Lecture Hall: Dean Kathleen McCartney and Academic Dean Hiro YoshikawaBy Lory Hough
In 1921, the Ed School launched the first Ed.D. in the country. Originally intended to prepare students for careers as academics and scholars, over time graduates made their marks not just in research, but in practice and policy. Fast forward to 2009. The Ed School creates the Ed.L.D., an innovative three-year practice-based doctoral program that prepares graduates for high-level leadership jobs in education. This year, the school announced another new degree, a Ph.D. in education, offered jointly with Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FA S). The Ed.D. will be phased out and the first Ph.D. cohort will start in 2014. This past spring, just after Commencement, Dean Kathleen McCartney and Academic Dean Hiro Yoshikawa sat down with Ed. to talk about why the Ph.D. makes sense for the Ed School.
Why are you excited about this degree?
HY: This will be the only truly university-wide Ph.D. in education. Bringing the full range of education scholarship at Harvard to bear on the critical issues in the field is unprecedented. The Ph.D. in education represents a wonderful opportunity to build on our current leading research doctorate in education, developing closer ties to the intellectual riches of the entire university. The new Ph.D. Program will also bring the incredible resources of Ed School doctoral students and faculty into closer contact with faculty and students in other schools here, strengthening the work of the university in education.
KM: This new degree will make the Ed School a magnet for researchers across the university who study education. Thus, this new degree will leverage faculty in support of doctoral training in education here at Harvard. I have no doubt that the Ph.D. in education will result in innovative collaborative research projects involving faculty and doctoral students at different schools. And I am confident new synergies will result that no one has yet to imagine.
Describe the biggest difference between the current Ed.D. and the new Ph.D.
HY: The new Ph.D. will provide more opportunities for collaboration and advisement from scholars who do research relevant to education across FAS and all the schools of the university. Many of the benefits of these closer ties will start immediately and should be available to Ed.D. students.
In one sentence, describe one similarity.
HY: Both programs share a commitment to work at the nexus of practice, policy, and research.
KM: Both programs are rigorous and relevant to the pressing problems facing education today.
The Ph.D. will have three concentrations: human development, learning, and teaching (psychology); culture, society, and institutions (sociology); and education policy and program evaluations (economics). Why those three?
HY: They represent both the diversity and coherence of the work of the Ed School in education research. Each of the three were conceptualized to cover core topic areas of enduring importance in education; each integrate emphases on research, policy, and practice issues, and each is interdisciplinary.
KM: A working group of faculty, chaired by Hiro, proposed these three concentrations to reflect the education landscape. I am grateful to Mahzarin Banaji in psychology, Larry Katz in economics, Gary King in government, and Mary Waters in sociology, who worked with Ed School faculty to design the proposal for an interfaculty Ph.D. in education.
Fifty faculty members from other Harvard schools have already agreed to be affiliated with the new degree. What does this mean for incoming students?
HY: All Ed School students, including the current Ed.D. students, know that this group of faculty not only do research relevant to education, but also have expressed willingness to serve as intellectual resources and co-advisers.
KM: This means our students will profit from an embarrassment of riches! They will be able to enroll in FAS doctoral seminars, and they will be able to join research groups more easily.
The first cohort will start in the fall of 2014. What happens between now and then?
HY: We will engage in a schoolwide planning process to work out the details of the new degree. We’ll also work with the other schools at Harvard to develop the cross-school aspects.
KM: Our administrative team will be collaborating with the team at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to create new admissions materials, and our development teams will begin to raise funds for this innovative new program. In fact, one Harvard College alumnus has already agreed to sponsor the first doctoral student!