Thursday, June 28, 2012

GCU Residency 2012...the second and LAST Residency!!!!

Whew..... I did it!!!!  

I completed my second and my last residency!  Operation get this dissertation done is in FULL effect!   On the final day of residency, while we were all presenting our 12 strategic key points, I was busy taking notes on what I wanted to blog about!  I learned so much during this residency and am so ready to apply it to complete this journey that I am on!

Last year I formed a bond with three special from Hawaii, one from Colorado, and one from California.  We tried to all attend the same residency this year so we could continue the bond that we had formed.  3/4 of us were able to meet up at the same time!  We were so excited to see each other and really spent a lot of time together!  We were even able to go and watch one of the NBA playoff games (even though my Lakers weren't playing)!  We did not end up in the same class this year but it was alright.  We all had different experiences this year.  Our group has since expanded!  We ran into two guys that were in our group last year and met some new friends, too!  So....we formed one BIG group and have vowed to push each other through and keep each other motivated and uplifted throughout the rest of our journey!  There is a picture of our large group below!

First things first....I have finally secured my research topic!  This is HUGE for me as I have been all over the place.  The one good thing is that it still falls under the umbrella of mentoring, which if you read my post from residency last year, you know I was very passionate about.  My topic last year that dealt with African American males and the use of mentoring programs to increase their achievement was something that I was very passionate about.  However, at residency last year, I realized that for my program of study I needed to put a leadership spin on it.  As soon as I did that, I lost my passion for it because I really wanted to perform my research from the perspective of the student and not the leader.  So...back to the drawing board!

So, now my topic is going to be a qualitative research study that takes a narrative approach that will seek to understand the hurdles of recruiting and retaining middle school math and science teachers to the profession.  I will be triangulating my data in a means to ensure its validity and reliability.  I will utilize existing archival data, perform interviews and conduct surveys.  By doing these three things, I will hopefully gain a true picture of why it's so difficult to recruit and retain these teachers as well as what it take to successfully do so.  

During residency, I was fortunate enough to be Blessed with two professors, Dr. Branch and Dr. Kimball.  They are both very educated men and have a plethora of knowledge to offer.  They both offer two different points of view so it was very refreshing to be able to run my ideas by a great methodologist as well as a qualitative guru!  Through speaking with Dr. Kimball about my topic, I brought up a previous professor that I had earlier in my program and discussed his research topic and told him that I was going to consider asking my old professor to be my content specialist being as though our topics were similar.  He encouraged me to do so.  I emailed him and guess what....HE SAID YES!!!!!  During my next class, I will be assigned my dissertation chair and my methodologist.  If I am fortunate enough to receive Dr. Kimball or Dr. Branch as my chair, I would be more than happy!

I was also fortunate enough to be asked to sit in with a small group and have a working lunch with the Dean of the Doctoral Program.  We were able to share "glows and grows" for the program that will be used to ensure the improvement and continued success of the program.  I was honored to be asked to serve on this committee that only included approximately 8 people!!!!

During residency, I was able to participate in Chapel on one of the evenings.  I am so glad I attended as I didn't go last year.  The message was powerful and was extremely relevant to what I was experiencing.  We were also able to take a tour of the campus.  It is a beautiful and growing campus!  I can't wait to return next year to walk across the stage as Dr. Rachell!  I was also able to get my class schedule built out for the remainder of my program.  I will be finished with everything (dissertation included) in July of 2013 (fingers crossed)!!!  To actually see what I have left is amazing and as these classes get knocked off my schedule one by one, I am really seeing the end in sight!

The maturation of my work just from Monday to the last day on Friday surpassed me!  I thought I was doing good with what I brought to the table on Monday, but when I left on Friday I felt kind of like something like a soon to be doctor!  LOL!  

My professors put this very challenging task of becoming a Doctor of Education into very achievable small chunks for us....

  1. Perfect my 12 strategic key points.
  2. Get them approved.
  3. Write my prospectus.
  4. Get it approved.
  5. Write my proposal (chapters 1, 2, and 3)
  6. Defend my proposal.
  7. Get them approved.
  8. Perform my research.
  9. Write my chapters 4 and 5.
  10. Defend my dissertation.
  11. Call me Dr. Rachell!!!!
If I can keep these small chunks in mind as I move towards the end of my journey, I will be alright!  So with all of this being shared.....PRAY FOR ME!  LOL!  I see the light peeking at the end of the tunnel and am ready and even more so determined to push forward!  

The GCU Lope and I!  

Ebony (California) , me and Deb (Hawaii)....We met last year and planned to attend together this year.  Although we were not in the same group this year, we spent a lot of time together.

This was our new found group!  We have vowed to keep pushing each other until each of us completes our programs!  Maruo (Nevada), Chuck (Illinois), Jan (Hawaii), Natasha (Arizona), Deb (Hawaii), Monique (Florida), me, Terence (Georgia), and Ebony(California) (from left to right)

Dr. Kimball and I...meeting this man has been life changing.  He shared his testimony with us.  His wife was diagnosed with cancer, his house burned down and he lost his brother all while he was writing his dissertation....he never gave up!

Dr. Branch....this man is VERY smart!  Such an awesome methodologist.  He validated what I wanted to do!

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