Get Your Geek On: Doctoral Focus

Doctoral Focus written by Tracy Wilson

This posting will discuss why I enrolled in the Ph.D. program for Educational Psychology, what I am trying to become, and how I will accomplish my objective.

Why are You Here?

I have always been fascinated by human behavior.  I worked in the field of child welfare from 2005 until 2014.  My specialty was interviewing sexual abuse survivors and preparing them for court.  I also served as a mentor to new employees.  Due to the nature of my career, I enrolled at the University of North Dakota’s (UND) online Forensic Psychology Masters program in 2009 and graduated in 2011.  I was promoted to the director of the department and I thought that my graduate studies prepared me for catastrophe, but I was sadly mistaken when my unit faced a child abduction.  Child welfare lost its luster and I resigned.

In August 2015 I was offered an adjunct faculty position with my undergraduate alma mater and I have fallen in love with the profession.  With Capella, I chose Educational Psychology with a concentration in Psychology Teaching and Instruction because educating college students is my passion.

Learning methods in prominent contrast with past experiences

Each person learns differently, utilizing different skills sets to understand and implement concepts (Rolfe & Cheek, 2012).   My personal learning style involves a pen in my hand or keys at my fingertips.  I also integrate auditory and visual learning into the way I process information.  Additionally, collaboration with peers assists me in learning and retaining information.

The scholar-practitioner model has its roots in theory, research, and implementation (McClintock, 2004).  This model is somewhat new to me.  As a graduate student, I was taught theories proposed by others and applied them.  For example, during the onsite-capstone course at UND, my team was asked to compare and contrast Rape Trauma Syndrome and PTSD, choose which diagnoses we agreed with, and then present the rationale to the class.  We formed our argument based on current research but did not propose any new theories.  I am certain that the scholar-practitioner model is in stark contrast to my previous experiences.

What are you trying to become?

Attaining a Ph.D. will not only be a personal triumph, but tenure would finally be attainable and my dream of being a full-time educator at the college level would become a reality.  I will be an expert in my field and can make contributions to the educational community.  I would also be able to wield theory into practice as I continue teaching, assisting my students in reaching their own career goals.

I have always used a student-centered model and have recently incorporated a transfer-of-learning component.  I want to expound upon this by completing research examining whether the incorporation of transference skills actually enhances student performance.  As a doctoral learner, I can do that.

How Will You Accomplish You Goal?

To accomplish all of the above, I must prioritize.  In fact, I am trying to work weeks ahead in this course.  I make lists and plan accordingly.  When I check off something on the list, I move onto the next task.  The is one of the many strategies I employ to maintain focus.

Another way I will accomplish the goal of completing this program as well as to obtain a position in higher learning is to stay positive.  Within the last week, I have lost count as to how many times I have considered quitting the program.  However, when I stop, take a breath, and think, I see the big picture.  The only way I am going to obtain all of the things I see in that picture is to use determination and strength.

Time management will be essential for completing the Ph.D. program.  I also think that the lists I mentioned above tie into effective time management.  Sacrifices will have to be made.  I will have to allot time each day to focus on my studies.

For me, failure is not an option.  Although I have given thought to throwing in the towel already, I will not.  A Ph.D. is something I have talked about since I was in undergraduate school.  Now with a position in higher education already, I know that the path is clear.  Therefore, it is safe to say that courage and vision will also play a role in this process.

I will complete the required coursework for not only this course, but future courses.  Eventually, I will take my comps and then finish my dissertation.  The only way I can do this is to grab the determination that I know lies deep within.  Then, and only then, can I reach my ultimate goal of becoming a tenured professor.

In conclusion, embracing my personal experiences, understanding and using the scholar-practitioner model, knowing what the primary goal is, and having a plan to work toward it will empower me to be successful as I take this path.  The responsibility lies with me.  It will take time, patience, and commitment.  With the support of peers, instructors, family, and friends, I know that I can complete this journey successfully and then move forward in my career aspirations.

References

McClintock, C. (2004). Scholar practitioner model.  In A. Distefano, K. E. Rudestam, & R. J. Silverman

(Eds.), Encyclopedia of distributed learning (pp. 393–397). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rolfe, A., & Cheek, B.  (2012).  Learning styles.  Innovait, 5(3), 176-181, doi:10.1093/innovait/inr239

 

The Next Chapter

Hello to my loyal readers. Some of you follow the YouTube re-runs. Others enjoy the Teaser Tuesdays and Guest Posts. No matter what your preference, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog. Sounds like a farewell doesn’t it? Rest assured, it’s an “Until we meet again.”

I have been managing this blog since December 2012. I have met some pretty fantastic folks through this medium. The next chapter of my life is beginning, however, and with that comes self-reflection and prioritizing.

I enrolled in a Ph.D. program and will begin classes on April 10th. From what I understand, most of my time will be spent reading, writing, and studying. In fact, I’m told that this will take about 20 hours a week out of my time. It’s basically a part-time job. My grand plan was to finish Between Worlds book 4 and then 5. I think that’s going to have to wait.

I will be finished with my Ph.D. in September 2020, maybe sooner depending on how much work I’ve already completed on my dissertation by that time. After that I will be a “doctor.” My specialization will be in education (e.g., an educational psychologist) with an emphasis in teaching and instruction. My dream and sincere hope is that I am then able to climb in academia and grab a full-time, tenure track professor’s position.

Here’s how I look at the situation. If I lived through all of the turmoil and hardship of 2014, I can accomplish anything. This path I’m about to take will take time and patience. It will take determination. It will take battling against burn out and taking a few hours of time each day to devote to studying and composition. When it’s all said and done, I will be able to check another thing off of my bucket list: becoming a doctor with pretty little letters after my name: Tracy Wilson, Ph.D. (or Tracee Ford as you know me). When someone says, “Hey Doc,” they will actually be talking to me. I can publish research AND fiction.

I do plan to publish a memoir in October, nonetheless. It’s done and simply waiting for me to hit the “publish” button. It’s going to cover a lot of my personal paranormal experiences, but I have much more to add to that. Still, if I still don’t have peace about this project, it may be placed on the back burner as well, seeing publication at a much later date.

I am also anticipating going back to teaching at the local university part-time in August. Spring semester is wrapping up, which is why I scheduled doctoral classes through the summer. So, when Fall rolls around, I will be not only instructing, but I will be a student as well as a mom and a wife. I’m not sure I will have the time I need to be a blogger and a YouTube creator until I get through this journey.

With that being said, below you’ll find the remaining Guest Posts and YouTube schedule below. If after reading this, you decide to get together and send me a boat-load of guest posts, that’s okay. I’ll keep scheduling folks as long as the submissions keep coming in. If not, that’s okay, too.

3/28: B. Ferrante, guest post

4/4: Mary Edwards, guest post

4/7: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Scary Movies

4/11: I. Monique, guest post

4/18: Mary Edwards, guest post

4/21: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Spirit Guides

4/25: C. Zielinski, guest post

5/5: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Orbs

5/9: Mary Edwards, guest post

5/16: W. Luthman, guest post

5/19: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Soulmates

5/23: Mary Edwards, guest post (final Teaser Tuesday post)

6/2: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Divine Intervention

6/16: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Healers

7/7: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Seers

7/21: Freaky Friday YouTube, Spiritus Walking: Faith (final Freaky Friday post)

Again, thank you for always reading my rants and my posts. I won’t disappear completely, I promise. I have too much to give. This might end up being a great place to post my research findings, so those of you who are geeks like me might enjoy my publications.

Peace out.

Thankful Challenge: Day 16

Students

chytenashevilleToday I’m thankful for my students. I have met some pretty incredible people through my teaching opportunities. More often than not, the students teach me more than I could possibly teach them. Sometimes it’s rough, but they work so hard and give of themselves. So, I’m grateful that we’ve been able to touch the lives of one another.

As every teacher will tell you, I’ve had good experiences and bad. Out of the 3 semesters I’ve taught thus far, I’ve only had 1 student who was completely disruptive. Since then, I’ve learned how to manage my classroom a bit better, so I’m sure he was put in my life to teach me how to be a little more controlling over the general environment.

The next generation is in our hands; all of our hands. It’s not just teachers who are responsible for raising this upcoming group of young people. It falls on the shoulders of the parents. We need to teach them ownership. The one fault I have noticed is that it’s usually everyone else’s fault or they want special treatment when they miss assignments or tests. I don’t offer that. I was taught that if you get an F, you usually earned it.

I got an F in college. It was my fault. I didn’t go to class. I flunked the tests. I learned my lesson, took the class over, and got an A.

Most of the people I teach do take ownership. It takes strength to do that and I see that strength come through each time I walk into a classroom.