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I have a Bachelors Degree in History, A Master of Science in recreation management and an Ed.D. (ABD). in Institutional Management from Pepperdine University. (An Ed.D. is a terminal degree like the Ph.D. However the emphasis is on education and educational systems. ABD stands for "All But Dissertation" ).
I taught at two Universities, in the Biological and Physical Sciences Department at UCLA for 8 years and California State University, Northridge for 18 years. I also taught Computer Graphics at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster CA for two years.
I completed all of my course work for my Doctorate in Institutional Management at Pepperdine by 1990. I took and passed the Comprehensive Examinations on my first attempt. For those who are unfamiliar with that process, Comprehensive examinations involve four 8-hour days during which the candidate is required to integrate everything he or she learned. The questions are typically essay in nature and the questions are generally about three pages long. Responses were handwritten and ran to two or three dozen pages. No reference books were allowed. Spelling and grammar were issues. Statistics, management, problem theories, educational and leadership theories and techniques and more are integrated to solve the problems posed by the essay question. A committee of experts does the scoring.
The final step is the dissertation process.
I presented FOUR dissertation proposals.
The first took over a year and involved a preliminary study of 630 of my High Risk University students. "Design, implementation and effects of an esteem building outdoor recreation program for youth at risk " , 1991. Pepperdine University
It remains one of the most comprehensive studies of the type ever undertaken. My committee rejected it because I had begun the data collection one month prior to approval of the topic. Understandable... Study canceled though the information did contribute to a nice grant.
The second involved a 6 month preparatory study of "The fall of the white male; Reverse discrimination in education financing and program development" A highly charged topic that bought me a new committee and a black eye (literally). Study canceled
The third involved a study of "Recidivism of high security prisoners in a Los Angeles County jail Drug rehabilitation program" 1992. During this study I spent two years in a maximum-security jail teaching a drug rehabilitation program to gangsters. The program was canceled before data collection was completed. Study canceled. (I was NOT incarcerated :>))
The final topic, designed to protect me from the vagaries of employment and highly volatile committee members, was "A Profile Of System Operators In Public Access Computer Mediated Electronic Communication Systems " 1997
The study proposal (the first three chapters of a five-chapter dissertation) was accepted and the oral defense of the topic was approved without modification. Data was collected and analyzed. The results were ... there were no statistically significant results. I wrote the final two chapters despite this. Remaining was the final oral defense and graduation as well as a few hoops to jump through. It was clear that the lack of results would make the dissertation very difficult to defend.
At this point Pepperdine was prepared to accept publications in lieu of a dissertation and had begun to do so for other students. I applied for this track. I was refused on the basis that the option was not in the catalog when I applied for the doctoral program. I was therefore ineligible. Then there was talk about a "Professional Doctorate" in which the dissertation or publication requirement was not required. A program designed for professionals who wanted the skills and knowledge as well as a terminal degree. It has not yet been approved. I am not convinced it will be..
I looked back at over 7 years of dissertation research, false starts, long nights and disappointments and decided that there was no value to be had in beating myself any longer. After 10 years and over $80,000 of a doctoral program, I had had it. When or if Pepperdine approves the professional doctorate I will complete their program. Other wise I am happy to have had the opportunity to learn and apply as much as I did.