USC Rossier’s first global EdD cohort aims high
The first cohort of students in the new Global Executive Doctor of Education (EdD) program features education leaders who represent a rainbow of cultures and nationalities.
Before the cohort of 12 concluded its Los Angeles-based in-person sessions earlier this month, many had already bonded and were looking forward to seeing one another at the next in-person session in Hong Kong in October.
The USC Rossier School of Education launched the Global Executive EdD to prepare senior education professionals make large-scale improvements across educational systems in their own countries. The program combines in-person meetings in Los Angeles and Hong Kong with extensive online learning over a two-year period.
Student Howard Hsia, deputy director of Kai Ping Culinary School in Taiwan, said he plans to bring Chinese cuisine to other countries by opening new culinary academies. The program’s international emphasis, Hsia noted, is just what he needs.
“I never had a background in education, and this helps me to refine my skills and to see how I compare to other leaders in other countries,” Hsia said. “I also see so much cultural diversity in this program, which gives me new perspectives and new ideas.”
Members of Hsia’s cohort have similar leadership positions in Brazil, Brunei, Singapore and United Arab Emirates, among other locales.
Many of the candidates have decades of experience as educational leaders, policymakers and administrators, and they seek the theory-based approaches to problem-solving and global understanding that the USC Rossier program offers.
The program provides candidates with the unique hallmarks of the school’s acclaimed EdD program, including a thematic group dissertation that addresses a real problem of practice, doctoral student support and instruction from USC Rossier’s renowned faculty of scholars and practitioners, many of whom who have led education systems around the country.
As an assistant principal in the Santa Monica/Malibu district, Mary Anna Noveck is closer to home on the USC campus, but she intends to learn how to transform education in Africa through the program.
“I traveled to Ethiopia last year to open schools, and it changed my life,” Noveck said. “I realized that I want my next chapter in leadership to be in developing countries in Africa, and I need to build my skills so I can find my place and truly contribute there.”
Katerina Kulagina, a native of Russia who serves as assistant dean for the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University, said the doctoral program gives her a perspective that her business education did not provide.
“Many of us have MBAs, so we know how to look at a problem from a business perspective, but I wanted to learn how to break down a problem and analyze it from a theoretical and policy perspective,” Kulagina said. “I wanted to broaden my perspective in higher education on a global scale and learn from classmates who are from different countries, and that’s what this program does.”
Joseph Nettikaden, who runs a K-12 private school management company in Dubai, said he is already impressed by his cohort and the USC Rossier faculty he has met.
“I come from a typical corporate background, and I want to bring about change in education. This program is of a global nature and gives you perspectives of both the East and the West,” he said. “From what I have seen of the program and the faculty in the past two weeks, I am really looking forward to this.”
Melora Sundt, vice dean for academic programs at USC Rossier, said the faculty spent the past two years designing and building the curriculum, but it is the students who bring the “secret sauce” that determines how the program will actually work.
“Working with the students these past two weeks has literally been a dream come true,” Sundt said. “Student perspectives, energy levels and past experiences are critical to bringing the curriculum to life. With this first cohort, we can see that this combination is forging a gem of a program.”
For more information about the program, visit rossier.usc.edu/academic/global-edd/