Program Experience

Our EdD program brings together experienced professionals from education, the private sector, nonprofits, government, philanthropy, and other sectors to find creative solutions to pressing challenges. In our cohort-based approach, students examine real-world practice through a scholarly lens, leverage their leadership and professional experience, and prepare to lead meaningful change in their organizations and beyond.

We want to support leaders who see themselves reflected in a degree program, and who can talk across a variety of disciplines and sectors. We also want a group of leaders who can problem-solve, using a variety of different lenses and knowledge bases.
Dr. Noel S. Anderson, Founding Faculty
Persistent challenges require us to look beyond our silo for solutions. When we do so, we activate new networks of leaders eager and prepared to create innovative, cross-sector solutions to our most pressing issues.
Dr. Lisette Nieves, Founding Faculty
Dr Jesse Jackson, EdD graduate, 2021 cohort
Dr. Jesse Jackson
(EdD ’21)
Chief Learning Officer, JPMorgan Chase
Like many young adults, I entered the world of finance to do finance. I had both a baccalaureate and a master's degree in economics. But as I became more acquainted with the type of work that we do, I began to understand that it's not finance or dollars that drive economic growth, it's human capital. Unlocking the potential of human capital drives innovation—and my work as a chief learning officer allows me to do that at scale. It’s work that is truly exciting.

How does learning fit in at a place like JPMorgan Chase?

We are all fortunate to live in this age of acceleration where the velocity of change continues to propel society. Our role as educators or learning executives is to ensure that we are positioning our workforce in such a way that we can truly optimize innovations in a way that drives value. By calibrating lifelong learning, we can increase organizational output and help employees maximize their career trajectories as professionals. And as we know, learning is portable. So to the extent that we are successful, the work we do here is also a greater good to society in general.

Can you describe your Problem of Practice (POP)?

My POP focused not on theoretical or scholastic contributions but on operationalizing and understanding best practices. We have the privilege here at JPMorgan Chase to onboard more than 20,000 new hires on an annual basis. I wanted to explore ways of doing that work more effectively. How can we leverage that work to further diversify and provide greater opportunities and connectivities to new markets? I had defined my POP pre-COVID-19, but the pandemic made me dig deeper. How do we build more bridges to ensure that the great work that many of us are doing in diversity, inclusion and equity doesn't come to a stop as a result of a global pandemic?

What attracted you to this program?

NYU Steinhardt’s EdD program is an excellent platform for the cross-sector engagement that is so critical to solving the big problems facing us as executives today. More tactically, the program provides the opportunity to work with public-sector, not-for-profit and commercial executives to get a much more in-depth understanding of what these executives are facing. Equally important, a number of thought leaders were brought in to help us think about how to leverage ideas across sectors. We have an obligation as global citizens to ensure that we're not leaving individuals behind at a time where change is truly increasing in velocity.

Dr. Diane Geng, EdD graduate, 2021 cohort
Dr. Diane Geng
(EdD ’21)
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, NYU Shanghai
I appreciated the chance to hear so many real-world examples and dilemmas from my cohort members in the discussions that we had about what we were learning about and reading about. I found the cross-country and cross-cultural exchange of professional experiences and contexts to be very helpful.

Why NYU Steinhardt?

The integration of academic theory with practice was very appealing and represents a form of education that I really believe in, which is where you can connect learning and life. I was also attracted by the background of the program founders. They have worked outside of academia but have also done a lot of scholarship and teaching in universities, so I felt confident that they had designed a program that would meld professional practice and theory in a way that would be grounded in the professional experiences that matter so much. The Problem of Practice was also very interesting because it would allow us to closely integrate our learning with the challenges that we would be grappling with on a day-to-day basis throughout the whole course of the program.

What was the focus of your Problem of Practice (POP)?

Broadly, my topic was private-foundation philanthropy in China, which is a relatively recent development. I ended up narrowing in on the role of staff in foundations that are working in China and how their experiences reveal some of the contemporary challenges and realities of implementing philanthropy in China. The program provided some interesting lenses to help propel me toward thinking about the role of specific players and people within the ecosystem of philanthropic implementation in China. I hope one of the applications of my POP can be to focus attention on the cultivation of human talent in organizations, so that leaders of organizations can think ahead and more thoughtfully about how to motivate and retain and support the growth of people who are integral to carrying out their missions.

Dr. Felipe Henao, EdD graduate, 2021 cohort
Dr. Felipe Henao
(EdD ’21)
Dean of Students, New York Institute of Technology
The content of the EdD program is important—the theory, the research, and the path to becoming a scholar practitioner. But underlying all of that was the support and the community that the faculty built with our cohort.

What impact has the EdD program had on you?

I’ve been promoted twice since starting this program—not only because of the credential but also because of my ability to connect everything I’ve learned in the past two years and translate that into the work. It’s also been a life-changing experience personally. Since day one, the faculty have been very intentional about believing in all of us and creating a cross-sectional community of people who want to do good, so I’ve had a community of people cheering me on and supporting me at every step of the way.

How did your Program of Practice (POP) take shape?

Food insecurity has become a global systemic issue, especially during the pandemic, so I focused on documenting students’ lived experience with food insecurity at a Hispanic-serving institution. I interviewed 20 brave students who shared powerful stories about how they've lived with food insecurity, and I hope that their voices will pave the way to equitable and systemic change in our education system. There’s still a lot of stigma about admitting that you’re hungry, and my work addresses that and proposes ways that support services—food pantries, counseling, health services—could create an ecosystem to support student success.

Dr. Elisabela Vall, EdD graduate, 2021 cohort
Dr. Elisabela A. Vall
(EdD ’21)
Director of Communications, Conchita Espinosa Academy
Our cohort is a very diverse group, personally and professionally, but the faculty took the time to meet each of us where we were and helped us understand our strengths. I studied liberal arts and worked in business before transitioning to education, and it was very powerful to learn how to leverage those experiences and expand my understanding of the possibilities within the field.

What are the benefits of the cohort approach?

I didn’t realize the immense value of the cohort model until I joined this program. Doctoral programs can feel isolating, because people don’t understand the depth of what you’re trying to do. Having that group of people who became friends and supporters really filled that gap for me. We each took on a different role in the cohort—one member kept track of deadlines, another always made us laugh—and we depended on each other. I learned so much from the exchange of ideas.

What was the focus of your Problem of Practice (POP)?

The school where I work takes a unique approach to education, focusing on developing each child as a whole person within a sophisticated academic and artistic environment. I was interested in codifying the school’s methodology and exploring its impact on the child. Why is respecting the child as an individual important? Why is arts education important? Digging deeply into these things has been a powerful experience. Now I’m bringing that back to my organization and looking at how we can apply what we’ve learned to different demographics and in other schools.

Dr. John Roth, EdD graduate, 2021 cohort
Dr. John Roth
(EdD ’21)
Shareholder, Maynard Cooper & Gale and Deputy Counsel at Nassau Financial Group
The doctoral program marries academic rigor with real-world problems. We’re looking through an academic lens to make sense of the world, but at the same time, we’re bringing problems from our own fields of practice and coming up with solutions that matter.

What was most impactful about the EdD program?

For me, the essence of the program is the combination of tried and true research with actual practice. The most interesting theories in the world happen when you cross disciplines, and that’s also true when practice meets academia. The students are all in practice in our own fields, so we’re able to bring real-world problems and industry data together with academics to create change. I also appreciated having the latitude and the space to take a slightly different path with my POP [Problem of Practice] than the rest of my cohort. I was able to pursue the particular subject that interested me instead of having to conform to a predetermined idea of what a POP should be.

How did your Problem of Practice take shape?

My POP addressed a problem that I have been thinking about for at least 10 years. In my industry, people talk a lot about creating a culture of compliance—but no one really knows what that means. I wanted to define the concept and find a way to measure it to give compliance officers a framework. The more I dug into this issue, the more it became apparent that the way people have been talking about it is not grounded in research on human behavior when it comes to culture and ethics. By bringing together theory and practice, the work I did has implications beyond just one organization. The framework and the ideas could be applied to any number of institutions.