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NCU posts new newsletter, “Higher Degrees” July 2, 2012

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Congrats to NCU! The latest newsletter is very nice.

Take a look at this link.

My good friend, Dr. Milton Kabia, is highlighted in the newsletter. Hooray for Dr. Kabia!

5 years, 7 months, 13 days June 6, 2012

Posted by thinkphd in : Dissertation , 2 comments

That’s how long it took from enrollment to dissertation defense. A lot of things both personally and professionally happened over those 2053 days. You’ve read a bit about my life here in this blog. I am still pinching myself and here it is five months after my defense.

Today, I am thinking about Northcentral’s Commencement which will take place June 9 (next weekend). Everytime I watch the video from last year’s ceremony, I tear up.

Here it is – I recommend watching this video if you are struggling on your journey and need a bit of encouragement to stay the course. Make sure you have tissues handy:


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…everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
…you have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
…you look forward to summers because you can study more productively without the distraction of classes.
…you regard ibuprofen as a vitamin.
…you consider all papers to be works in progress.
…you find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text.
…you have give up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
…you have accepted guilt as inherent feature of relaxation.
…you find yourself explaining to children that you’re “in 20th grade.”
…you start referring to things in Latin phrasing, as in “Snow White et al”
…you frequently wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy.
…you look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
…you can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
…you are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read.
…you have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar.
…you rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
…you wonder whether APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as “personal communication.”
…you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
…you have difficulty reading anything that doesn’t have footnotes.
…you consider caffeine to be a major food group.
…you’ve ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
…Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.
…the professor doesn’t show up to class and you discuss the readings anyway.
…you can read course books and cook at the same time.
…you hope it snows during Spring Break so you can get more studying in.
…you find taking notes in a park relaxing.
…you find yourself citing sources in conversation.
…you’ve ever sent a personal letter with footnotes.
…your glasses prescription is 3x stronger than it was a year ago and you have carple tunnel syndrome because 90% of your time is in front of the computer or reading.
…8% of your time is spent in class.
…2% of your time is divided among eating, sleeping, shopping, TV, laundry, and socializing.
…you use words that only the people in your classes can understand.
…some of those continuing education classes sound interesting.
…the last time you watched TV, Brenda was still on 90210 and McGuiver was making bombs out of duct tape.
…an exciting trip is when you run errands not related to school.
…you don’t remember the last fiction book you read.
…studying keeps you awake.
…a complete dinner might be a bagel with cream cheese and a diet coke.
…a full night of sleep is 4 hours and a 2 hour nap mid afternoon.
…the last time you worked out, women were wearing little rope headbands and legwarmers.
…if you actually do workout, you have mastered the art of studying while on the bike or stairmaster.
…the food groups are ramen, caffeine, Subway, bagels, and the occasional delivery.
…when you tell people your thesis topic, they blink repeatedly and purse their lips while attempting not to burst out laughing.
…you have an academic/professional text that you think is cool because you got the author to sign it.
…you consider cooking and cleaning your house/apartment leisurely breaks from real work.
…5:00 p.m. Friday means you are now scheduled to work on your paper for the next 48 hours.
…you have every minute of the next four months planned out but have no idea what you are going to do for the rest of your life.
…your friends and family become concerned because although you can now recite, word for word, the most popular theories in your field, you have lost all semblance of common sense.
…you can’t tell which of the last 30 drafts of a paper was the one to submit for a grade.
…you are considering naming your first born child with monikers that spell SPSS.
…sleep is considered an optional recreational activity.
…”The Committee” means some semi-secretive organization designed to keep you in Hades on Earth.
…you understand jokes about grad school. 😉


Symposium Presentation April 22, 2012

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My colleague D and I presented at the University of Phoenix Northern Virginia Campus’ Symposium, “Conducting Scholarship in the Workplace/Classroom: Myths, Realities, and Rewards” on Saturday. It was a great experience! We presented some of our work related to a workshop on small business/microbusiness. The Symposium was held in Reston, VA, which is about a two hour drive for us. We enjoyed an inspiring presentation by Dr. Jeremy Moreland, executive dean, regarding faculty scholarship. After the presentation, there were 12 research presentations (ours was one).

This was our first presentation, and we really gained from stepping out from our comfort zone. It was a little nerve wracking not knowing how things would go together (how many people? will they ask questions? will our presentation be appropriate for this audience?). It was a long day but I an sooo glad that we did it. I hope this was one of many such opportunities. D and I enjoy some great collaboration work sessions, and I think they paid off!

Modifying a scale + pilot studies March 18, 2012

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I recommend not modifying a scale used in your research unless that is your only (or best) option. There are several things you must do if you choose the modify route. All of these things take time and require specific reporting in your dissertation.

If you find that you must modify the scale, you must state how the original instrument was validated and what your modifications are (were). You must conduct a pilot study with the “new and improved” instrument – you cannot assume since the original instrument was OK, your new one is, too. It isn’t. The original scales were valid and reliable as a “whole” not the sum of its parts. Your pilot testers should be “experts” in the field. Do not pick other students or your professors (unless they represent a sample in the population).

Once you have received feedback from your expert panel, you must report what they said, and make changes to your instrument. Depending on their comments, you might need to re-pilot the instrument. Next, use Chronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient or similar test(s). You will report all of these results, and base your reasons to use the “new and improved” instrument on what you found out.

From time to time someone will ask if just changing a word or two is OK. Consult with your chair because it really depends on what words are changing and the context. For example, I used a survey with British spellings of a certain word (“s” in place of a “c”) and this was deemed to be not sufficient alteration. However, I did complete a pilot study. Here is a quote from my dissertation:

“The pilot test was conducted to provide feedback and advance warning about any corrections, deletions, or additions to be made before extending official survey invitations to participants. In addition, the pilot test invited comments about the relevance of questions as related to the research intent. Pre-testing the instrument in this way contributed to ensuring reliability and validity of the instrument relative to the contemporary sample population.”

Good news March 5, 2012

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Today, I received some good news! A colleague and I sent in a proposal for an academic conference and we received our acceptance notice today. The conference is in April so we have some time to pull our presentation together. We have proposed a new Workshop Curriculum, the structure of which is based on Boyer’s model of scholarship. The University of Phoenix encourages faculty to pursue scholarship and research in their academic and professional fields. My friend D and I are putting that model into practice with our proposal. We are both professionals who teach, so we bring lifetimes of work into our teaching.

Ordered commencement robe today February 25, 2012

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I ordered my commencement robe today, having finally decided on this one:

Northcentral University Deluxe Doctorate Package with Piping (Black Velvet) $561.00

The price is high but I will use my robe for local commencements as well as the one for NCU. I remember looking at the robes several years ago an wondering if I would EVER get to wear one. Graduation seemed so very far away and so unobtainable. This journey to a PhD has been very difficult but I just kept hanging on through all the ups and downs.

So Husband and I are preparing to go to commencement in AZ, and take in some of the landmarks while we are there such as the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. I am also VERY EXCITED about meeting some of the folks that I have been talking to by phone and email. I have made so many friends through the years and it will be great to sit over a cup of coffee and visit (and NOT talk about courses, TPs, CPs, DP, and DMs)!

Commencement robe decision? February 12, 2012

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I am looking at the commencement robes, and considering which will be best to buy. I plan to buy rather than rent because I attend local commencement ceremonies every year. The robes are expensive but I will use it every year.

If you bought or have seen them in real life, which looks best? Here are the choices: the doctoral robe with black velvet and black piping, with black velvet without black piping, with blue velvet and gold piping, or with blue velvet without piping?

Please feel free to comment after looking at the pictures, even if you have not seen the robes in person!

Here is the link: http://www.artneedle.com/northcentral-university/

I am leaning toward one of the all-black ones with or without piping, but I like the ones with blue velvet, too! I just don’t know which one to pick. I do not like to buy anything so expensive after just looking at photos. I like to see things close up for quality.

Also – if you have a doctoral commencement robe for sale, feel free to post a note and let me (and others) know.

The 100th Monkey January 28, 2012

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Have you ever thought about how does social change happen? I recommend reading an interesting story called “The 100th Monkey” and below that, “The Hundreth Monkey Revisited.” Is there a short cut to social transformation? Can “one monkey” really make a difference in a society?

Are you willing to be that “one monkey”? Will your education make a difference to all the monkeys around you?

I challenge you to create change for good in your own life and then to show that to others. Let’s make a change in our social fabric. Choose good things today.

Citing website information using APA January 21, 2012

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My friend D shared a helpful resource with me and I think you will appreciate it as well! Have you ever needed to include a website reference in a paper, but you did not know how to cite it? Download this file and now you will know!

The basic reference format has four positions: A, B, C, and D. For example, if the title of the webpage is missing, your solution will be to describe the document inside square brackets. In Position A, you will put the author, then in position B – the date, in position C you will describe the document [inside square brackets] and then in position D – add the URL.

I have a three-ring binder of APA help documents, and today I am adding “How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style: What to Do When Information is Missing.”


Why God doesn’t have a Ph.D. January 20, 2012

Posted by thinkphd in : Miscellaneous , 1 comment so far

1. He had only one major publication.
2. It was in Hebrew.
3. It had no references.
4. It wasn’t published in a referreed journal.
5. Some even doubt he wrote it by himself.
6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?
7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
8. The scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.
9. He never applied to the ethics board for permission to use human subjects.
10. When one experiment went awry he tried to cover it up by drowning his subjects.
11. When subjects didn’t behave as predicted, he deleted them from the sample.
12. Some say he had his son teach the class.
13. He expelled his first two students for learning.
14. He rarely came to class, and he just told students to read the book.
15. Although there were only 10 requirements, most of his students failed his tests.
16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountaintop.

shared from http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~pinto/god.html

MBAs need CSR: now January 16, 2012

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A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek entitled Occupy Our Business Schools (by David L. Ikenberry and Donna Sockell) posed some interesting thoughts about MBA programs. Most programs do not include social accountability studies. Rather, the stress is on finance, marketing, and management with the view that only these add value to our society. Indeed, value is received through products, services, buying, selling, and creating worth, yet there is an obvious lack of focus on the human element. Is “value” simply immediate and ephemeral, and without lasting and significant impact on tomorrow?

Corporate social responsibility includes sustainable actions, i.e., using resources and creating value in society today that does not bankrupt future generations. An easy example is designing a toy that all children want to have, but choosing to use lead paint becuase it is cheaper. The toy manufacturer added value to society (according the MBA model) by creating worth through a product. Yet, parents will SCREAM about the health risks of the new toy. Did the toy manufacturer managers and engineers consider all of the implications to society, including the future implications, of distributing that toy?

Our MBA programs (and BS/BA programs, for that matter) must contain studies about the ethical and social implications of actions today, so that we protect our tomorrows. I don’t think we need separate social responsibility courses. Corporate social responsibility studies must be fully integrated within each course so as to prepare our next generation of business leaders.

That is, if we have a next generation.

Quick advice about picking a dissertation topic January 14, 2012

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You should approach each course with the end in mind – in other words, as you do research for your coursework assignments, carefully review the “implications for research” sections at the ends of journal articles. This will plant seeds in your mind about potential topics for your future dissertation.

In about my third core class, I started a Word doc in which I simply copy/pasted some of the statements I found. I also added some that I found in texts and developed on my own. Then, when it came time to pick a topic, I had hundreds of potentials. I deleted those that did not interest me, and found a “golden thread” among the others. My dissertation topic ended up being something that interested me, but also something that had not been done before.

PhD for a week, learner for a lifetime January 12, 2012

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Well, it has been a week since I defended, and it still seems unreal. I figured out how many years I was in school:

Kindergarten: 2 years
Grades 1-12: 12 years
Troy University, BS degree: 2 years, 7 months
Troy University, MBA: 2 years, 3 months
Northcentral University, PhD: 5 years, 7 months


Gosh that is a lifetime! I think I qualify for “lifetime learner”!

At work, they are calling me “Doctor” and my boss recognized me at a staff meeting. My work friends have been so very nice and supportive. It still feels odd not to be working on my dissertation when I come home from work. I read it through again last night and was very tempted to do some more editing.

I have a friend who defended this week, and some more friends who will be defending soon. In my PhD journey, I have met some really fantastic people, with whom I have a lot in common. We are all learners for a lifetime. What about you?

The dissertation topic “hole in the ground” January 7, 2012

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A dissertation topic is like a hole in the ground.

A poor dissertation topic hole is easily dug – it is wide and shallow, and never goes past the top soil. Just any ol’ shovel will do, and most anybody can dig this one if he has enough time. This dissertation hole is a hundred miles wide, and it doesn’t tell us much about what’s under the surface.

In contrast, a good dissertation topic is like using a borer to drive a hole in the ground – deep, deep, and deeper. It is difficult to drill and goes through layer and layer and layer, down through the bedrock. It will take longer to drill this hole. Sometimes the drill point struggles and groans and shakes. The hole on the surface is deceiving because it looks small, but this dissertation hole is a hundred miles deep, and it gives us lots of information about what is truly under the surface.

Now consider your dissertation topic: is it wide and shallow, or narrow and deep?

If you are having difficulty with your topic, perhaps you are not digging the right kind of hole?