Milestone Four—completed during your last residency—goes to the heart of the Walden University social change mission. Most students entering their fourth milestone have at least completed their prospectus—and many of them are finishing their dissertation or have already turned it in for acceptance. The question that Milestone Four seeks to answer is simple: What next?

Dr. Alice Eichholz
(Director of academic residencies)

We want people to think about moving the research into an active community, whether it’s publishing, it’s establishing an action research project, or it’s doing presentations.  We have a variety of different things that we hope that people are involved in, in terms of making a change in their own communities.

Dr. Gary Burkholder

This is where being at Walden actually is really exciting because many of our students are coming from backgrounds and professions that they are already immersed in. And students find their own meaning of the existing literature and research and how that then applies back to what they are doing as practitioners.
Dr. Gary Kelsey
Some of the guiding questions that you may have noted in the materials that you received from the university, related to Milestone Four, are: How can you build relationships and obtain needed resources to finish this journey, and how can you prepare to participate in the post-doctorate research community through presentation of your research through post-doc research, and through publishing of your research?

Dr. Dale Swoboda

The goal is for students to acquire as much information as I can convey to successfully complete their dissertation, and I also bring them information about what happens when they get that dissertation and they’re called doctor.

Walden has several online, peer-reviewed journals that focus on research and practice and give students the opportunity to share their research with others around the world. But Milestone Four goals go beyond publication or conference attendance—you are also challenged to think about your future as a leader.

Dr. Denise DeZolt
(Chief academic officer, senior vice president, Walden University)

Earning one’s doctorate is a way of being in the world. It’s not about the stuff that you learn; it’s about how we come into the profession and experience our colleagues, experience each other, and experience the world.

Jonathan A. Kaplan
(President, Walden University)

A core part of Walden University’s mission and vision as an institution of higher education is to ensure that knowledge is only as worthy as it can be applied, so as to solve some of society’s greatest challenges. And that’s how Walden every day is helping to make a difference and bring about positive social change, through Walden’s doctoral students, through the work they do in research, and the work they do in their professions—to make that research real, make it breathe, to make it live every day in what they’re doing in their professions, in their workplace, and in their communities.

Dr. Raymond Thron

Now social change can take place in many different venues. It could take place among a group of individuals; it could take place within a community, state, region, or nation; or it can take place globally as well. And so we ask our students to think about the ramifications of their research—who it may affect, what communities might it affect, and how.

Walden graduates make a difference, wherever they live. In business … in schools … and in academia.

Dr. Ronald Paige
(Ph.D. in Education graduate, 2007 Harold L. Hodgkinson Award recipient)

My research is in the area of self-directing informal learning, and that really is a tough thing to explain to people because informal learning is a learning that occurs without us really being aware of it … that we have to prepare students to self-direct their own informal learning because that is a major part of the learning that they’ll do in a lifetime.

Abdeslam Arsalane
(Ph.D. in management student)

I work in the pharmaceutical industry, and one of the things is that it really takes a long time to submit drugs to the FDA. My hope with my research is basically apply a technology that is now widely used in the supply chain, radio frequency identification, apply it to clinical trials and track the trials, get the information, the data back quickly, so we can analyze it and speed up the drug submission.

Stacy Peerbolte
(Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration student)

I want to be able to teach other emergency managers the skills and the information that they need to be able to be successful and go forward in implementing social change within their own communities by adapting how they develop policy locally.

Evaline Otieno
(Ph.D. in Education student)

I teach in a historically black college, an HBCU. And the graduation rate is not that great. I would like to tell them that you can do it, you’re intelligent enough. Others have gone before you, and you can juggle family, you can juggle your schoolwork, you can juggle life, and you can do it, and you can make so much of a difference to yourself and to the generations to come. You owe this to yourself and to society as a whole.