FPU to host doctoral program in education


Doctorate targets administrators, those interested in higher education

FPU news story


Fresno Pacific University (FPU), the Mennonite Brethren university headquartered in Fresno, Calif., will host the George Fox University (GFU) Doctor of Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program starting in spring 2015. The doctorate targets K-12 administrators and those who want to go into higher education, particularly in student life, financial aid and similar areas. “Anyone in the education community who wants to get into leadership,” says Gary Gramenz, dean of the FPU School of Education.

This partnership between FPU and GFU provides maximum accessibility for working professionals. Candidates will complete classes online during the fall and spring semesters, with summer sessions offered in a hybrid format of three weeks online and a two-week on-campus residency on the main FPU campus in Fresno. George Fox faculty will travel to Fresno each summer from the main GFU campus in Newberg, Ore. 

Candidates choose from one of three concentrations:

  • Instructional design and development for grades preschool-college
  • Administration for pre-school through grade 12
  • Higher education

The GFU Ed.D. program began in the early 1990s and has a 91 percent graduation rate. The key to that success is a rigorous admissions process. “We select students carefully; we are dedicated to their success,” says Patrick Allen, a GFU professor in the doctoral program who was a senior university administrator for 35 years in Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana and California.

For now, FPU provides all services not directly related to admissions and academics, such as facilities and marketing. “We’re involved in creating the space for the program,” Gramenz says.

In the future, FPU could develop an elective track in an area of strength, such as peacemaking, Gramenz says. Faculty could also serve on candidate dissertation committees as well as in other areas. “We want to involve our faculty,” he says.

GFU, founded in 1891 by members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), is the oldest Christian university in Oregon. As a fellow member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, GFU has a similar mission to FPU and the same focus on academic rigor, professional preparation and ethical development. “All of that is infused in the program,” Gramenz says.

Like Fresno Pacific, George Fox prepares educators to make a difference in their communities. “What we try to do is to teach, to shape and to send,” Allen says.

Gehrett completed the doctorate in May 2014 and was impressed by the quality of the GFU faculty and the curriculum. “They challenged and supported me,” he says.

Faculty understand many doctoral students languish in the dissertation phase, when they are back in the workplace and no longer immersed in their program. The last set of classes is designed to give students a good start on their proposal, which is also the beginning chapters of the dissertation. “They’re interacting with you all through the process,” Gehrett says.

The Ed.D. in Educational Leaderships builds on FPU’s strong master’s degree and reputation in the field. “We are a leader in public education,” Gehrett says.

At $716 a unit (and an estimated four years to completion), the program is also a good value, providing high quality at less than half the price of many doctorates. Unlike the Ph.D., the Ed.D. focuses on applying theory to everyday situations faced by principals and administrators, and is the standard in K-12 education. “It’s more of a broad scope,” Gehrett says.

Interest in the doctorate has already been high. “Hopefully this becomes another academic program that pulls people to Fresno Pacific,” Gehrett says.

“I guarantee it will be an experience that will change your life,” Allen says. “We learn to love each other and to love learning.”

Key dates:

  • Admissions deadline: April 1, 2015
  • Interview day: April 18, 2015
  • Online class start: June 8, 2015
  • Orientation: June 21, 2015
  • Residency dates: June 22-July 3, 2015

For more information, visit the George Fox University at georgefox.edu/education/programs/doctor-of-education, or contact Megan Janes in the GFU Admissions Office at mjanes@georgefox.edu or 503-554-6168. FPU representatives are Gramenz, gary.gramenz@fresno.edu or 559-453-5574, and Matt Gehrett, Ed.D., executive director, Office of Online and Continuing Education, matt.gehrett@fresno.edu or 559-453-3670.




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