The Coming of Age of the Education Doctorate Series Read Description

Transforming Identities

How an EdD Program Develops Practitioners into Scholar-Practitioners

September 2023
More details
  • Publisher
    Myers Education Press
  • Published
    25th September 2023
  • ISBN 9781975505394
  • Language English
  • Pages 250 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  •    Request Exam Copy
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October 2023
More details
  • Publisher
    Myers Education Press
  • Published
    9th October 2023
  • ISBN 9781975505400
  • Language English
  • Pages 250 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

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October 2023
More details
  • Publisher
    Myers Education Press
  • Published
    9th October 2023
  • ISBN 9781975505417
  • Language English
  • Pages 250 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"
  •    Request E-Exam Copy

2024 SPE Outstanding Book Award Honorable Mention

Transforming Identities
is the story of one doctoral program that was developed to transform the individuals who participated in the program personally and professionally, leading to improved ways of working within their professional practice. The book details the components of the program believed to have contributed to students' transformed personal and professional identities. The description of the program serves as a frame for 14 individual, compelling stories of transformation. These stories include identities experienced during the program, programmatic components that were mechanisms for change, and the impact of these alums' transformation on their professional organizations. In the final chapter, the editors look across the alums' stories of transformation to inform those who are developing/redeveloping doctor of education programs. Mechanisms of change highlighted by these former students include courses, communities of practice, advisers, and comprehensive examination. The book also synthesizes alums' descriptions of the phases of their transformation, what it means to be a scholar-practitioner, and what meaningful contributions “look like” within their professional contexts.

The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Doctor of Education (EdD) program was created with the expressed programmatic outcome of developing leaders who possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to rigorously examine educational problems of practice with stakeholders within their context of professional practice. Transforming Identities frames this discussion of identity transformation from an improvement science perspective as depicted by Bryk et al. (2015) (see also Author et al., 2022). Using this framework for the Applied Dissertation, the program supported its scholar-practitioners to partner with their colleagues in educational institutions and to independently take on the challenges and opportunities they encountered in their work within their context of professional practice. The initial chapters in the book provide an overview of the EdD program, to frame the remaining chapters in which graduates from the program describe their inspirational stories of transformation. They describe the ways in which the program components, including their dissertation, transformed their identity as well as their work within their context of professional practice. These stories present the ways in which these change agents within their organizations have served as insiders who, with greater knowledge and access to knowledge, were able to become the bridge between research and practice, and practice and research and thereby change their organizations from the inside. These stories of transformation highlight how their skills and insights accurately identify the variability in the contexts in which their problem of practice is situated, the variability in the successes of interventions within similar contexts, and the most appropriate way to move the organization forward toward improved outcomes. Each chapter tells the author’s story of transformation from practitioner to scholar-practitioner through the dissertation study and beyond.

“A distinguishing factor for the Education Doctorate is the development of a scholarly practitioner. Transforming Identities: How an EdD Program Develops Practitioners into Scholar-Practitioners illustrates the transformational evolution of professionals shifting from an expert practitioner to a scholar-practitioner through engagement in an innovative EdD online program. The authors have carefully crafted an overview of this program, highlighting the intentional critical reflection experiences that led to an identity transformation for the professionals earning this EdD. The powerful stories of recent graduates serve as a reflection of how this EdD program shaped their professional identities as scholarly practitioners leading impact in their professional practice.”

Dr. Sandi Cooper, Professor, Baylor University, Founding Director, EdD in Learning and Organizational Change, (CPED Program of the Year, 2022)

“FINALLY! . . . A book on practitioner scholarship that showcases the real experts on the subject – scholar-practitioners themselves! The fourteen beautifully written self-told stories of identity transformation provided by EdD graduates in Transforming Identities: How an EdD Program Develops Practitioners into Scholar-Practitioners are sure to inspire, enrich and encourage current EdD students on their own transformational journeys. A thought-provoking text for all involved in any capacity with an EdD program that is sure to stimulate lively discussion on what it means to be a scholar-practitioner.”

Nancy Fichtman Dana, Professor and Distinguished Teaching Scholar, University of Florida

“This book represents a beautiful journey into and through the CPED-affiliated EdD program at Johns Hopkins University. The faculty authors describe how the program’s components are intentionally woven together in a tapestry that gently but securely supports each student’s journey from 'experienced practitioner-aspiring scholar' to 'scholar practitioner.' But it is the alumni and their very personal and powerful stories of identity development who give the tapestry its bold colors and rich textures and invite us all to embrace the change that they have become. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in what the EdD is meant to be.”

Deanna Hill, PhD, JD., EdD Program Director, Drexel University

“For institutions committed to advancing knowledge while simultaneously addressing complex, community-based dilemmas, the education doctorate is perhaps one of our strongest leverage points. Transforming Identities: How an EdD Program Develops Practitioners into Scholar-Practitioners reminds us of the primacy of the evolution of the EdD candidate in this work. By foregrounding identity construction, Pape, Bryant, JohnBull, and Karp have illustrated for us all a salient way of building, analyzing, and refining our EdD programs while simultaneously serving as a model for how we center those we serve in our collective work.”

Thomas E. Hodges, Dean and Professor, College of Education, University of South Carolina

“Already a world-renowned research university, Johns Hopkins University is home to a relatively recent addition to its advanced graduate degree offerings. Established in 2012, Johns Hopkins University’s online EdD Program in Education seeks to address complex problems that education-practitioners face by preparing them to think critically about these problems and use research to develop meaningful, practical, and sustainable solutions within their educational institutions. The editors and contributing authors of Transforming Identities: How an EdD Program Develops Practitioners into Scholar-Practitioners skillfully tell the story of their EdD program’s development, its structure, and how graduates seek to keep research off the shelf. This edited volume highlights the potential of a thoughtfully structured EdD program, guided by an improvement science framework and CPED design principles, for generating meaningful research and facilitating the development of scholar-practitioners who will continue to affect change in educational organizations in the US and abroad.”

W. Kyle Ingle, Professor, University of Louisville

“Having navigated through the JHU EdD program personally, I find this book to be authentic! Many of the stories by fellow students resonate with me as I entered the JHU program as a business leader of 32 years at a fortune 500 company—wanting to make the transformation to higher education leadership. This book clearly illustrates the growth model I went through from “Experienced Practitioner—Aspiring Scholar” as a pre-doctoral student to a “Scholar-Practitioner” post-graduation. A must read to get glimpse of the journey and the transformation!”

John Porter, Ed.D., President, Lindenwood University

“There was a time when an EdD program looked pretty much the same as a PhD, with both culminating in dissertations that would have been hard to accurately sort into one category or the other. Each might have been focused on a problem of practice, but not in any practical way, an approach that compromised both the PhD and the EdD. Then came the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. As a representative of one of the founding institutions to redesign doctoral preparation for professional practitioners, I’m excited to see the work that has come from this initiative. As this book demonstrates, the field has grown from interesting, but professionally disconnected, doctoral research to projects that move practice forward while enriching and expanding the professional capabilities and perspectives of those who enter these programs. While we have evidence of the usefulness of the outcomes of dissertations in practice (sometimes called capstones, and at JHU Applied Dissertations), there has been much less documentation about how these programs grow the student in addition to the field. The transformations of the JHU students, now graduates, in their own words are inspiring, as is the program that they undertook. This publication is both a guidebook and a motivator for higher education.”

Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University


Chapter 1
The JHU EdD Program: Designed to Transform Local Contexts Through Shifting Student Identities
Stephen J. Pape, Camille L. Bryant, Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull, and Karen S. Karp

Chapter 2
From Doctoral Students to Scholar-Practitioners: Mechanisms for Identity Transformation
Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull, Camille L. Bryant, Karen S. Karp, and Stephen J. Pape

Chapter 3
The Role of Research Methods Courses in Transforming the Identities of Scholar-Practitioners
Camille L. Bryant, Stephen J. Pape, Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull, and Karen S. Karp

Chapter 4
Trees and Transformation: From Seed to Forest
Amanda L. Palmer

Chapter 5
My Doctoral Journey: See Them With Your Heart
Soha R. Elzalabany

Chapter 6
Understanding Myself to Try to Better Understand You
Teresa Caswell

Chapter 7
An Opportunity of Practice
Darcie TeVault

Chapter 8
An Unexpected Transformation Journey
Kristin H. Barbour

Chapter 9
Discovery and Reflections of a Multilingual Learner and Scholar-Practitioner
Lara Ohanian

Chapter 10
The Courage to Change
Crystal Downs

Chapter 11
Helping People Learn to Think Differently
Stephanie Scholes

Chapter 12
Transforming My Identities: From Hustler to Scholar-Practitioner
Earl Turner III

Chapter 13
Changing My Stripes
Paula L. Clark

Chapter 14
From Instructional Coach to Instructional Leader: Identity Transformation in an EdD Program
Robert Walker

Chapter 15
Design Thinking: An Essential Framework for Complex Problems of Practice in Education
Joshua Pinto Taylor

Chapter 16
Leadership for Educational Justice—Awake, Align, Arise, and Act
Razia F. Kosi

Chapter 17
Winter Always Turns to Spring
Rachna Shah

Chapter 18
Lessons Learned from Scholar-Practitioners and Suggestions for the Field
Camille L. Bryant, Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull, Stephen J. Pape, and Karen S. Karp

Editor and Author Biographies


Stephen J. Pape

Stephen Pape is professor of Education at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) where he was the founding Director of the Doctor of Education program (2013-2019). He earned his doctorate in Educational Psychology from the City University of New York. Previously, he taught middle school mathematics and science in New York City public schools and served as assistant and associate Professor of Mathematics Education at The Ohio State University and University of Florida. His research focuses on online learning environments, technology-enhanced classroom contexts that foster mathematical understanding, and the development of strategic behaviors. To support this research, he has provided professional development for mathematics and science teachers across elementary, secondary, and Community College levels for over 20 years. Funded projects include a national randomized control trial that examined the impact of classroom connectivity technology on Algebra I achievement and classroom interactions and Prime Online, an online professional development program for grades 3-5 general and special educators. He was the co-principal investigator for Florida Promise, a statewide professional development program for preK-12 science and mathematics teachers. He recently served on the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators taskforce, Re-thinking Teaching and Learning: Unpacking Mathematics Education Online and has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and conference proceedings papers.

Camille L. Bryant

Camille L. Bryant is an associate professor in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University who teaches research methods courses. She is the former Research Methods Coordinator and Director of the Doctor of Education program. As an education research methodologist, she focuses on program evaluation, intervention research, mixed methodologies, instrument development, and approaches to support graduate students’ research methods knowledge acquisition and self-efficacy. Her most recent research interest aims to (a) better understand the role of embodied pedagogy on mitigating students’ research methods apprehension and anxiety, and (b) supporting students’ competencies as they engage with and conduct socially responsible research.

Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull

Ranjini Mahinda JohnBull, PhD is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Education serving as the faculty lead for the Mind, Brain, and Teaching program area and teaching in the doctoral and masters programs. Her research focuses on teacher self-efficacy, cultural competence and multicultural identity development, and arts-integration and culturally relevant neuroeducation interventions that improve teacher and student outcomes. Dr. JohnBull earned a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, an MEd and PhD in Education Leadership both from University of Virginia’s School of Education and Human Development. Prior to her appointment as an assistant professor, she served as a postdoctoral research fellow at JHU SOE working on an IES-funded study of student memory in arts-integrated science classrooms. Prior to JHU, Dr. JohnBull served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in rural eastern Uganda to collaboratively support and enhance education, health, and finance projects. Before Peace Corps Uganda, she was a music teacher in two St. Louis city charter elementary and middle schools.

Karen S. Karp

Karen Karp is a professor in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. Previously, she was a distinguished teaching professor of elementary mathematics education at the University of Louisville where she is now professor emeritus. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of mathematics education and special education. She is the author or co-author of many book chapters, articles, and books, including the recent U.S. Department of Education Institute of Science’s What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide on Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades, and other titles such as Strengths-based Teaching and Learning in Mathematics: 5 Teaching Turnarounds for Grades K-6, The Math Pact: Achieving Instructional Coherence within and Across Grades, and Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally which has been translated into seven languages. Dr. Karp is a former member of the board of directors of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and a former president of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators. In 2020, she was selected for the NCTM Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics Education. She also is a member of the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction. She holds teaching/administrative certifications in elementary education, secondary mathematics, K-12 special education, and educational administration.

Identity Development; Scholar-Practitioner; Design Thinking; Complex Problems; Problems of Practice; Continuous Improvement; Education Leadership