Book Reviews

Full-Time Leaders. Part-Time Learner

by Joanne L. Erickson, Richard D. Howard, Kenneth W. Borland Jr. and Larry J. Baker

Reviewed by Charles W. Rudiger
Professor of Leadership and Technology, Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.

This slim but comprehensive text, written by Joanne L. Erickson, Richard D. Howard and Larry J. Baker of the Montana State University and Kenneth J. Baker of East Stroudsburg University, offers a timely and comprehensive report on the state of doctoral programs in the school leadership field.

With private foundation support, the researchers have investigated recent reforms in the organization and delivery of doctoral programs at the nation’s universities. Full-Time Leaders/Part-Time Learners will be of particular interest to aspiring school system leaders who are considering the terminal credential in educational administration in a program that accommodates their personal and professional needs.

The authors have developed an important checklist of issues and answers for those who recognize that alternative delivery systems are needed in an increasingly competitive environment. The traditional doctoral candidate has morphed into someone who is older, employed full-time with experience and probably female, who wants to avoid interrupting his or her career path but seeks a doctoral degree. This modern doctorate seeker wants a “user-friendly” format in a reasonable time frame, perhaps three to five years.

The typical part-time doctoral program has a structured and selective admissions process, creates annual student cohorts of 12 to 30 diverse candidates, meets summers, evenings and/or weekends and uses synchronous and asynchronous course management systems (distance learning, video conferencing, web-based formats, virtual courses) and hybrid combinations that feature extensive use of technology. The digital ePortfolio is gaining prominence as a supplement or substitute for the comprehensive doctoral examination.

In addition, new models for the dissertation in educational leadership are emerging as a result of enhanced faculty-student relationships, the need for a seamless but visible alignment of coursework, the ePortfolio and research focused on real-world situations.

The text includes a dissertation template and a doctoral student tracking system. All in all, this would be an excellent investment for educational practitioners and others interested in obtaining the terminal credential.

(Full-Time Leaders/Part-Time Learners: Doctoral Programs for Administrators with Multiple Priorities by Joanne L. Erickson, Richard D. Howard, Kenneth Borland Jr. and Larry J. Baker, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, Md., 2004, 116 pp. with index, $22.95 softcover)