Meet Jami Rush, a student earning the EdD in Educational Leadership and an academic advisor in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Academic Success Center. She’s pursuing the program’s Higher Education concentration.
The educational leadership graduate degree program is designed for educators who are working full time, and the program’s faculty have a motto: “Learn it today, use it tomorrow.”
Jami will tell you that’s absolutely true of her experience as an EdD in Educational Leadership doctoral student. She’s already using the theories she’s learned in her courses to better manage the team of 40 students she oversees at the Academic Success Center.
“The Leadership in Higher Education course in particular has made such an impact so far,” she says. “That course has helped me adjust my leadership approach at work. I’m able to make sure I’m doing what I need to do before working with my students and coworkers — and that helps me be more effective.”
Jami says choosing the EdD in Educational Leadership program at UL Lafayette “was a no-brainer.” She realized the skills and opportunities an educational leadership graduate degree would provide, and learning about other schools and perspectives has helped her think more introspectively about her current position and the work she can do to improve the University.
Her research focuses on mid-level leaders at multiple institutions of higher education and their levels of self-efficacy, which is the belief in knowing you have the ability to accomplish tasks.
“I want to see how confident people are at this level about affecting change and about making or influencing decisions,” she says. She is reviewing existing literature to determine what’s considered a successful mid-level leader. Then, as her dissertation research progresses, she’ll conduct surveys and interviews to gauge people’s confidence levels.
After she graduates with her educational leadership graduate degree, she hopes to advance professionally in higher education administration.
“I’ve learned a lot about how policies and procedures in higher education work now, and I want to play a role in reviewing, adjusting, and implementing them,” she says. “I know that I need these credentials: a doctorate.”
For others interested in earning their EdD in Educational Leadership, she has this advice:
“Analyze if you have the time to devote to the program. It’s not just a Saturday commitment — you need time every day of the week,” she says. “And then if your schedule allows, really ask yourself: Why do you want to do it? Keep that goal in mind to push you through the times you don’t want to write or read.”
“If you have the time and the drive, there’s no reason not to do it. You learn so much about what happens in higher education and how you can be a part of it.”