In May 2022, Arthur Martinez graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor’s Doctorate of Education program. Martinez is currently the Head Principal at Neidig Elementary School in Texas and an Adjunct Professor at Huston-Tilotson University. Take a look at Martinez’s experience as a graduate student at Concordia.
Why did you choose the Doctor of Leadership in Innovation and Continuous Improvement (LICI) program at Concordia?
When choosing a program, I wanted an online, flexible program, as I live in Austin. The CUWAA program had a continuous school improvement component, which won me over. I learned so much about school improvement, which helps in my job daily. I love CUWAA! It was the absolute right/best choice for me.
How did this program help take your career to the next level?
The program provided me skills and content knowledge to elevate my leadership capacity. Halfway through the course, I realized my abilities were much stronger than I first thought. My professors and classmates helped to shape me into a stronger leader and learner, even when I doubted myself. I’m so thankful I stayed and fought through the self-doubts.
Discuss your experiences with the cohort model.
It was a benefit to go through the courses together with cohort members. We would struggle and strive together. It was exciting to see which cohort members were going to be in each new class. From class to class, interacting with the same members helped to create a space for deeper discussions, which were very helpful.
What did you learn from your cohort peers?
The greatest lesson I learned from my cohort peers was to think more critically outside of my own, subjective opinions. My peers came to the discussions and classes with other beliefs giving me the chance to listen to and understand different perspectives.
What are your goals with your new Ed.D.?
My goals are to use what I learned from the LICI program to be a more vital principal and professor and to continue my education. After a few years serving in the role of campus principal, I seek to attain a superintendent certificate and will use my Ed.D. and certification to be a serious superintendent candidate for my school district.
How did the LICI program transform you?
The program helped me to believe in myself again. The first half of the program…I experienced imposter syndrome, wondering why CUWAA let me into the program. After having a class with Dr. Cosgrove, that syndrome went away. From that point on, I have transformed into a confident educator and leader. I believe in myself and hope to encourage and elevate the skills of others, so they can be confident in their abilities.
What was a pleasant surprise about the LICI program?
Most programs would market their programs by saying it could be done in three years. At CUWAA I finished in exactly three years, by following the model provided by my advisor. It was wonderful to get done in the time I was told. Also, all the staff/professors are so kind and helpful.
What were the hardest and easiest aspects of completing a dissertation?
The hardest – hands down were the literature reviews. It took me almost six months to complete the review. The easiest parts were chapters four and five. Once the literature review was completed and the study was approved, the rest went super fast.
How did you grow personally and academically during your dissertation process?
The dissertation process…! The juggernaut process was the most learning I have ever done. I’m so thankful I had such a knowledgeable and encouraging chair. Anytime I would dip, she was right there to pick me back up, reminding me of my goal to complete the program in three years.
Thinking at a higher level when drafting the literature review was essential. There was so much information to take in, so I chunked it and just kept learning. As a scholar, I gained more knowledge, and as a writer, I gained confidence in the writing process and was excited to take my writing to the next level.
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What connections did you make with your LICI professors?
They pushed me and held me accountable for being successful. Learning at a minimal level was just not an option. I graduated from the program with a 4.0 because they pushed me. The professors demanded high levels of learning, and I thrived in that environment, especially with quantitative statistics. Never in a million years would I have thought that I could get an A in a class that challenging. The professor knew it was for me.
What were your most memorable experiences in the LICI program?
The day of the defense was a memorable moment. Defending my study was such a wonderful experience, especially after three years of working toward that moment. I believed in my study and in myself. Hearing them call me Dr. Martinez for the first time changed my life forever.
Additionally, graduation was an extraordinary time for me. I appreciated the LICI department having a separate special ceremony before graduation. This was a moment for our professors and peers to celebrate together. It was something I will never forget.