CTX Blog

Concordia Doctor of Education Now Offers Alternative to Dissertation

May 25, 2021
Doctor of Education Concordia University Texas logo

[Written by Stephanie Hartzell, PhD, Director of the Doctor of Education Program]

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students in Concordia University Texas' Doctor of Education (EdD) program continue to thrive, and the University continues to innovate.

Persevering Through the Pandemic

At the end of a Concordia University Texas Doctor of Education (EdD) student’s three-year academic journey is a dissertation. Facilitating the thorough exploration of a topic, this cumulative research-based project substantiates a student as a researcher and an expert in his or her chosen field.

However, these projects are time consuming and academically and emotionally difficult in a regular year. With the impact of COVID-19, the work of EdD students at this point in their doctoral curricula immediately became more difficult, but several were able to persevere.

The EdD is a practitioner-based doctoral degree in Education, which means that most of our students work and research in schools, and schools were not easy to access this year. Graduates for the 2020-21 academic year demonstrated amazing tenacity and determination.

They were able to:

  • Contact teachers and administrators to discuss technology applications within AP Math courses (Horton, ‘20).
  • Investigate the diversity (or lack thereof) in pilot training university programs (Murillo, ‘20).
  • Measure the effectiveness of social-emotional learning in elementary schools (Michnik, ‘20).
  • Interview at-risk Latinos who overcame adversity to become professionals (Ortiz, ‘20).
  • Explore school district sources of teacher self-care and mental health (Mendez, ‘21).
  • Examine ninth-grade English teachers’ perspectives and techniques for teaching reading (Corona, ‘21).

Students’ topics ranged in both subject and demographics, but one of the similarities they shared was the ultimate goal to create and support optimum learning environments for students and teachers.

Speaking of dissertations…

The CTX EdD program is excited to announce an alternative to a formal dissertation within the program. EdD students now have the option to complete a theoretical dissertation or a Culminating Research-Based Inquiry of Practice (CRIP).


The CRIP project allows students to focus their research efforts on creating and/or evaluating educational curriculum or policies that can positively affect their schools, school districts or organizations where they work.

Rooted in the practitioner model that embodies the EdD degree and this program, the new option will optimize students’ abilities to become change-makers within their environments.


The theoretical dissertation focuses on the evaluation or construction of theory, based upon research methods focused to this end.

Using the standard five-chapter format, the theoretical dissertation allows students to connect their research to more generalizable conclusions and recommendations.