The University of Guam announced the creation of its first doctoral program in a press conference on June 12, 2023, on campus. Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. Anita Borja Enriquez, center, led the announcement of the doctoral program. Also joining her, from left: School of Education faculty Dr. Genevieve Leon Guerrero and Dr. Kathrine Gutierrez; Dean Alicia Cruz Aguon; and Dr. Sharleen Santos-Bamba, Interim Vice Provost, Academic Excellence, Graduate Studies, Online Learning. Photo courtesy University of Guam

When the University of Guam received overwhelmingly positive feedback expressing the need for a doctoral program – the School of Education viewed it as a leveling-up of the academic enterprise.

The creation of UOG’s first-ever doctoral program would potentially open new paths toward social mobility and further career opportunities for educators and professionals in Guam, all of Micronesia, and abroad.

On June 12, the University announced its new “Doctor of Education (EdD) in Instructional and Academic Leadership” during a press conference.

Senior Vice President and Provost Anita Borja Enriquez; School of Education Dean Alicia Cruz Aguon; SOE faculty Dr. Kathrine Gutierrez and Dr. Genevieve Leon Guerrero; and Dr. Sharleen Santos-Bamba, Interim Vice Provost, Academic Excellence, Graduate Studies, Online Learning participated in the press conference.

Preceded by the work of the doctorate Ad Hoc Committee in 2019, Dr. Gutierrez and Dr. Leon Guerrero became the key developers of the program along with Dr. Aguon, who described it as a collective effort that took years.

The EdD is aimed at meeting the needs of educators who would otherwise look beyond Guam – some faced with difficult decisions to uproot families or temporarily leave home – in pursuit of an academic degree of this level.

Dr. Enriquez and Dr. Aguon shared personal experiences about their pursuit of doctoral degrees away from Guam many years ago. Being away from family and budget constraints were among the hurdles they faced.

Dr. Aguon described the doctoral program as groundbreaking. After more than 70 years of UOG’s start as a teaching college, it is now on the brink of offering a doctoral degree program that will help kindergarten- through 12th-grade educators and education administrators gain further success, she said.

“This is monumental for Guam this is monumental for the University of Guam in the region bringing this kind of a program to our community and our people is a game-changer. It’s transformative,” said Dr. Santos-Bamba. 

A 2020 School of Education survey shows more than half – 500-plus respondents – out of 900 were in favor of UOG offering a doctoral program geared toward instructional leadership, educational leadership, and management. Postsecondary faculty, kindergarten-12th grade faculty, education administrators, staff at the school district or state level, professionals in a private non-education sector, professionals in a non-education government sector, and others responded to the survey.

The proposed EdD connects to UOG’s strategic initiatives to grow as a research university offering advanced professional and doctorate degrees, enhance the student experience, and promote revenue growth for the institution.

Fast Facts about UOG’s new EdD in Instructional and Academic Leadership

·       The University of Guam Board of Regents approved the program during its meeting on June 6, 2023.

·       The program will launch in Fanuchånan (Fall) 2024.

·       The program is expected to take four years to complete without pausing.

·       The EdD program is designed as an online program, with 20 required courses (3 credit hours each). The dissertation is built in as coursework in the program of study. The program will require a total of 60 credit hours.

·       The program is estimated to cost about $11,000 a year.

·       UOG is securing new doctoral program accreditation approval by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), which is expected to review the program over the next several months.

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