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“The interaction with the whole doctoral department – that made the difference”: Q&A with Lisa Fee, EdD ’17

By Kara Wyman, MEd April 9, 2018

Read how Lisa Fee, a master’s level teacher with Concordia University-Portland, found her own online doctoral program experience. She actually helped create the online orientations for other students before becoming one herself–and now has a fresh perspective on how much community matters.

Why choose Concordia University-Portland online when you work there already?

It’s like a family. It wasn’t just another university where I’m going to get my EdD in Higher Education, it was about the community of people. It all came back to the camaraderie with each other that made me comfortable.

What was your online experience like?

When you enter a doctoral program, you have a lot of apprehensions. You’re very anxious because you understand it’s a long-term commitment. And it’s a time commitment. So I think the interaction that I had with my chair made an incredible difference. It was a rapport that was built immediately. Because I understood that they were on my side. So for me, in my doctoral program, I would definitely say it was the interaction with the whole doctoral department that made the difference.

My faculty chair actually inspired me to move beyond what I thought I could do. When you enter the doctoral program, you think you know yourself. You think you know what you can do. And then you are actually pushed to the boundaries of what you think you can do. So for me, throughout the program, my faculty chair was instrumental in my success. She reassured me. She calmed me. She helped motivate me. She inspired me. She pushed me to think about my subject matter in a completely different way; from a different angle. That actually helped me through my dissertation.

Concordia took their dedication to me as a student to the next level. And by taking it to the next level, I mean that they want you to succeed. They work with you.

I have contacted student services. I have contacted key personnel in the program saying, “Hey, I’m confused.” And they would call me. They would email me. They would take the time it took to actually help me resolve that problem.

How has this educational advancement benefited your own Concordia students?

I think that one of the things that I learned through the doctoral program was the level of rapport needed to gain a level of trust, where a student will come to you and say, “I need your help. And not only do I need your help, I trust you enough to help me with this problem.” It’s not just enough to give them feedback that says, “Hey, good job. Way to go.” It’s on a level that says, “I care about you. I care about what you’re writing. You matter to me.” And that’s what I hope my students take away from our own interaction.

What would you say to a colleague or friend considering their EdD at Concordia?

If you are considering a doctorate with Concordia, I can personally tell you that you are investing your time, finances, and emotional and spiritual assets into a university that is going to help you not only be successful but allow you to grow in all of those areas. I would also say that it isn’t just a university. It isn’t just a program. You are going to work with people that will feel like family.

I mean, I know these people. They feel like family. There’s no other way to explain it.

Kara Wyman has a BA in literature and a MEd from the University of California-Santa Barbara. She spent a decade working with adolescents as an English teacher, the founder and director of a drama program, a curriculum designer, and a project manager for a teen-centered nonprofit organization. She is now the Alumni and Community Manager for Concordia University-Portland.

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