail and telephone interview may limit to good information.

The electronic and telephone communication can be unsettling and may be less effective to participate in such a study. There are a few limitations that create potential weaknesses for this study. The first is that the purposive sampling of interviewees limits the generalizeablity of findings. The other limitation, the findings could be arguable, is inherent in qualitative studies. The findings, in this case that there isn’t affordable software, could be arguable. The first and most significant delimitation that the researcher places on the study is that the researcher will narrow the scope of the research to a specific interview questions about the impact of the EDD on students life at SMUMN. It is necessary for me to ask these five questions, which is the researcher will place on this study is that the researcher will narrow the scope of the research to the impact of EDD on students’ life.

Statement of the Problem

The problem focuses in this study connects the above ideas, to explore and understand the impact of the EDD students during their study at SMUMN. As of the review the literature will show, prominent scholars’ studded indicate the cost, finance, time, family are the challenge for the students. Students at SMUMN are also facing the same problem during their study. The challenge lies in balancing coursework, assistantship, and other personal responsibilities such as time for family responsibilities or has a vacation, finance, time and many reasons that go with this package. There are many reasons as to why a doctoral degree is beneficial, but someone must decide why she/he wants a Doctoral degree. Students should have clear understanding of why you are pursuing a doctoral degree. This is important to address because pursuing a Doctoral degree is a serious fulfillment of a responsibility.

There will be times when the only thing that gets you through the process knows why they are in school in the first place and what the ultimate pay off for you will be. If you are not sure about why you want to pursue a doctoral degree, you might be better off waiting until you have a better understanding of why you want to go back to school. The students can attest to the fact that pursing a doctoral degree is hard work. With that being said, why would anyone want to pursue a doctoral degree? Why Do I Need a Doctoral Degree? This is a simple, yet fundamental question.

Research Questions

This study examines the stories of graduate students’ life’s and the factors which impact on doctoral degree progress and student attrition. Education is important to all of us, but we want to know biggest challenge of students facing by attending the EDD degree here at SMUMN. What would be the challenge to make it, we want to know the financial burdens, family, time; the stress levels of the students, and other factors. If they will not be able to afford it, then we want to know why they should stay in college rather than go out to the real world and enjoy their life. We framed the following five questions to initiate and guide the narratives that we believe are crucial factors in deciding on the impact of pursuing an EDD study in leadership on SMUMN student’s lives.

  1. Since beginning this program, what changes have occurred in your life?
  2. What have been the major impacts of attending St. Mary’s doctoral program on your life?
  3. How would you rate those changes on an ordinal scale as to their impact on your life? (1 highest impact)
  4. Why did you rank X as first? And Y as second? And Z as third?
  5. Is there anything else you would like to share that has not been addressed?

Research Hypotheses

The purpose of this study is to show pursuing an EDD study in leadership on SMUMN does create an unhealthy environment on students’ life. It is important to know both sides of the story. With a well-balanced discussion, studying with moderate amounts of cost and time can be beneficial (Anfara, Brown, & Mangione, 2002). Still, this study is aimed at provide a complete picture of the studies that have been conducted on doctoral studies in other universities and institutes of higher education.

Research Justification

My research interests in graduate education of SMUMN. We SMUMN students have already listed the challenges and reasons as to why a doctoral degree is beneficial, but you must decide why you want a doctoral degree. Is your career advancement dependent on more education? If so, is the doctorate the right degree for you to pursue or would a master’s or specialist’s degree accomplish the same objective? Are you considering a return to school because it is the only thing you want to do, or are you going to school because it is the only thing you know how to do.

People who have gone to school nonstop know what we mean; or is someone living vicariously though you, (Anfara, Brown, & Mangione, 2002)? If you are considering a terminal degree because being a student is the only think you know how to do or because someone else is living vicariously though you, then we strongly urge you to reevaluate you decision to return to school. In many ways, pursuing a terminal degree is a solitary endeavor, requiring a certain degree of selfishness. If your heart is not in it, then do not pursue the terminal degree.

Definitions of Terms


Accoding to, an alumnus and alumna both come from Latin and preserve Latin plurals. Alumnus is a masculine noun whose plural is alumni, and alumna is a feminine noun whose plural is alumnae. Coeducational institutions usually use alumni for graduates of both sexes. But those who object to masculine forms in such cases may prefer the phrase alumni and alumnae or the form alumnae/i, which is the choice of many women’s colleges that have begun to admit men.


 Provide evidence for; stand as proof of; show by one’s behavior, attitude, or external attributes authenticate, affirm to be true, genuine, or correct, as in an official capacity; “I attest this signature” 3: give testimony in a court of law.


A defined population group followed prospectively in an epidemiological study generational group as defined in demographics, statistics, or market research


According to Wikipedia, a doctorate is an academic degree of the highest level. Traditionally, the award of a doctorate implies recognition of the candidate as an equal by the university faculty under which he studied. There are essentially three types of doctorates: research, terminal/professional, and honorary.

Honorary Doctorates

According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, a honorary doctorates are awarded for a substantial contribution to a field that need not be academic in character.

Doctor of Education (EDD)

According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, a person who has earned the highest academic degree awarded by a college or university in a specified discipline or a person awarded an honorary degree by a college or university.


Hands-off style

Philosophy is generally a hands-off style. It is felt employees should use their own skills, expertise, and creativity to get the job done, while still being able to turn to management for guidance and direction when needed.

Terminal degree

According to Wikipedia-encyclopedia, a terminal degree is the generally accepted highest earned academic degree in a field of study. While a doctorate is considered the terminal degree in most fields of study, other disciplines may consider different degrees as terminal degrees.



Review of the Literature

Introduction to the Literature

In the following research the author of this article present the impact of the doctoral students experience as doctoral student and the issues at the students surrounding to their studies, (Kerlin, 1995). This study reflects the impact of doctoral study on financial, time, and other factors surrounding their program during the study, by utilizing the members of the EDD students’ opinion at the University of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota along with numerous studies that provides an assessment of factors which shape patterns of students during their study.

The literature review designed to investigate the experiences the doctoral students challenge during their study, but this search uncovered a large number of articles from both perspectives presented above that appear to be opinion pieces, quoting favorable sources and making assertions that stimulate further discussion but not necessarily knowledge. The research is based on interviews that gather data. The expectation students are to be active participants in the structure, process, and content of the doctoral program. Students are very involved in the process of program revision. The literature review is a model building upon about the nature and the outcomes of the doctoral experience by researchers in the field.

Literature Review

Doctoral education demands enormous intellectual and financial resources; unless financial resources can be achieved only when the benefits (e.g., tuition revenue) outweigh the costs, a situation that is unlikely given the heavy subsidies at the doctoral level of study in both public and private institutions. Physical and mental health, particularly stresses, and diminished and/or dysfunctional communication patterns, were significant factors related to degree progress. The purpose of doing doctoral degree is to become an independent researcher, capable of generating, pursuing and communicating research ideas. The student main task is to develop own research skills in a self-motivated way.

The key skills are to be able to solve a problem that has never been solved before, to identify which new problems are interesting enough to be worth solving, and to describe a problem and its solution clearly and convincingly, both in speech and in writing. An important objective of the doctoral program is to produce top quality and highly motivated educational leaders and teachers. Students in the doctoral program are provided with ongoing opportunities to be mentored by experienced faculty teachers/ researchers. Most universities and its faculty members are committed to a learning partnership with students and see graduate education, particularly for doctoral students, to be a negotiated learning experience.

The doctoral study is a research degree and it is incumbent upon the prospective student to begin the process of learning to conduct independent research as early as possible in his or her doctoral studies, (Kerlin, 1995). Some of this learning will come through classroom study; however, research is a process which must be learned through experience as well as classes. The purpose of the doctoral research practicum is to begin providing this experience in a structured, supervised setting.

The EDD program in Leadership provides an education open to postgraduate students. The doctoral project should have variety of issues as an important focus in education. The program leads to the doctoral degrees in Leadership, with the possibility of specifying an emphasis in a K12 and higher education subject area, ( An important objective of the program is to provide a possibility for disciplinary research. One example is that sometimes it is of great value to have the possibility to recruit a student from another discipline, e.g. a background in education could sometimes be very suitable. In such cases the title for the EDD-student will be just educational leadership.

The program aims to prepare students to become independent participants in research and development projects academia. The doctoral program aims to enable students with abilities to plan, perform, critically evaluate, and present independent work in research and development in either industry or academia. The SMUMN EDD degree program consists of various components totaling 66 credits for the doctoral degree. The doctoral degree is equivalent to 4 years full-time study. The postgraduate education is comprised of the research leading to the dissertation and the required and elective courses. Each student has a right to design an individual dissertation.

Doctorate recipients are often categorized according to demographic characteristics such as gender, race or ethnicity, and citizenship. Institutions have to make decisions regarding the number of students in each category to admit to their doctoral programs. Although, a well-balanced and diversified cohort of graduates is generally a legitimate goal of doctorate education, furthermore, diversity itself may be a reasonable goal, so universities.

The EDD students at SMUN are from a diverse group of highly motivated and creative men and women from a variety of backgrounds and origins. The program is especially suited for professionals who want to expand their knowledge base in relation to their current practices, leadership roles, and future responsibilities. The course program is flexible and is designed with the special needs in mind of individual. The goal of the EDD program is to create opportunities for combining periods of scholarly reflection with practical involvement and self-initiated field work and study projects. The main purpose of EDD program is to train research scholars in a particular field. The doctoral degree typically involves both coursework and a major research project. It usually takes four to six years of full-time study. The SMUMN doctoral programs require the completion of a master’s degree before the beginning of doctoral studies.

The rich diversity of SMUMN is clearly evident in many classrooms today. The university learning environments reflect the cultures of the different communities. A new horizon of leaning environment has always had a strong multicultural and international foundation and we continue to learn much from our communication with other countries and the different cultures. Why students do not succeed in graduate programs lack of information (Lovitts, 2001), lack of community (Lovitts, 2001) or complexity of a university system (Erin, 2005), the poor quality of the advisor-advisee relationship (Lovitts, 2001). Most students at SMUMN are enrolled full and part-time during the course work phase of the program.

Doctoral study and research will require more time than you might imagine and more money than you probably have. However, most of students’ time is spent thinking, reading, and writing. Decide your most important priority is completion of the degree program be flexible on a daily basis changing priorities as needed (Porter, & etl, 2001). The family summer vacation: a time for rest, relaxation, fun, family bonding, stress, and anxiety (Sternberg, 1981). You can plan and enjoy a trip that the whole family will think embrace with love. All too often, people overlook the fact that most graduate students are not just students, (Sternberg, 1981) but also daughters/sons and mothers/fathers who juggle intellectual work with care work and responsibilities for family, young children, and aging parents. While some of these activities, like teaching, fall under paid work, many others do not. As Lovitts & Nelson (2000) mentioned yet, all these activities take time and energy and are part of what I do as a doctoral student, and how I strategize as aspiring academic. Have family & friends’ support, and have a sense of humor, (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000).

Learn to relate to the other general special education program students (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000). The point of a family vacation is to spend time together away from the hustle of everyday life. You can’t plan for the weather or any mishaps along the way, but with a good attitude and accepting that there will be unexpected challenges along the way, you can make your family vacation one that will provide great memories for the entire family.

The cost of study varies between universities, (Ehrenberg & Sherman, 1984). Many universities offers a number of competitive fellowships to advanced doctoral students, but many social science and humanities students will have to identify and apply to external funding sources in order to complete their degrees. Financing higher education is still a source of stress for many college bound students and students themselves.

According to our survey about 90% of SMUMN students have a job while attending school. This added burden of working to earn money is cited as necessary to help pay for college. Doctoral students’ debt increases as they reach the middle and final years of their programs, (Malone, Nelson, & Nelson, 2001). Most universities guarantee doctoral students funding for a term of three or four years, but the support does not necessarily extend further. Moreover, this funding is freely granted for the benefit of the student. Funding, for doctoral students, usually means employment as teaching or research assistants, (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000). These jobs are important learning experiences (and cheap labor for the universities), but these never happen at SMUMN.

Many universities make subsidies available to graduate students, but grant, assistantship, or financial aid considerations only on a limited basis. Institutions should set tuition on a sliding scale based on family income or increase the number of scholarships for doctoral students, (Sternberg, 1981). Institutions should set tuition on a sliding scale based on family income or increase the number of scholarships for doctoral students. Many universities reduce salaries and stipends or increase tuition charges for graduate students after a specified number of years, (McCulloch, 2004). Yet financial penalties for delayed completion of the degree dissuade graduate students from taking time off, (McCulloch, 2004). As a solution, graduate schools should adopt policies that stop the thesis clock for graduate student parents, just as many have adopted policies that stop the tenure clock for faculty parents.

What support did your university have that enabled you to complete a doctoral degree, (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000)? The faculty and atmosphere is welcoming. Classmates are supportive. In the past few decades Doctoral education has undergone major changes in many aspects, (McCulloch, 2004). One of the main motives underlying these changes is to find a better way to support doctoral students. At SMUMN all students admitted to the Doctoral program will be offered to finance their education through student loan, and many other financial help to finance their education or tuition reimbursements with income from full- or part-time jobs, some form of financial aid (which is only loan).

Almost in all universities financial assistance are available to full-time and part-time to doctoral students. Most universities have several types of assistance are available: Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions are available to full-time students who wish to gain research experience. GRA positions are typically grant funded or research assistant positions requiring less of a time commitment, (Malone, Nelson, & Nelson, 2001). Doctoral students can be employed as teaching assistants, guiding, learning experiences of beginning students learning environment. They may also be employed to assist faculty with classroom teaching.

Some universities have the Doctoral Scholars Program Award offers doctoral scholars a five-year package of support, (Malone, Nelson, & Nelson, 2001). Doctoral education although it has not attracted much attention in the past has long been a distinct sector in higher education. Explore and discover new places, and meet new people. These experiences contribute to college life, but getting an education should remain the student’s foremost purpose. Students leave less because of what they bring with them to the university than because of what happens after they arrive. A student invited into the department’s academic and social community is more likely to succeed than a student left entirely to his or her own resources, (Kerlin, 1995).

The stress levels of college students have been raising, since courses, the comprehensive examination, and dissertation required to be completed, important to provided academic and emotional support, (Lovitts, 2001). School and work can be stressful for everyone, but counseling students often have the added emotional stress of working with people with psychological issues as well as with victims of trauma, violence, and emotional abuse. Personal difficulties, at times, played a role in encouraging reflective practice, (Kerlin, 1995). Keep everything in good working order (computer, car, etc). Maintain a balance between home, school, & a spiritual belief system (Lovitts & Nelson, 2000). Such stress not only can affect the student’s well-being but can also reduce the student’s ability to concentrate and make good decisions, (Porter, Donnell, Buck, & Edwards, 2001).

An important influence on time to degree is the unique set of mental and emotional challenges faced by graduate students. At Berkeley, 43% of the students seen at the Counseling and Psychiatric Services are graduate students, though they make up less than 30% of the student body (Bentley, n.d). Though personal or individual factors may determine where each student falls within the range of times to degree, larger-scale institutional factors outside each student’s control can have much greater influence on average times to degree, (Porter, Donnell, Buck, & Edwards, 2001). Students react to postgraduate study in a variety of ways. For some students, research is stressful; separation from home is a source of stress. Although some stress is necessary for personal growth to occur, the amount of stress can overwhelm a student and affect the ability to success.

The research also showed, for successful completion of the doctoral program reduction in the stress associated with doing dissertation. The students needed support and survival strategies. For students who were motivated by the challenges of the course rather than overwhelmed and defensive, being reflective seemed to come naturally. Also important for survival were self management techniques such as balance in their lives, exercise, and knowing their own strengths and limitations. Students’ perception of the importance of reflectivity also seemed to be an important factor in whether or not students were reflective.

The research shows that it is essential that students learn the research process, develop techniques to save time, keep the literature up-to-date, write regularly, select the appropriate supervisor, organize information, control home life, keep a diary, develop project management skills and carefully define their project (Anfara, Brown, & Mangione, 2002). While there are a number of strategies it is important that each student finds the one that’s best for them, (Ehrenberg & Sherman, 1984).

The research journey differs for each student. But one of the most interesting findings is that students need to be aware of the reasons why they have undertaken their research journey and to understand that along the way some of the hurdles they will face will be of an emotional nature and are therefore more difficult to conquer than straight practical problems. To successfully complete their doctoral students need to prepare and develop a number of survival strategies, (Ehrenberg & Sherman, 1984).

The top three strategies are seeking the support of others, developing self management techniques that work for them and learning the research process. They also need a supervisor who is aware of their specific needs and is able to support and develop them. As experienced by most students the research journey has positive and negative aspects but because emotions can easily dominate perceptions, and because there are very real costs associated with the research, many have a sharper experience and recollection of the negative aspects of the EDD.

The Doctoral program in is designed to prepare leaders with the commitment, courage and competencies to transform their educational institutions to meet the new challenges. Most liberal arts universities including SMUMN encourage the development of whole persons who are not only technically proficient, but are also capable of dealing with individual and social problems from a breadth of experience and understanding. An EDD degree at SMUMN is defined not so much by its discipline as by its construction.

The Doctor of Education degree is designed to deal broadly with historical, cultural, philosophical, and ethical issues that impact school administrators as they interact with both schools and society (Kerlin, 1995). A goal of the program is to produce public intellectuals who can speak on educational issues of concern to society and will affect the tenor of institutions as well as the lives of hundreds of students and teachers.

As a Christian learning community, SMUMN is dedicated to impacting today’s world. The doctoral program strives to develop leaders in education who will have a great impact on society, (Jerrard & Jerrard, 1998). Although being a Christian is not a requirement for admission, Christian perspectives will be explored in all aspects of the doctoral program.

Doctoral program coordinators and chairs meet regularly to discuss program issues including student learning outcomes. The quality and usefulness of the professional seminar receives appropriate attention, and modifications to the seminar are made as necessary based on observation of student learning outcomes. Prospective doctoral students should make an effort to become knowledgeable about the research, as a well-informed student can more successfully choose an adviser and an area of specialization, (McCulloch, 2004). Doing an EDD primarily involves carrying out an original piece of research, under the guidance of an advisor, and writing it up in a dissertation.

A Doctoral study requires the scientific work is normally presented in the form of a report, consisting of a collection of articles published in international journals with peer review system, together with a report including an introduction and conclusions. The quality of the doctoral dissertation can be published in a high-standing, international journal and stand up to peer review.

Doctoral Students who maintain their academic performance are identified as students who sustain adequate to above adequate grade levels, as well as Nerad & Miller (1996) mentioned the high levels of achievement motivation, despite the presence of stressful events and conditions that place them at risk and ultimately dropping out, (Nerad & Miller, 1996). It should be noted that Doctoral students who have high academic performance do not only have good grades, but have a significant motivation to overcome surrounding environmental stressors and pressures. Studies demonstrate that the student’s environment both at home and in school can directly affect the academic performance of the student, (Nerad & Miller, 1996).

Students’ family involvement in education, as well as support, can greatly influence a student’s motivation to continue in education. Furthermore, the social support from friends and teachers can also encourage a student to maintain their grades and aim for higher educational goals (Porter, Donnell, Buck, & Edwards, 2001). However, a lack of social support from friends, family, instructors, and mentors can have the opposite effect. Additionally, studies show that students who are more involved in school maintain higher grades and are more socially accepted goals (Porter, Donnell, Buck, & Edwards, 2001).

The level of acculturation of a student is often an indicator of a student’s integration into a school environment. Students with low levels of acculturation to diversity of culture often experience the stress of integrating the environment of school with their own cultural background of home (Porter, Donnell, Buck, & Edwards, 2001). Furthermore, some studies have suggested that the ethnicity of a student’s teacher can negatively affect a student’s academic performance. Teachers who may lack a sense of multiculturalism in the classroom may hinder some students’ level of adjustment in school (Nerad & Miller, 1996).

Many studies suggest that Doctoral students score poorly in school due to a lack of culturally relevant curriculum in many subjects. As Kerlin (1997) indicated that many researchers argue that students ethnic background feel no connection to their texts or curriculum because their cultural history and historical figures are not included. The lack of connection to an academic subject can cause lack of interest, which can lead to low academic performance, (Kerlin, 1997). Furthermore, some researchers argue that curriculum often has the goal of assimilating students into American mainstream culture. Therefore, curriculum may severely inhibit a student’s adjustment to school and the integration of their own cultural background, (Kerlin, 1997).

The personal characteristics of a student, such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, and personal beliefs directly affect the motivation level of students. Students with higher self-efficacy and self-esteem are more confident in school and less vulnerable to outside stressors. Demographic characteristics such as gender, parental level of education, and income level can also directly affect a student’s academic performance, (Kerlin, 1997). Many studies have argued that students who come from a lower socioeconomic status ultimately face more stressors than those of their higher socioeconomic status counterparts, (Malone, Nelson & Nelson, 2001).

College is full of resources professors, tutors, counselors, and often resident advisers, (Malone, Nelson & Nelson, 2001). In college it is up to you to initiate getting help. The good news is that once you do adjust to college life, it opens new doors to all sorts of learning and living. Perceived obstacles to goal achievement, environmental change, life challenges, and periods of significant transition are common stress triggers for college students. All of us experience stress on a regular basis. Most of this stress is actually positive serving to motivate us. However, like most things in excess, too much stress is negative.

The Research Proposal

This study could not possibly overcome all these obstacles. Data was gathered only from members of SMUMN doctoral students who sought treatment, limiting the applicability to the larger population of doctoral students in all other universities. Some of the weaknesses of other studies were addressed in gathering data. Data will be utilized in a way that addresses the problem of response bias in the recollections of the members of SMUMN doctoral students. It has already been observed that relatively few empirical studies have been conducted on current members of the SMUMN doctoral students.


Full-time job and academia pose challenges to balancing work, study, and family. The challenges of trying to begin families while on the tenure track, then it makes sense for doctoral programs seeking to recoup their investments in their students to spend a little money to remove the impediments those students face when they bear or adopt children. Doctoral programs frequently invest tens of thousands of dollars in individual graduate students. Presumably, these investments pay off in the reflected glory of the successful students’ lifetime.




Research Method

Each student is responsible for three interviews (only one can be from a member of this class-EdD-802B). The researcher first discussed the nature of my study and processes for maintaining the confidentiality of their identities and their communications with me. As each of the student’s stories progressed the researcher responded to their notes, asking questions to probe for additional information, either in the details of the events they described or in their reflections about their experiences, for the purpose of seeking further clarification of my understandings.

The researcher made every effort not to talk or write over the student’s voices; as much as possible the researcher encouraged them to write about what was meaningful to them without introducing issues the researcher thought might have been important; the researcher used their own language in my responses rather than terminology the researcher and tried to encourage deeper levels of reflection and analysis without limiting or restricting their focus. The researcher anticipated that as the narratives progressed some women might wish to assume a more conversational mode of interaction and in balancing my role as listener and conversationalist; the researcher made every effort to be guided by the women’s individual preferences.

The purpose of this  paper research is to examine the nature of SMUMN doctoral students’ experiences,  attach to their life experiences, and through their knowledge to develop a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the stress level of students who pursue the doctorate degree. We interview currently enrolled students. The interview was structured (we ask clearly defined questions), where we allow some of our questioning to be led by the responses of the interviewee. We believe the currently enrolled students can provide of wealth of information for prospective students.

Population Sample

The EDD Students at SMUN are from a diverse group of highly motivated and creative men and women from a variety of backgrounds and origins. The sample for this study originally included 39 doctoral students of SMUMN identified by a group evaluation instrument. All SMUMN students that participated in the research studies were contacted one on one life interview.

The resulting sample contained 39 students. There represents the EDD students at SMUMN in Minneapolis. The sample was drawn randomly and the questionnaire reflects the EDD students during the 2006 academic year. The response rate exceeded 98 percent. The study was done on 39 doctoral students conduct in depth structured interviews designed to the graduate student experience as told by current graduate students.

Sample result

The size of the sample was determined by the number of cases available at the time of this writing. The results might have been different in other groups. Of these 39 participants, 19 were females, 13 males and 6 did not report their gender. Participants’ age ranged from 26-65 years old, with most of the participants being in the 36-45years old range. The majority reported married and have children.

The ethnic distribution was as follows: The white were 15, African plus African Americans14, Asian7, and 2 participants did not report their ethnicity background. Most of the participants paid for their education with loans and they were in the education field. Commuting distance ranged from 5miles-55miles. The average time the participants have in the program was 2-3years. These demographic data are subject to change as the study progresses.

Demographic Data:    Number of the participants: 39, Number of the males: 13

Number of the females: 19, Number of participants not reported: 6

Age:                            The age of these individuals was between 26 and 58 with a mean of these 39 numbers is 40.12 years with SD= 6.54.

26, 26, 33, 34,  34,  35, 35, 35, 35, 35, 36, 36, 37, 37, 38, 3,8, 38, 38, 40, 40, 40, 40 ,41, 41, 41, 42, 42, 42, 42, 44, 46, 46, 46, 47,48,48, 50, 55, and 58

The mean of these 39 numbers is 40.12

The variance of the set is 42.8, with a standard deviation of 6.54.

The median of these numbers is 40.

The mode is 35, which appears 5 times in the set.

Time in the Program: Less than 1 year = 5   1-2years =14   2-3 years = 1   3+ years = 3 the participants’ time in the program was an average of about 2.61 years in the program.

The mean of these 39 numbers is: 2.61

The variance of the set is 1.8, with a standard deviation of 1.3.

The order of the list: 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6

The median of these numbers is 2.

The mode is 2, which appears 17 times in the set.

Financial:                    Loans =19       Self = 10         Work pays = 4                   Not reported = 2                                           Scholarship = 2           Parents = 2

Vocation:                    Business = 7   Education = 25           Military = 1    Student = 2

Healthcare = 3

Distance in Miles:      5 or less = 5    6-15= 17         16- 25 = 7       26-35 = 3

36-45 = 2        46-55 = 0        Over 55 = 4

1 1 1 1 5 7 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 12 12 12 12 12 15 15 15 15 15 16 17 18 19 20 24 25 26 30 30 36 45 55 120 150 220

The average distance or travel mile is 27.512 with SD: 42.38.

The mean of these 39 numbers is: 27.512

The variance of the set is 1796, with a standard deviation of 42.38.

Here is an ordered list of the numbers entered:

The median of these numbers is 15.

Ethnicity;        White = 20      Caucasian, Black = 9 and Biracial = 1           Asian = 3                                Hmong = 2      Chinese = 1     Japan = 1         Non reported = 2


An instrument is designed by the current doctoral students at SMUMN that seeks doctoral degree to examine the cost, time, family and other impacts associated with their environments. It was developed as an attempt to differentiate the SMUMN doctoral students for precise measurement of the challenge students facing during their study. In the doctoral program, participants are asked to respond to each item in a sense of how characteristic it would be of their experience.

The items are scored on a 5-point scale ranging from Not at All Characteristic (1) to very characteristic (5). (1) to very (5). Total scores range from 45 to 130: time, financial, cost and travel are totaled and compared to arrive at a scale. The average is a narrowly focused instrument, designed solely for techniques and there is little information available on its reliability and validity. Internal consistency reflected on the scales to determine the criterion validity of the current students at SMUMN, the researcher totaled and compared the scores of different students in the program to the arithmetic midpoint of each of the subscales and the scale.


Construct validity was determined by scale inter correlations highest correlations were almost in all EDD students at SMUMN. The age variance of the set is 42.8, with a standard deviation of 6.54. The participants’ time in the program was an average of about 2.61 years and factor analysis. The average distance or travel mile is 27.512 with the SD: 42.38. Criterion validity for the current students at SMUMN was explored using the trail version of SPSS software.

Instruments used were usually of questionable validity and reliability (Aronoff etl, 2000). Access to subjects for study makes the data possible to gather. Possible response bias of current members in favor of members of the SMUMN doctoral students that caution is warranted in interpreting results. Experimenter bias could be a factor, especially in members of the SMUMN doctoral students studies are carried out by investigators who are themselves, doctoral students.


Instrument Validity

An interview instrument, the research questionnaire 1-5 was used. Also used others researchers over the past years, it has an internal consistency reliability of the data checked, includes demographic items, questions regarding the consumption of various impact of the students life, and 39 interviewee concerning possible consequences impact on students life. All question items had been used by many researchers in previous periods with which the current sample is compared. The instructions for the instrument explained the voluntary nature of participation in the study questionnaires as approved by SMUMN class-EDD802B students and by Dr. William Kelly.


There were some constraints within the training context that hindered some students from being reflective. Some of these are consistent with the cognitive demands inherent in a doctoral program in general, which places significant demands on students in terms of time and workload. Students found the workload to be too great and left too little time to be reflective about one’s own growth. For less experienced students, the facilitator’s “hands-off style” was a factor that made it difficult for them to maintain a reflective stance with their peers. Their own perceived lack of skill and expertise with a particular model of therapy left them feeling defensive and they tended to be quieter in the group while more experienced students dominated the conversations. Consistent with the therapist development literature, these students with limited experience perhaps needed more structure and more support, and less challenge.


The researcher did not have results at the proposal stage. However, The researcher do have some idea about what kind of data  the researcher will be collecting, and the researcher will use SPSS, excel, and word will be used in order to answer my research question or test hypothesis. The data will be summarized and reported with correlation coefficients Pearson r and Spearman reporting statically significant findings. Also, Excel or Access programs will be used to analyze the total financial enterprise application that supports microfinance services.


It is important to know what impact the EDD program of study on students’ life of at SMUMN. The researchers carefully weight the pros and cons of all factors of studying process. This seems like common sense, but it is worth repeating, especially if your decision will affect people other than yourself (e.g., significant others, extended family members, children). A clear understanding of why the students are pursuing a doctoral degree. This is important because pursuing a doctoral degree is a serious plan that students have to take. There will be times when the only thing that get the students through the process know why the students are in school in the first place and what the ultimate payoff for you will be. If you are not sure about why you want to pursue a doctoral degree, you might be better off waiting until you have a better understanding of why you want to go back to school.

It is a good idea to decide early on, this is an important step because the criteria you develop will set the tone for your entire search process. Once you come up with a set of criteria, stick to it. And also, determine how you want to pay for your education. This idea is connected to the first idea in that one of your criteria for selecting a school may very well be the financial package they offer you.

If you know you want to minimize loans as much as possible, then you will probably want to gravitate toward the school offering more grants, fellowships, and tuition waivers. Decide your dissertation topic early on time. This may not always be possible, but it can be an advantage if you know the topic of dissertation research from the start. Knowing you area of research will enable you to better evaluate prospective faculty and also allow you to direct some of your course assignments (e.g., term papers) toward your dissertation. This will make life a lot easier when it is time to write your dissertation.

Reliability and Viability

The variability of success of Doctoral students is also difficult to define when applying similar, measurable criteria to more than one institution, further compounded due to defining attributes such as demographics, differing populations, environmental differences, and locations (Silverman, 2000). The average Doctoral students’ population has changed greatly in the last twenty five years and these changes will continue into the near and more distant future (Sternberg, 1981), this phenomenon commonly referred to as diversity, means that Doctoral students are increasing, in wide ranges of race, economic levels, languages, and cultures.

As Kerlin (1997) described culture and economics alone can influence student cognitive levels and learning preparedness, allowing for a large discrepancy, despite the age, family, finance or level of stress, (Sternberg, 198). The implication of such a disparate variable (Doctoral student ability) poses a challenge when developing or measuring success in developing a research project, despite their beginning levels, would the students with low abilities.

Validated by the majority consensus, this means a comprehensive study of success will need to include a variable, or attribute to the variable, determined or associated with student assessment as a criterion for success, (Kerlin, 1995). However, this needs not to be classified as the independent variable, or the controllable data indicators, or the dependent variable which is the measurable data (Silverman, 2000). Testing data should be an attribute to one of the variables; although, dependent and independent or response but not all inclusive to that one, the variables that may hinder or help students’ motivation.

The independent variables, and all associated attributes, must also be established as well as completely defined in measurable terms by the researcher, (Creswell, 2003). Creswell (2003) states that a research study must begins with identifying the proposed variables for a study (independent, intervening, dependent, control), drawing a visual model to clearly identify this sequence, and locating and specifying how the variables will be measured and observed. To determine if the Doctoral students high performing or success, the variability of success must be determined than the criterion for meeting this objective be established.

Creswell (2003) provides possible alternatives in his definition of intervening variables, that mediate the affects of the independent on the dependent variable, and/or a control variable, that may potentially influence the dependent variable. Each is a possible attribute for the influence or impact of testing or determination of success as applied to schools, but if relegated to a secondary status, what other variables remain to determine this classification? Because of this ambiguity, or debate, part of the problem in determining successful schools remain in the classification of what is truly deemed successful.


Participants were verbally informed that the information shared in writing of how confidentiality and anonymity of individual subjects will maintain during the study. Informed names will not be on the survey. Detail how confidentiality will be maintained. This includes a description of the secure storage of data gathered in the study, what will happen to this information after the study, and who will have access to the data

Professional Standards

The researcher will be aware of the potential ethical violations of the integrity and moral obligations in conducting research and will follow and abide by the established schedules, and will adhere to the established process. A log will be kept of observations throughout the process of potential threats; it will be reviewed prior to writing the research findings to determine impact of the threats observed.


Overall the EDD study at SMUMN can be a wonderful experience in regard to personal and professional development, (Sternberg, 1981). Doctoral programs would benefit by including teaching as an equal partner with research, and universities would be fair and more equitable if they credited teaching with the importance it deserves and with the respect graduates have for it, (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). The SMUMN program offers participants a variety of experiences that will help prepare students for success in intensive doctoral research program. This way, students will be able to stay on track in their Doctoral degree program.


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