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Vol. 5 No. 1-2 (2019): CLEARvoz Journal

Uncharted Territory: The Nexus Between Doctoral Education and Community-based Learning

October 31, 2019


One of the continual challenges facing professors who prepare TK-12 school leaders through the professional educational doctorate (Ed.D. degree), is ensuring a theory-to-practice framework, curriculum, and pedagogy. Furthermore, professors of doctoral programs whose orientation is social justice, often face the dilemma of how to infuse it as a cross-cutting issue with the theory-practice paradigm. Community-based learning (CBL), when embedded with social justice claims, can serve as a bridge between theory and practice, providing doctoral students with opportunities to achieve both goals. This qualitative case study engaged with this dilemma by investigating the efficacy of a community-based learning component that had been infused into a core doctoral leadership course. Through interviews with doctoral students, we sought to understand their perception of its connection to the program’s social justice orientation, as well as the benefits, challenges, and recommendations for the efficacy of community-based learning. Students’ input guided future course revisions that establish a clearer relationship among social justice themes, the program’s learning outcomes, and the theory-praxis paradigm.