Essay describing my purpose in pursuing a doctorate

Pursuing a doctorate has been my goal since earning my M. ED. in Special Education. I had an opportunity in 1998 to attend a workshop at Adrian University and was impressed with the positive atmosphere and open learning environment. After investigating the credentials and background of the faculty, I became convinced that Adrian University was the perfect place for me to pursue my doctoral studies.

My goal after receiving the doctoral degree is to apply my knowledge in a staff or managerial policy-making position at the national level. While specializing in the field of exceptional children’s programs, I have acquired an ability to adapt quickly to the fast pace of change in the way exceptional children’s needs are met within school systems and by individual teachers in classrooms. I offer considerable experience as a “change agent” within public school systems. I believe my expert knowledge of exceptional children’s programs and needs could be a valuable addition to your doctoral program and could provide enriching insights for the other doctoral candidates.

If you look at my vitae, I believe you will see that your doctoral program is the obvious next step in my professional life so that I can contribute to an even greater extent to public school education in our state and nation. As a doctoral candidate, I would offer a “track record” of committed service to education along with expert knowledge of the area of exceptional children’s programs administration. I began my teaching career as a teacher of 3rd and 4th grade students in Maine and, in that first teaching position, I encountered the problem of having students who were nonreaders. That experience in my “rookie” year of teaching caused me to make a commitment to gain more specialization as a teacher so that I could help children who were not learning. After obtaining my M. ED in Special Education, I taught in exceptional children’s programs and have been involved in the supervision of exceptional children’s programs in Baldwin County Schools and Caldwell County Schools.

As we face the challenges of the 21st century, I foresee greater and greater cultural and educational diversity in our classrooms. This is already happening! With a reputation statewide as an expert in the field of exceptional children’s programs, I am intimately acquainted with the increasing tendency toward more inclusion of handicapped children in regular classrooms. That reality means, very simply, that teachers cannot teach a heterogeneous student population in the same way that they would teach a homogeneous population.

Have a sincere desire to help teachers figure out the best way to teach as they find themselves working in these increasingly complex and diversified classroom environments.

It is my strong professional belief that teacher preparatory programs will eventually be moving away from training teachers as either regular teachers or special education teachers. As more and more children with special needs are being included in regular classrooms, I believe teacher preparatory programs at the college and university level eventually will be training teachers to work with diverse populations—at-risk, handicapped, multi-cultural, and other specialized groups. While this trend in combined education will administrators who have the vision and knowledge to help teachers, students, and parents respond to the new challenges of combined classrooms.

In summary, it is my deep desire to be of service to our nation that motivates me to seek the doctoral degree. There is nothing that thrills me more than to see our public schools graduate students who are ready for employment and who are equipped with the self confidence to face life enthusiastically—both of which can be produced by a quality public school education. As a practical person with 15 years of experience in teaching and administration, I believe the doctoral program will enhance my skills as a practitioner and enable me to continue to manage growth and change within the highly exciting and fast-paced world of public education.

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