Sunday, April 15, 2001

Schools join for doctorate

By Steven Mayer, Californian staff writer

When the California State University system decided last month that it would seek permission to offer education doctorates, some wondered if such a program might ever come to Bakersfield.

Not Vivian Gayles.

The career educator and Emerson Middle School principal is already a doctoral candidate in a local program -- and she couldn't be happier.

"I looked at quite a few programs before I settled on the University of the Pacific," she said. "It's one of the best programs out there, and I don't have to leave Bakersfield."

For about the past two years, educators seeking a doctorate in educational administration have had the option of doing their post-graduate work through a cooperative program between Cal State Bakersfield and the University of the Pacific, a private university based in Stockton. The program permits full-time practicing school administrators to earn a doctorate in educational administration without having to commute to an out-of-town campus.

"The program is not very well-known," said Louis Wildman, the co-director of the program. "But it's important to note that this is a nationally accredited program."

About 15 doctoral candidates are currently enrolled in the Bakersfield program, Wildman said.

"Other programs require the doctoral candidate to travel," Gayles said. "But that's extremely difficult for people working full time."

While Gayles has traveled twice to the Stockton campus, one of the trips was not required and the other became necessary only when she missed a meeting in Bakersfield.

"For me, it opens new doors to opportunities for further employment or higher employment," Gayles said of earning a doctorate. "It would give me an edge in getting a superintendent position."

For more information about the doctoral program, call Wildman at 664-3047.

Copyright © 2001, The Bakersfield Californian