An alumnus explains how he balanced his duties as an active member of the military with his doctoral work.

By Christine Van Dusen
August 2013

Dr. Xavier Bruce.

NAME: Dr. Xavier Bruce ’11

DEGREE EARNED: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

CURRENT JOB: Deputy chief of strategic planning and transformation, 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WALDEN? I chose Walden because of its prestigious reputation and because it accommodated my unique needs as an active member of the military. Walden helped me become a scholar-practitioner and positioned me to become a bridge-builder for others.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT WALDEN WAS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR YOU? When I was in the final stages of my doctoral program. I was in Kandahar, Afghanistan, enduring incoming rocket attacks and other enemy activity on a frequent basis. At perhaps the most nerve-wracking time in my life, my doctoral committee members provided remarkable support. My doctoral committee chair said he’d be willing to conduct the oral defense at 4 a.m. his time, if necessary. Fortunately, I was able to redeploy to Kuwait and conducted the oral defense without incident, but I’m extremely grateful for their support.

WHY DO YOU REFER TO WALDEN? While other schools may let you wait until you complete core courses before starting the dissertation, Walden provides doctoral mentoring courses throughout the program. By the time core courses are completed, students can hit the ground running because the proposal has been tweaked along the way. I don’t hesitate to refer others because faculty members clearly share the value of “service before self.”

WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE WALDEN PROGRAM? Before I began the program, my inner critic whispered, “Who are you kidding? You don’t have what it takes to get a doctorate.” Walden helped me overcome those inner blocks to success. With my higher degree, I have discovered my higher purpose. I now have credentials that support my passion to assist people who wish to earn a doctorate. I intend to leverage my experiences at Walden to coach students who are navigating the dissertation process.

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