USF Ed.D. Doctoral Candidates Lead the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate Scholarly Practitioner Alliance

Wayne and Renee

“You need a village for your doctoral program!” expressed Lan Renee Amboy-Biller. She started her Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program in the Fall of 2019 and realized she needed a support system to successfully navigate this educational process she was venturing into. There were other doctoral students, professors, family and friends, but she was looking for someone who truly understood what she was going through and could offer the support she needed during this time.

Renee reached out to her fellow Doctor of Education students to find out if they, too, had the need to build a community to support each other. Wayne Taylor, assistant director, Office of Veteran’s Services, St. Petersburg campus recognized the opportunity, so he partnered with Amboy-Biller to create and lead a group of 13 of Ed.D. students.

They started in person and switched to online support in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. The 2019 cohort of Ed.D. students developed intentional touch points within this cohort. Through weekly online meetings, they built a sense of connection, to hold each other accountable for assignment deadlines, review one another’s papers, sharing of valuable information, emotional support and generally making sure no one was left behind.

“The Cohort 19 accountability group chat was created to be an academic learning community to provide additional support and structure to our colleagues. We’re all united navigating this educational journey together,” said Amboy-Biller.

Taylor stated, “We found that as a result of this community we became a family who provided each other the foundation needed to achieve goals, brainstorm ideas, overcome challenges, and celebrate mini wins along the way.”

The passionate duo presented the value of the Cohort 19 group to The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) to introduce the value of this type of group on a national level. The program was well so received, Renee and Wayne were invited to take the leadership position for the national group Scholarly Practitioner Alliance (SPA).

"I am thrilled that Renee and Wayne have taken on this project. For so long, I have wanted to network Ed.D. students and graduates as a professional community to share and learn with each other about the problems of practice they face on a day-to-day basis. I have great faith in Renee and Wayne for making the Scholarly Practitioner Forum a huge success,” said Jill Perry, executive director, The Carnegie Project of the Education Doctorate.

SPA’s mission is to act as a catalyst for Ed.D. success by providing resources, a support network and advocacy to, through and beyond higher education. The duo aims to build on four distinct pillars of Community, Connection, Confidence, and Contribution in their effort to meet SPA’s mission.

CPEDs membership includes 127 universities including two in Canada and one in Ireland. In mid-October SPA will be introduced to the CPED membership. The two have explored platforms to host the group and look forward to the direction group will evolve as other Ed.Ds. from across the nation and beyond.