While leadership is about influence and getting results, it also requires continuous growth in the process of leading. The self-actualized leader reflects on personal mastery and excellence. As the culminating experience that demonstrates the scholarly practitioner’s ability to solve problems of practice, the Dissertation in Professional Practice (DIPP) showcases the doctoral candidate’s ability “to think, to perform, and to act with integrity” (Shulman, 2005). The activities described in this evidence are aligned with the courses, EDU 8300/8400: The Dissertation-in-Professional Practice: Implementation and Evaluation of Problem Solution and EDU 6610: Applied Strategic Communication Skills. The Leading with Influence evidence places the candidate in a leadership role to implement a series of short-term “next-step” interventions which have been identified previously during the strategic planning process as well as to evaluate each one’s overall effectiveness and potential for expansion. Along with other pertinent discussions, the candidate will also present a final strategic communication plan at the conclusion of the DIPP which is designed to provide a compelling argument for continuing with certain interventions based on short-term data analyses and findings. The “strategic communication plan” (developed by the candidate in COM 6610) should present information suitable for sharing the results of the DIPP with key stakeholders (principals, parents, faculty/staff, school board, community leaders, county commissioners, etc.). The written communication plan should be in the form of an Executive Summary.
Directions to the Candidate and Requirements
The Dissertation in Practice (DIPP) is a formal demonstration of the doctoral candidate’s knowledge, skills and behaviors, scholarship, and dispositions of educational leadership. It is a intended to serve as a demonstration that the doctoral candidate is capable and prepared to provide extraordinary leadership. The DIPP is a strategic plan to solve a problem of practice with the preliminary steps “next steps” of implementation and evaluation of potential solutions. It involves working with a collegelevel or district-level leader (superintendent or designee) on a problem, or opportunity, that is of mutual concern to them. The DIPP serves to provide major evidence of leadership performance, leadership capacity, and leadership thinking. The candidate should be aware that the DIPP must be a practical application of the candidate’s: (1) strategic planning skills; (2) use of data to impact teaching and learning; (3) ability to build and use relationships toward the same end; and (4) and ability to apply theory to practice. These four cornerstones emanate from the framework of four key strands of High Point University’s Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership: Strategic Leadership; Data and Learning; Building Collaborative Relationships; and Theory, Application and Practice. The assessment of the DIPP is guided by the rubric below which evaluates the candidate’s proficiency in knowledge, skills in oral and written communication, leadership, and dispositions as they are applied to the evidence or product produced by the candidate. The DIPP will ultimately be a manuscript with ten sections and Appendix with required documentation. The presentation format of the required “manuscript” may vary from project to project; however, all DIPP must include evidence of the following:
- The definition of the problem of practice from both a local and state context (Problem selection must address these six components:
- The DIPP problem must be a contemporary educational issue and have an educational leadership component in its analysis. Find the “problem” through talking with others in the organization, in the data of the organization, and in the practices of the organization. In thinking as a social scientist and design thinker, what system is the problem in as it relates to the structural frame of the organization, the human resources frame, the political frame, and/or the symbolic (cultural) frame?
- The DIPP problem must be high leverage, which means the problem must be sustainable. It must sustain the interest, creativity, and imagination of the candidate as a practitioner and researcher. It cannot be solved easily. It is rather complex, with multiple solutions possible. If it is addressed, it will make the organization better.
- The DIPP problem must be manageable in size and complexity. The scope of the problem implies that, working diligently, the doctoral candidate can lead a team to know the problem and work on a plan to ameliorate it, implement some “next step” interventions, and evaluate the interventions to make recommendations for potential expansion of various initiatives over a period of twelve months.
- The DIPP problem must be within the practitioner’s range of competence. In other words, the candidate must be grounded in knowledge and practice as it relates to the “problem.”
- The educational organization must desire a “solution” to the existing problem. Also, the problem solution must hold potential for contributing to improvement in Educational Leadership practice. The problem “solution” must be situated in the mode of improvement science so that implementation can be monitored and tweaked as necessary.
- The capstone problem must provide the doctoral practitioner with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of both strategic planning methodology and the content/context of the topic.
- The political and legal issues that impacted the identification of the problem.
- A description of (1) how consensus was developed around the problem of practice, (2) what potential problems were identified, and (3) what strategies the candidate implemented to manage conflict in the strategic planning process; and (4) reflections of the process.
- The role of each district level strategic planning team member including how these individuals’ various points of view on the problem of practice influenced and shaped the identification of specific strategies and initiatives to include and/or exclude;
- The Review of Literature on best practice, dialogue, discussions, open forums, etc. that framed the problem in context of local, state, and federal mandates.
- The relevant data as it related to national, state, and district-level research for problem identification and solution.
- The input/influence of various stakeholders (i.e, community, political, and business leaders in the district), principals and other district leaders in the identification, implementation and evaluation process.
- A description of how relationships with individuals and business partners in the district, as well as state and community partners, impacted the problem solving process.
- To provide clear narrative and relevant data describing the process of problem of practice “implementation”, problem of practice “evaluation”.
- To provide a strategic communication plan for delivering the findings to all necessary stakeholders in the form of a final Executive Summary.
The rubric for assessment of Electronic Evidence #5 (Leading With Influence: Dissertation in Practice) appears below and will be used by university doctoral committee chairs assigned to supervise EDU 8300/8400: The Dissertation-in-Professional Practice: Implementation and Evaluation of Problem Solution and EDU 6610: Applied Strategic Communication Skills. These courses are offered as co-requisite requirements and will include Evidence #5 as a co-assignment spanning the last two semesters of the candidate’s enrollment. As part of the DIPP, candidates are also required to generate an Executive Summary.