Faculty member and fellowship recipient Dr. Kelley Walters hopes to discover how the writing readiness assessment impacts student achievement in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership.

Dr. Kelley Walters, a faculty member in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, received the 2013 Research in Distance Education Fellowship, a $10,000 grant provided by the Presidential Fellowship Program, to pursue her research project, The Impact of a Writing Readiness Initiative on Student Retention, Persistence, and Success. Through this research, her goal is to determine “if the writing readiness initiative has any influence on subsequent major assessment and doctoral study work scores,” she says.

In September 2010, the writing readiness assessment was implemented as a requirement for students entering doctoral programs in the Riley College of Education and Leadership to determine if incoming students are prepared to write at the graduate level. Walters says successful graduate writing can impact students’ program persistence, GPA, retention, and time spent in the program. She hopes to use her findings to make any necessary improvements to the readiness assessment to further assist students.

“Once I came to Walden and began working with doctoral students, we worked to find ways to help them improve their writing,” Walters says. “Receiving this fellowship has allowed me to dig deeper as a researcher and make any needed improvements to our system.”

Walters has worked at Walden since 2007 in multiple roles, including program director for the MS in Education (MSEd), Doctor of Education (EdD), and Education Specialist (EdS) programs; reading and literacy course developer; and program coordinator for the K–12 reading endorsement program. She holds a PhD in Reading and Language Arts from Oakland University and is pursuing her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Northcentral University. In addition to her role at Walden, Walters currently serves as director of curriculum development at Northcentral University.

“Walden provides opportunities for faculty unlike any other university for which I have worked,” she says. “Many instructors get doctorates because we are passionate about our field and enjoy conducting research. Knowing that Walden offers the opportunity to pursue research is one of the reasons I came here in the first place.”

About the Fellowship
The Research in Distance Education Fellowship provides funding to support research endeavors that contribute both theoretical and applied knowledge to the growing field of distance education. This program is designed to encourage research conducted in the name of Walden and to continuously improve the distance-education programs at the university through research.

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