To the Editor:
I am an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Doctor of Education program and a current faculty member at the University of San Francisco’s school of education. I disagree with Ted Purinton’s argument in “The Ed.D. Dilemma: Why Harvard’s Decision Could Harm the Quest for Teacher Professionalism” (May 16, 2012). I do not believe that Harvard’s decision to create a new, distinguished Ph.D. program and eliminate the old Ed.D. will diminish other Ed.D. programs. In fact, it helps clarify the new niche claimed by professional doctoral programs.
Our dean at USF distributed Harvard’s announcement about the change to encourage our own efforts in reinventing USF’s Ed.D. program, alongside other universities associated with the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. Our goals include grounding the doctorate of education in real problems of practice, in local schools and communities, to better prepare knowledgable, effective, and socially responsible education professionals.
Harvard’s new Doctor of Education Leadership, or Ed.L.D., program will continue to serve as a model for integrating intellectual rigor with professional practice. While the new Ph.D. program inevitably raises questions to be addressed, overall, the collaboration between the education school and the university should advance education as the national and international priority it deserves to be.
School of Education
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Harvard Ed.D. Decision Is a Move Forward