Meet the Faculty: Mark Jimenez, Doctoral Faculty Chair
Concordia University-Portland’s doctoral program is full of experts who are eager to help education professionals become transformational leaders and change-makers. Mark Jimenez, EdD is one of Concordia’s doctoral chairs who is passionate about serving as a mentor and guide during the dissertation process. Read on to find out about Jimenez’s mentorship style, his advice for doctoral candidates, and more.
What’s one issue or topic in education that really gets you excited and how do you try to apply that passion to your own work?
I get fired up about a lot of different topics. One of the exciting things about being a dissertation advisor is that I get to read about all kinds of new topics. As I read the candidates’ work, I get excited about what they are discovering in the field of education. It is a very exciting place to be!
As a former math teacher, what do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about educators?
That’s a tough question. There are many misconceptions about educators, and each person can have his or her own preconceived notions. I think the largest misconceptions are that educators are paid too much or that they don’t work hard enough. One of the sayings that I hear a lot that really bothers me is: “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” Teachers are hard-working experts!
How has your professional background shaped the way you guide and mentor doctoral candidates?
I try to have great empathy for my candidates. It was a long and difficult journey for me to complete my doctorate. I wasn’t able to complete it in the time frame I would have liked. I understand that life happens and that we always have to adapt.
What courses do you teach in Phase III and Phase IV of Concordia’s doctoral program, and what do you enjoy most about teaching those courses?
I teach EDDR 610, 619, 620, 621, 697, and 698. Each one is very unique. The first five courses are the uphill battle, getting students to write the first three chapters. These courses prepare the candidates to conduct their study. After they defend their proposal, they are on the downhill and the finish line is in sight. It’s very exciting when they start EDDR 698!
When it comes to helping students form research questions, what are some common struggles that you see and how do you try to help students address those issues?
The biggest struggle is picking a focus that is narrow enough so that the study can be done by a novice researcher. Candidates often have big ideas, but they don’t have a team of people working with them to make those ideas happen! We need to narrow the focus and make the project something that they can manage.
Do you have any tips for doctoral candidates who are about to begin their dissertation?
Trust your advisor! It will not be an easy journey, but they are experts and will help you get there.
What are some interesting dissertation topics that you’ve seen?
I have enjoyed reading about how the relationships that teachers build with their students can lead to student success.
In regards to the overall doctoral journey, what’s your number one piece of advice for doctoral candidates?
Have patience! This is one of the most difficult journeys you will go on, but it will be worth it!
Concordia’s mission is to prepare leaders for the transformation of society. How do you think that’s accomplished, and what do you think it means to be a transformational leader today?
Concordia does an excellent job graduating candidates who are poised for success. To me, a transformational leader is ready to adapt to the constant change that happens each and every day in society. We live in an age where change can happen fast. The transformational leader needs to be on the front end of change and adapt to it!