Doctor of Education in Educational Administration
With more than 20 years of experience in education, Melanie Wade is an expert in curriculum and instruction who specializes in educational technology, e-learning, and professional development training and coaching. In addition to a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from the University of California ñ Irvine, Wade holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration from National University. She has served in variety positions within secondary and post-secondary education, including education program manager, educational technology facilitator, and an adjunct faculty member. Currently, she is a managing consultant at Shepard, Wade, and Associates, where she provides consultation services in areas like educational technology, curriculum development, and training and coaching.
Why did you choose to major in educational administration?
My primary reason for pursuing a master’s degree in educational administration was to satisfy the requirements for a preliminary California administrative services credential and thereby qualify for administrative positions in public education (K-12 system). The credential requirements were part of my master’s program.
Similarly, my doctoral degree program also incorporated the requirements to clear my administrative services credential. In addition, it provided the opportunity to conduct field research, which was a satisfying part of my master’s program.
What did you like/dislike about majoring in educational administration?
In both graduate programs, I liked the connection of research to practice. This was vital to my role as an educational practitioner as opposed to someone whose primary interest is theoretical. Had the option been available to me, I may have preferred to enroll in a Ph.D. program to an Ed.D. program. The Ed.D. program at UC Irvine, however, had a strong research emphasis, which was more similar to a Ph.D. program than to “executive” Ed.D. programs. As part-time programs, both allowed me to work full time while attaining graduate degrees.
How has your major impacted your career or influenced your career path?
My master’s degree gave me the credentials required to attain an entry-level position in educational administration. My doctoral studies continued the development of the knowledge and skills required to advance to increasingly responsible positions. In my current role as an educational consultant, I am hopeful that my doctoral degree provides me with both the knowledge and credibility to pursue a variety of endeavors including curriculum development, training and coaching, and especially providing expertise in the area of educational technology.
What knowledge/skills did you obtain from majoring in educational administration that you still put to use in your current position?
Both graduate programs have given me a broad perspective on educational systems, processes, and theory. In addition, I have improved my organizational skills, honed my analytical skills, and enhanced my decision-making skills. As a consultant, I am able to make recommendations based on pertinent research and experience.
What advice would you give to students thinking about majoring in educational administration?
I would advise them to look for a program that matches their career aspirations. For example, someone whose goal is superintendent of a school district may wish to consider an “executive” type Ed.D. program. If they are interested in research, however, a Ph.D. may be a better choice. My other advice is to keep an open mind regarding career opportunities. They may be surprised by where an advanced degree in educational administration may lead them.