University gains education doctorate

Jay Morgan Assistant Provost

Last Thursday, following approval by the Council of Post-Secondary Education, Murray State adopted its second doctorate degree program.

Set to be available fall 2014 and already accepting applications for the new program, Murray State will offer a doctorate degree in education.

Interim President Tim Miller said this is tremendous news for the University and the surrounding area.

“Murray State is supposed to serve our 18-county region, and in this region, there are 27 high schools,” he said. “A lot of those teachers at these schools would like to get a doctorate in education and if they can do so at Murray State, in their backyard, then it’s going to be a tremendous advantage to them.”

Miller said being able to offer a second doctorate program, the first being Murray State’s doctorate of nursing practice, is especially exciting considering the state’s general reluctance to grant four-year comprehensive universities the ability to offer several doctorate degrees, including education.

He said Kentucky generally favors University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, their flagship universities, as the main proprietors of doctorate degrees.

Jay Morgan, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, was the University’s representative to present the doctorate program to the CPE in Frankfort for approval. Going in to the presentation, he said he felt confident.

Morgan said the entire process of creating the doctorate: the designing of curriculum and the syllabus for the doctorate program and the development of learning objectives took approximately two years, the typical length of time it takes to design a doctorate.

After initially finalizing the designs for the then-tentative doctorate program, the College of Education gathered approval from the departmental curriculum committee, collegiate curriculum committee, Murray State academic council and Board of Regents before going before the CPE. The fact that Murray State has established two doctorates in four years Morgan said is pretty remarkable.

Jay Morgan Assistant Provost

Jay Morgan
Assistant Provost

“The doctorates bring academic notoriety and increase our academic reputation as a top-flight institution,” Morgan said. “These programs really add to the strength of our community and make others who are both inside and outside the state look at us like we have a complete curriculum from doctorates all the way down to associate’s degrees.”

The new doctorate of education, joining Murray State’s approximately 40 masters degrees and 120 undergraduate degree programs, offers three areas of specialization.

The areas to choose from are: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) leadership, preschool-12th grade leadership and post-secondary leadership.

Morgan said the administration hopes to have an initial cohort class of 23-25 students their first semester.

Murray State will be hiring one new faculty member to allow for the offering of the doctorate.

The University will mainly rely on repurposing existing faculty to teach both doctoral and regular classes.

Already, he said, an exploratory committee has begun researching the third doctorate program Murray State hopes to offer, this one from the college of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Morgan said the University is limited by the CPE to offering only clinician practice style doctorates, not research doctorates (Ph.Ds.).

Currently, he said, the exploratory committee is looking at what the offering of a Humanities and Fine Arts doctorate might cost the University, what the benefits of it would be and how many potential students such a doctorate might attract.


Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor