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New COE Ph.D.s Address Leadership, Policy, Curriculum Professionals

New COE Ph.D.s Address Leadership, Policy, Curriculum ProfessionalsThe Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) approved two new doctoral programs for the University of Houston College of Education. Students now can pursue Ph.D. studies in Curriculum and Instruction, as well as Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies.

“Congratulations to the many faculty who worked diligently and persistently across several years to advance these approvals,” said Robert McPherson, dean of the college. “These new programs combined with other research-oriented doctoral degrees are central to the College of Education’s Tier 1 mission.”

The college awarded more than 90 doctoral degrees last year in such areas as research, counseling, administration and education.

The new Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction will prepare students for teaching at a major university, directing research or evaluating departments in school districts or other organizations.  Students may begin applying for the program in fall 2015.

“The need in this area of Texas parallels the nation-wide demand for doctoral level researchers, teachers and scholars who will lead educational transformation in the coming quarter-century,” said Laveria Hutchison, chair of the college’s department of curriculum and instruction. “Our program is committed to preparing a new generation of scholars and educators by engaging them in inquiry on critical educational issues and needs relative to an increasingly urban, multicultural, and technological America.”

The THECB also approved a new doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies. Students pursuing these studies will be prepared to enter careers in administrative positions in universities and community colleges, research settings and organizations, program development and evaluation organizations or with policy and advocacy organizations. Classes begin in fall 2015.

The area of study has created a new department within the college.  Professor Anthony Rolle now heads the Department of Professional Leadership and Higher Education & Culture. The new department will draw faculty from the college’s two other departments. 

“Experts in the area of higher education are sorely needed, not only to address such issues as Texas’ ‘Closing the Gap,’ but to develop sound programs and policies to prevent and reverse trends that limit student success and threaten the long term economic viability of our nation,” McPherson said.

The more than one million children served in the Gulf Coast region alone will be expected to achieve higher academic and high-tech standards in the future. Ultimately the new PhDs strengthen education at the local, state, national and international levels. 

“These two new concentrations position the college to be a change agent for Houston by preparing scholars and scholar practitioners to take on our most complex educational issues,” said Catherine Horn, associate professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department. “Students will be challenged to think critically and creatively about educational systems and the value of linking elementary, secondary, and postsecondary efforts toward positive ends for all students.”