Dr. Christopher Giroir is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership. He also is the graduate coordinator for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program.
Earlier this year, Giroir was honored as an Outstanding Doctoral Mentor by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development for 2020-2021.
A Supportive Educational Environment
The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program at UL Lafayette prepares educational leaders for K-12 school systems as well as state and federal education departments.
The flexible instructional format and emphasis on learning and professional growth supports busy working professionals in meeting their goals.
“Most of our students are current practitioners in some field of education (K-12 or higher education) and they bring their work experience, current challenges, and success stories into our classes, which complement the formal instruction,” he says.
Doctoral students progress through the program in a cohort, providing “a built-in network of colleagues to offer support and challenge them when needed along the journey of earning their terminal degree,” he says. Offering an executive model to its students, the program delivers most content in on-campus classes one weekend each month.
As an seasoned educator whose background in higher education includes positions in student and academic affairs, Giroir teaches the application of theories and skills based on his experience.
Staying the Course
One of the most rewarding parts of working with graduate students, he says, is their simultaneous dedication to their studies and their career development.
“They come to class prepared and are highly engaged in discussions. They seek feedback and implement suggestions given to them on ways to make their work even stronger. I am honored to work with doctoral students as I learn from them just as much as they learn from me,” he notes.
As a mentor, Giroir seeks to go beyond discussions of degree requirements to support their overall development as a professional.
“I believe mentoring doctoral students is all about developing a working relationship with each student that is based on open communication and a genuine concern for their overall well-being,” he says.
“Being available when they need help and oftentimes taking on the role of cheerleader/motivator is what I have found my students really appreciate.”
Over the years, he has found that setting and meeting goals and maintaining good communication are central to graduate student success. While graduate school may offer challenges, the hard work pays off when students successfully defend their dissertation.
“I know how hard each student works with their research and to see the end product, which is often the result of years of work, all come together at a defense is extremely rewarding to me and to my graduate students,” Giroir says.