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Appalachian’s doctoral program accepted into prestigious Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate

By Linda Coutant

BOONE, N.C.—Appalachian State University’s doctoral program in educational leadership has been accepted into the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), a consortium of over 100 graduate schools of education working together to redesign professional practice preparation in education for the improvement of preK-20 education and the organizations that support it.

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Appalachian’s doctoral program, the Ed.D. degree, is housed in the Reich College of Education (RCOE). It prepares students for leadership roles in preK-20, including public schools, community colleges, universities and other community organizations.

Appalachian was among 22 institutions chosen this spring for CPED through an application process based on existing successes.

“Developing successful, innovative programs to prepare educators will ultimately result in our overall goal of more students reaching their full potential,” said UNC President Margaret Spellings. “It’s exciting to see that Appalachian is one of two UNC system institutions receiving this significant recognition.”

“It is prestigious to be a member of the Carnegie Project. It means that students are in a quality program that is innovative, contemporary and rigorous. Being part of this thriving community will strengthen our program even more,” said Dr. Audrey Dentith, program director.

RCOE Dean Melba Spooner said the designation “will allow us to engage with other programs and professionals to examine and collaborate around best practices and the generation of ideas that will strengthen the program through potential redesign, data collection, and teaching and advising processes.”

CPED institution members and their faculty engage in a model of professional development to learn from and with each other the best ways to design professional preparation. CPED offers a framework for preparing educational leaders as well-equipped scholarly practitioners who provide stewardship of the profession and meet the educational challenges of the 21st century.

Spooner added the CPED framework supports rigorous preparation while providing flexibility for local context and mission. “It will provide a means to examine instruction, program design and other quality measures for student, faculty and program success,” she said.

Launched in the early 1990s to prepare K-12 superintendents and general school administrators, Appalachian’s doctoral program has evolved into one of the country’s more distinctive programs – in part because of its focus on sustainability and social justice. The program provides students with strong research and theoretical foundations to resolve problems in their communities, and offers concentrations in higher education, reading and literacy education, expressive arts, educational leadership and educational administration.

“CPED looks for member institutions that are keenly interested in curricular change and innovative practices,” Dentith explained.

“CPED offers many, many resources for us. New approaches to the dissertation and creative ways to deliver programs are just some of the knowledge we are already gleaning from our new relationships. It’s also very helpful to share problems of practice with university programs that have a longer history than our own and ones that are regarded as some of the top programs in the country,” she said.

Some of the respected institutions already in CPED are UCLA, Michigan State University, Boston College and the University of Georgia. Others joining this spring in addition to Appalachian include Loyola University Chicago, Temple University, The Ohio State University, University of West Georgia and Fayetteville State University. All CPED member institutions are listed at

About the Reich College of Education

Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.