Doctorate of Education Online: Virtual Residency

Concordia University-Portland Reshapes EdD Residencies for the Virtual Age

Higher education is currently undergoing what may be its most significant change in centuries, with innovative approaches designed to meet the needs of students who work and have families. Once again, Concordia University-Portland is leading the way with its online Education Doctorate (EdD) program and its centerpiece, the “virtual residency.”

The focal point of any doctoral program is the residency. Since Concordia Portland’s online EdD is aimed at the practitioner-scholar who already balances career, family and other responsibilities, the program features a “virtual residency” -- a doctoral residency that can be completed anywhere, anytime and completely online.

What is a Virtual Residency?

The virtual residency offers you the same learning opportunities as our traditional face-to-face residency but without the travel requirements. Concordia Portland’s virtual residency will also link doctoral candidates to mentors and fellow students, providing needed support to complete the doctoral dissertation.

“It appears clear that one of the main reasons almost 50 percent of students don’t finish their doctoral work is that they don’t have adequate support,” said Dr. Jerry McGuire, director of doctoral studies at Concordia University-Portland. He added that the online EdD is crafted to ensure that online students have a rich and expansive support system as part of the virtual residency.

This virtual interactive experience will allow students to network with program faculty and fellow doctoral candidates, helping them practice their problem solving and group interactive skills. The use of the latest in digital technology allows students to continue personal and professional responsibilities at home, while gaining the tools and skills needed to achieve an advanced degree – something that wouldn’t be possible without the residency.

Why a Virtual Residency Makes Sense

When developing the online EdD degree program and the virtual residency, Concordia Portland administrators were focused on creating a program they hoped would reduce doctoral dropout rates, support the practitioner-scholar, and make sure all academic goals were achievable online, as well as on Concordia’s Portland, Oregon campus.

Our goals were “very intentional, very purposeful. We want the program to be highly accessible,” said Dr. Johnnie Driessner, Concordia Portland’s executive vice president. Students work in small research communities that enable concentrated study, and enrichment of multiple perspectives.

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