Doctoral Candidate’s Research Leads to First Report of its Kind

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image002Some of the most knowledgeable people in Hood College’s Doctoral Program are the candidates themselves. The new program has no graduates yet, with the first cohort beginning their third and final year this fall, but participants are already making waves in their wider world. One member of that first cohort, Peggy Dufour, is using her capstone project to make an impact in her industry. She is studying business ethics, specifically for proposal development professionals. As this is a field that she has worked in for 25 years, she is very familiar with it, and its pitfalls. “People in this industry have a lot at stake. One of the proposals I worked on (and won) was worth $22 billion. Ethics challenges arise when the stakes are that high,” said Dufour. She explained that she wanted to study this group and industry in particular because it is her area of expertise and because they, as a group, haven’t been studied in relation to ethics.


Dufour worked with the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), an organization with 8,000 members in 40 countries, to distribute a survey on ethics in the profession. The survey, created by Dufour and presented at the APMP National Conference in May, got immediate interest, receiving 1,750 responses. The executive director of APMP supported the project, and members from around the world responded to the survey and its concept. For instance, a member from South Africa who works with the South African Ethics Institute will be using it in his work. Dufour analyzed the data and reported the results to APMP, which released the data as a report. This report, the first one of its kind, had findings that were “equal parts surprising, encouraging, and inspiring.”


The APMP summarized the report with three key takeaways, with some statistics that are encouraging and others that show areas for improvement. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed felt a strong sense of accomplishment and 87% felt that their opinion is valued. However, 80% also reported some type of “overwork, burnout, or emotional distress in an industry known for its long work hours and demanding schedule”. Nearly 48% of the respondents also believed that there is gender discrimination with pay and/or promotion for women in the bid and proposal area of the industry.

Dufour will also be using the data, particularly those questions which connect to the gender pay gap, for her capstone dissertation. She says that “a lot of research shows that women are paid less than men for the same work. The numbers are real but often used incorrectly. One statistic from the international Glassdoor Survey says that women are paid 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. If all men and women are combined into two groups and their median wages compared, that’s true. But if men and women in the same job with similar experience are compared, the 24-cent difference shrinks to about nine cents. However, the question remains as to why that remaining difference exists. Called the ‘unexplained gender pay gap,’ It is true even for women at the very top of their professions. Why are they being paid less?  We look forward to finding out her results and recommendations!


Above, see Dufour (right) with fellow graduate candidate Kathy Swire

What Would You Like To Research?

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CapstoneDid you know that Hood College has a flourishing doctoral program? Working together in cohort groups that take core classes together and support each other, candidates who complete the 3-year program will receive their Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) or Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). The first cohort has reached the exciting step of working on their capstone project, with each student’s research focusing on their specific area of interest.

With participants coming from different sectors and with varied backgrounds and interests, the topics of the capstones are anything but uniform. The common thread is that all projects are purposeful ways for the candidates to benefit their communities and themselves.

John Mauck is a Human Resources Director with an interest in generational differences. His research, Identifying the Characteristics of Gen Z, is looking at Gen Zs, born between 1998 and 2013, the generation currently growing up and entering the workplace. John explains, “I have watched the workplace change with both Gen Xers and Millennials entering the workplace.   Both generations provided a different impact. There is very little research identifying the characteristic of Gen Z, which made the topic even more appealing.” As workplaces and workers change with each generation, John wants to “help prepare business leaders for what is to come when attempting to attract and retain Gen Z.” As a human resources manager, this is a challenge that John is currently dealing with and would be researching even if he wasn’t working on his doctorate.

Linda Chambers is a Supervisor of Special Education for Frederick County Public Schools. As an educator, she sees disproportionally high numbers of suspensions and special education identifications for students from minority groups. Nationally, African American students are three times more likely to be suspended than their peers. Her research will evaluate a program to help determine interventions for behavioral issues before suspension is considered. Focusing on students in Kindergarten-2nd grade at several Title I schools, which teach some of the most at-risk students. Her goal is to provide the Board of Education with recommendations on how to improve practices to reduce these identifications. Her eventual hope is to “publish outcomes nationally to inform decision-making in school systems to make a difference for students in order to safely access their learning and become beneficial members of society–no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, or religion.”

Jonathan Spaans, a senior manager for Fisher Bioservices in Rockville, is researching on middle management. His topic is Middle Manager Impact to Knowledge Management and Incremental Innovation Potential. Jonathan wants to “give new meaning to middle management and how it contributes value.” He believes that middle managers are not just “people who basically carry out ideas and goals from upper management without specifically contributing directly to innovation”. Goals of this research include how to help train new managers to help them contribute as well as to find out how middle managers can best contribute to the welfare of a company.

Joshua Work is an Assistant Principal at Frederick County Public Schools. As a teacher and member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve, he wants to continue his leadership skills. His research focuses on how to select and prepare school principals. His topic, Principal Selection and Succession Planning, allows him to explore “the preparation of future leaders for school districts.” His goal is to not only learn about this for himself, but to “add to the research about principal selection and leadership planning practices.”

Eric Louérs Phillips is the Supervisor of Accelerating Achievement and Equity for Frederick County Public Schools. He is researching how leadership styles impact the effectiveness of implementing equity initiatives. He notes that some of these initiatives have been successful within organizations and others have not. He wants to “gain a deeper understanding into why some leaders are able to effectively implement equity initiatives within their work unit, while their colleagues within the same organization do not have the same success.” His research can help him, and others, support leaders and their initiatives.

Doctoral Student Spreading Knowledge to Others

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ColeyThe members of Hood College’s doctoral program not only want to learn more for themselves, but are now in the position to really help others. For some, like elementary school principal DeVeda Coley, this includes opportunities to present to others. As she explains “Dr. Jennifer Cuddapah, a Hood doctoral professor, encouraged all in our cohort to present at conferences on our topic as we are working on our capstone project.  Dr. Cuddapah shared that presenting at conferences helps to keep us on target and motivated to continue to read and research our topic of interest.” Coley recently presented at the 2018 National Title I Conference in Philadelphia.

Teaching at Title I schools (schools designated for extra support due to being in low income communities) is a key part of DeVeda’s experience. Of her 25 years as an educator at Frederick County Public Schools, 20 have been in such schools. As a product of FCPS herself, Coley is proud to have continued being a part of that community. She earned her undergraduate degree from Mount St. Mary’s, where she is currently an adjunct professor, and her Master’s degree from Hood, where she is a member of the college’s first doctoral cohort. She is currently the principal at FCPS’s North Frederick Elementary School.


When the opportunity to present at the conference came up, Coley was encouraged by Dr. Pattie Hosfelt, a Hood Professor, FCPS principal and friend. DeVeda was excited to present at this particular conference because “I love the challenges, ability to think out of the box, and flexibility that one has when leading Title 1 schools. I am passionate about ensuring that every child gets the best education, no matter their home circumstances. It was an honor to share some of the great things that we do in Frederick County.” Her presentation, entitled ‘Strategic Use of Staff, Budget, and Time to Provide Effective Professional Development’, shared ideas on the importance of job-embedded professional development, different ways to make PD job-embedded and how to creatively use staff, budget, and time to provide quality professional development. It was an interactive workshop where participants shared ideas and reflected on things they could adjust in their buildings. She was able to include information from class research projects in the presentation, received positive feedback, and was thrilled it went well.


Reflecting on her experiences, Coley explains “our Hood classes have forced us to research topics and reflect upon them in our current leadership roles. Professional development and strategic leadership are two areas that I have reflected upon in my classes. The doctoral program promotes ongoing reflection of our leadership styles, actions and tactics. I look to continue to be grow as an authentic leader in Frederick County. In the far future, I hope to be a consultant for Title 1 schools and hopefully come back and teach some classes for the Hood Doctoral program.  I feel blessed and honored to be a part of it.”

What Makes a Doctoral Candidate?

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doctoral cohortLooking at the second cohort in Hood College’s Doctoral Program, it is clear that the one thing the candidates have in common is their drive and academic motivation. The program, in its second year, offers candidates the opportunity to earn a Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) or Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). This year’s cohort has participants of varied ages, careers, and backgrounds, all with very different reasons for entering the program.

Ebony-Nicole Kelly is an instructional specialist and National Board Certified Teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools who has taught internationally in Istanbul, Turkey. A single mother, she wants to be an example for her son and hopes to use her degree as a springboard to a career in international consultancy, specializing in cultural competency. She loves the setup of the program, with a cohort who will stay together and has great leadership.

Gayle Bach-Watson, a pastor at a church in West Virginia, wants to gain more skills to help with the leadership of her church. After a cancer diagnosis in 2015, she re-evaluated and decided that the DOL program was the way to help her expand her resources and goals.

Philip Brown is a native of England and spent 11 years in the British Royal Navy. He moved to the US in 2005 to become the CEO of Phoenix Mecano after working for the company in England. With a fulfilling career, he wants to use the program to help other businesses and contribute to the community. Earning a DBA has been a long-time goal, and when he saw a brochure for Hood’s program he decided to go for it. With several children in college, he is enjoying being back in school as well. As he explains, “Education doesn’t stop when you’re 22!”

Essence Jones has two degrees from Hood (BA, Sociology & Psychology, ’04, and MA, Human Behavior, ’07). She works with at-risk youths and adults who are struggling and wants to continue to help them. She makes the commute from Washington D.C. to Hood because of its family feel and that she knows that the staff care and have a personal investment in the students. She says that the “friendship and education that I’ve gotten here, I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else.”

Kathie Dao is a Human Resources manager. When Hood presented at her company to promote the start of the program, she decided that it was a great opportunity. She wants to learn to “be that change agent.”

Ebony-Nicole, Gayle, Philip, Essence, and Kathie are just a few of the nineteen talented members of our second cohort. Others work for the military, higher education, non-profit organizations, and more! To learn about these and the other participants, read their Doctoral Biographies on the Hood website!


One Man, Many Roles

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Keith HarrisHood College is a small school and a tight-knit community. We pride ourselves on that, and love that we have members of the community who fill many roles. One such person is Dr. Keith Harris, who has been a student, professor, mentor, supporter, and even the sponsor of an award her at Hood. Outside of the college, he has worked in education for 26 years, including teaching and leadership positions in public school, higher education, and community settings. With such a breadth and depth of experience, he has brought so much to us!

Dr. Harris’ connection to Hood came before he even started here. His wife, Sylvia Freeman-Harris, ’90, sister Lisa Harris-Watts, ’93 and several friends all attended Hood. He came to Hood for his Masters of Science in Educational Leadership because of the quality of the staff. As he explains, “at the time I enrolled, the graduate program was run by two recently retired Maryland Superintendents.  If anyone knew what leaders needed to know and be able to do as administrators, these superintendents, both from high performing school districts, would. Several other professors also made learning practical and relevant to the work I would eventually have to do.” Several years after attaining his degree, he returned to Hood as a professor.

Keith also helped develop several of our graduate programs, including the cohort concept for the Educational Leadership program. He describes working to create the cohort –  a rigorous, accelerated program for receiving the M.S. or certificate in Educational Leadership –  as “one of the highlights” of his career at Hood. He also was one of the original forces working to start our doctoral program. He states that “I recognized that there was no program easily accessible for the many students who would like to have taken advantage of a doctoral program. I also recalled my experience of having to travel to Virginia every week to take my doctoral classes, and travel to different parts of the United States during the summers for three years in order to complete other requirements. Surely, Hood could create as quality a program as many of the other institutions offering degrees throughout Maryland, DC and Virginia. Years later, more conversations were had and other Hood staff took the lead in making this a reality.”   Another proud moment for Dr. Harris was in 2014, when he was selected as the Hood College Graduate School Commencement Speaker and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree. He reflects, “anyone with the mental capacity and effort can earn a degree, but not everyone is honored with one.  I continue to be humbled by this honor.”

Currently, Dr. Harris works for Frederick County Public Schools as the Executive Director of Accelerating Achievement and Equity, overseeing several departments. He also is an executive and teaching pastor for his church. Due to his professional and community engagements, he is no longer able to teach classes at Hood, but is still a part of our community. He works with doctoral candidates and sponsors the Keith R Harris Outstanding Educational Leadership Award, which is given to a selected graduating student during the graduation ceremonies each year. “I am grateful for the investment Hood has put in me.  And as long as I am able, I will continue to return the investment into the students at Hood.”

Become a (Better) Leader with Hood’s Doctoral Program!

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bandsDid you know that Hood has a doctoral program in Organizational Leadership? Learn all about it directly from Kathleen Bands, the director of the program, on our brand new YouTube channel!

Meet Kathleen Bands

Hear her describe the program, which offers degree options in educational leadership (D.O.L.) and business administration (D.B.A.). Working with a cohort of peers from various backgrounds, doctoral candidates learn from coursework and practical experience that will help as they pursue their individual goals. Current students include school principals, researchers, human resources directors, and project managers. Several have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from Hood, and aim to become the colleges’ first “Three Degree” graduates! Learn more about Dr. Bands and the program in the above video, as well as on our website (Hood Graduate School Doctoral Program).

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Graduate School’s brand new YouTube channel!

Hood – A Place That Nurtured My Calling and Passion

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Lura_Hanks_WebHaving earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Hood College, Lura Hanks, a candidate in Hood’s initial Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) cohort, is on her way to becoming one of the college’s first “three degree” recipients.

Lura is currently Supervisor of Language Arts and Social Studies for Washington County (MD) Public Schools.  She provides professional development, curriculum design and resources to 48 schools, serving staff and students from PreK through 12th grade. She started her teaching career with Frederick County Public Schools at Middletown Elementary School before becoming an FCPS Teacher Specialist for English/Language Arts and Social Studies. Following Assistant Principal positions at Thurmont Primary and Elementary and Spring Ridge Elementary, she received her first Principal position at Mercersburg Elementary in the Tuscarora School District in Pennsylvania.  Lura returned to Maryland in 2013 to become Principal at Winter Street Elementary in Hagerstown before assuming her current position in 2015.  She has also served as a School Board Director in the Greencastle- Antrim (PA) School District.

Lura has been involved in a variety of projects to support technology initiatives and enrich students’ experiences at the elementary level, including the development of a program for students in grades 3-5 to demonstrate proficiency on grade level standards, work ethic and motivation, as well as exemplary character and behavior.  The program enabled students to enhance their general education through integrated studies in math, English, Science and Social Studies.

“Hood College has provided the foundation necessary for me to excel in the educational field.  With my own passion and drive to succeed, Hood continues to provide exceptional mentors and instructors that inspire, expect and support my own professional learning.  Through a liberal arts approach, Hood has enabled me to view the world from a global perspective and transfer those experiences to better prepare young students for the world they will lead.  Each experience at Hood has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to advance professionally with confidence and passion. 

As an educator, my goal is always to have the greatest impact in preparing our nation’s youth for success in the world we have created for them.  My hope is to inspire, expect and support success for as many children as I can influence.  Hood has nurtured my calling and I will continue to work for the health and wealth of our communities through advanced literacy competence and citizenship development in our future caretakers.”

Originally from Massachusetts, Lura is married to David Hanks, Assistant Principal at Northern Middle School in Hagerstown, and mother of Nathan (10) and Natalie (9).

Hood College – Part of My Life – From Undergraduate to Doctorate

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AP photo1Hood College alumnus Joshua Work has earned his undergraduate degree in History (along with a Maryland Teaching Certificate), and his Master’s in Educational Leadership from the school.  A Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) candidate, Josh is on his way to becoming one of Hood’s first “Three Degree” graduates.  Josh, his wife Casey and three children Ava, Kai, and Chad live in Frederick.

He is currently an Assistant Principal for Frederick County Public Schools, and works at Middletown Middle School, as part of a leadership team that implements and coordinates the school program for 835 students and 70 staff, using rigor and working within a culture of cooperation, organization, determination and excellence.  All of this to promote a positive school culture that fosters the social development and student achievement.

Joshua grew up in Frederick County and graduated from Walkersville High School in 2005. While at Walkersville he interned at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Ft. Detrick. He applied to Hood for his undergraduate degree, he says, because “I knew that Hood was an excellent school with a distinguished reputation. Since I was still local, I was able to retain my internship position throughout my undergraduate degree at NCI.

While in pursuit of his undergraduate degree, Joshua enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR). After completing boot camp and his military occupational specialty school, he returned to Hood to complete his degree. He remained at Hood, NCI, and his USMC reserve unit until his graduation in May, 2009.  Following graduation, he was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and served as a Fire Direction Center chief and vehicle commander for a light armored mortar vehicle.

Joshua returned to the States in May, 2010 and was hired to teach social studies for FCPS.  While teaching, he earned his M.S. in Educational Leadership.

“Hood has become a part of my life. I met my wife there during undergrad and we got married during our senior year. Beyond the well-rounded liberal arts curriculum, I believe what makes Hood so wonderful is the staff and faculty that have been supportive over the years. I have been fortunate to develop great relationships with Mr. (Roger) Stenersen, Dr. (Jennifer) Cuddapah, and Dr. (Kathleen) Bands and value them all as lifelong mentors. I am humbled by all of time and effort that my professors have provided to me from my undergraduate to the Doctorate. One way to honor their tutelage is to successfully complete the doctoral program with Hood’s inaugural doctoral cohort. One day I hope to return to Hood and support graduates in any capacity that I can.”


Preparing Leaders, Transforming Communities

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Students in Hood College’s initial doctoral cohort began their studies this fall. Candidates in the program can pursue one of two degree options – Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (D.O.L.) for those in public and private education, the non-profit sector, training and development, government or military, or the Doctorate of Business Administration (D.B.A.) for those employed in business and industry who hold graduate degrees in business.

The cohort-based, 3-year program is the only doctoral program in Frederick and the surrounding region that provides a campus based experience that builds on face-to-face interaction between faculty and students. The program brings together leaders with 8 to 10 years of progressive experience in their field together to learn, explore and research effective leadership.

Why not consider enhancing your leadership development by applying for the Fall 2017 doctoral program?  You will join a highly selective group of professionals who will enhance their personal and professional leadership skills, and network with leaders from throughout the region who serve as Leaders in Residence and share their expertise with the cohort.

For further information visit