Ph.D. in Educational Leadership helps cultivate a Badger network

Erin Kuehn-Schettler entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at an age when most people start thinking about retirement. She wanted a new perspective on her job as a K-12 administrator, but she worried about going back to school while balancing the responsibilities of her job and her family.

Kuehn-Schettler found that the program’s weekend and summer classes offered exactly the flexibility she needed.

“Without that, I would not have been able to participate in fulltime coursework while also having fulltime work.”

UW-Madison offers the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis as a Wisconsin Idea Executive Cohort program in K-12 leadership. The program emphasizes improving student performance and closing achievement gaps. Participants learn to address inequities in a school district, provide guidance on instruction, and evaluate programs. They can defend their dissertations within three or four years.

“I think this program affected me from the moment I entered it because it changed my thinking and how I viewed my work,” Kuehn-Schettler says. “It gave me passion, and a knowledge that there is so much to do to get better outcomes for all of our students.”

Bridging two worlds

The program features nationally recognized faculty and practitioners in the field.

“They blended research and theory with what’s practical and what we need to do in our schools,” Kuehn-Schettler says. “It helped bridge the two worlds. I think that was a critical piece of what made the program so effective.”

As a graduate, Kuehn-Schettler makes good use of the network she cultivated in the Wisconsin Idea Executive Cohort program.

“The cohort still has communication across Facebook and email, so we still share what we’re doing and why. I continue to reach out to professors and people I’ve met that are also alumni of the UW. I absolutely love being a part of the Badger Nation.”

Learn more about Kuehn-Schettler’s story in the video above. For more information on UW-Madison’s Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, see here.

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