Exploring Student Experiences With the Cohort Model in an Executive EdD Program in the Southeastern United States

Academic Article


  • For mid- to upper-level administrators in higher education who are well-established in their careers and attempting to balance the multiple responsibilities of school, work, and family, an executive EdD program may provide the flexibility and support needed to consider pursuing a doctoral degree. The purpose of this study was to explore student experiences with the cohort model in an executive EdD program in the southeastern United States. For this investigation, we conducted secondary data analysis of end-of-year program evaluations for four cohorts of students beginning in 2015 and continuing through 2017. Among all program characteristics, students reliably rated the cohort model among the top three in any given year. Thematic analysis revealed the importance of peer-to-peer and student-to-faculty/staff relationships, professional development, and challenges associated with being an “executive” student. To fully address the social and academic needs of executive students, institutions must be prepared to offer programs that differ in structure and organization from traditional programs. Furthermore, given the value of relationships as reported by students about their classmates, faculty, and staff, program administrators may wish to identify specific strategies for sustaining cohort relationships beyond academic coursework and into the dissertation phase of the program.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fifolt M; Breaux AP
  • Start Page

  • 158
  • End Page

  • 169
  • Volume

  • 66
  • Issue

  • 3