Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:45PM - 699 Views
ROGER ALFORD Associated Press Writer



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Morehead State University’s spring 2013 commencement proved to be historic as 19 students graduated with a Doctorate of Educational Leadership degree. Even before this three-year program was approved by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, a number of educators in the region had expressed an interest in earning a doctorate. When the approval was given, several more students than could be accepted into the program applied.


Candidates for the Degree Doctorate of Education were:


Matthew Shane Baker, South Portsmouth; Scottie Billiter, Jenkins; Timothy Wade Bobrowski, Booneville; Christine Block Boyd, Winona Lake, Ind.; Robbie L. Fletcher, Inez; Kelly Anne Foster, Mt. Sterling; Roberta Lynn Walton Fugett, Wellington; Ray E. Ginter, Morehead; Jeffrey Clifton Hawkins, Neon; Rachel Elizabeth Holbrook, Flat Gap; James L. Hurley, Pikeville; Lisa Cluxton Jones, Berea; Beth Banks Pennington, Whitesburg; Garrick Lee Ratliff, Morehead; Michael A. Rutherford, Waxhaw, N.C.; Amy Johnson Staton, Salt Lick; Lowell Shawn Thornsbury, Ashland; Charles Douglas Ward, Williamson, W.Va.; and Henry Webb, Prestonsburg.


Mingo County School’s principal Doug Ward was one of the candidates who received his doctorate. His work has been submitted for publication to the Rural Education Journal: Association for Rural Education Policy and Practice in an upcoming edition.


The title of Ward’s writing was “Seeking Solutions to Geographic Injustice: The Impact of Distance on Rural Secondary Schools.”


Others from this region who also received their doctorates were James Hurley, UPike President and former Belfry Middle School principal; and Sheldon Clark principal Robbie Fletcher.


The three-year program requires successful completion of a minimum of 60 post-graduate hours, written and oral qualifying exams, and successful defense of a capstone project. Additionally, the practitioner-doctorate model means that students work full time while they are engaged in completing the various program requirements. Sometimes called practitioner-scholars, program participants are expected to engage in problem-solving activities designed to improve the district or organization in which they work.


It was only recently that public regional universities were given approval by Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) to grant doctoral degrees. In addition to Morehead State University, other regional comprehensive Kentucky universities that offer doctorates include Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Northern Kentucky University.


“These candidates have worked hard over the last three years and they are to be congratulated,” said Dr. David Barnett, director of the program. “The coursework and capstone projects are impacting countless lives. We couldn’t be more pleased with the work of students in Cohort I.”


“They truly are a remarkable group of practitioner-scholars.”


With the graduation of members of Cohort I, the attention now turns to Cohorts II, III, and the recently selected Cohort IV.


Additional information is available by contacting Dr. Barnett at 606-783-2261.

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