Narrator: As a doctoral student, one of the most significant challenges you’ll face will be preparing for and completing your dissertation. Though you will receive instruction on the topic during your Residencies, you may also benefit from Walden’s Capstone Intensive Retreat. Here you’ll have the opportunity to focus on your dissertation proposal, working directly with a team of Walden faculty members, networking with peers, researching and writing.
William Barkley (faculty): Most of the students that come to the Dissertation Intensive have encountered some kind of road-block. I think what they want to know is “what do I need to do to take the next step forward?”
Joanie Rainey (PhD student): The motivation was to come to discover if I was on the right track. I knew that this would be an opportunity to be one-on-one for an extended period of time and have access to someone who could really go through your material.
Jerry Sprout (DBA student): I felt like I needed some kind of a push and a way to get away from my day-to-day life and be able to focus on nothing but writing on my paper.
Diane Perez Roman (DBA student): I wanted to learn, not only capturing the information and the hook and the anchor that we need for the first section of the dissertation, but I also needed to know how to capture other information from basic articles and newspapers and how to extract them.
Narrator: Dissertation Intensives are held several times throughout the year in various cities around the country and are generally comprised of about 16 to 20 students who have completed at least one Residency.
Joanie Rainey (PhD student): The first full day is spent with the faculty going over various things that the students will have to encounter during the process and that’s really covering the Walden rubric, the dissertation rubric and understanding and fleshing that out.
William Barkley (faculty): We have an hour and a half presentation each morning. The first day that’s split between the Writing Center person and the methods person. I spent 45 minutes talking about some of the issues that belong in a certain chapter and then she would talk about writing tips and ways to address writing problems that we see over and over again. Then on days two and three, the methods person does the full hour and a half on research methods and the content that belongs in each of the other two chapters, and with the writing person kind of jumping in, adding words of wisdom as we go through this. All of that kind of comes together then over the course of four days to help students see how every piece of every chapter fits together.
Narrator: One of the strongest aspects of the dissertation intensive is working one-on-one with Walden faculty members. Well versed in the dissertation process, they have extensive experience with qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research design, as well as expertise in writing. They will help ensure that you’re making progress, address challenges, and help you set your goals for each day.
Rose Bayley (DBA student): We have had one-on-ones with all three of the professors that are here. An enormous amount of time they’ve had themselves available to guide and direct us. And they will look at it, read every paragraph for you and say “yes, you’re on the right track” or “no, you need to go this way.” “Have you thought about this?” And they have a wealth of knowledge that I don’t have at this point in my educational career. And that knowledge will help you and guide you to reach your goal.
Narrator: At least one member of the dissertation intensive faculty team is an experienced member of the Walden University Writing Center who can critique your work, help strengthen your scholarly writing skills and provide you with the insight you need to be successful.
Diane Perez Roman (DBA student): We all think we know how to write, but we also know we also need to improve. So, having that one-to-one assistance, you can refine not only the problem statement, but you can refine your questions, your research questions. It has helped me tremendously.
Laurel Walsh (Faculty): It’s not just writing, it’s conceiving of that final project. It’s organizing, it’s utilizing an outline, it’s understanding how to substantiate claims, it’s how to summarize/paraphrase effectively with less pain. There’s all these different resources that the Writing Center has done as a response to student need.
Narrator: Students come to the Dissertation Intensive with certain expectations and goals. And while the experience ends up being different for everyone, the outcomes and rewards all point to the fact that there is a lot to be gained from attending a Dissertation Intensive.
Laurel Walsh (Faculty): We had a student who had her proposal rejected seven times and she attended a Dissertation Intensive and six weeks later had an accepted proposal through URR. And just hearing those stories, you get goose bumps.
William Barkley (faculty): I think the top three things students get out of coming to the Dissertation Intensive include clarifying, crystallizing their problem statements and research questions and that’s absolutely essential because everything else flows from there.
Laurel Walsh (Faculty): The most rewarding part of the dissertation experience, I think, has been the bonds that people form. Real, tangible connections with other scholars where they feel responsible to each other and they continually loop back and communicate with each other.
Rose Bayley (DBA student): I needed to move forward and this Doctoral Intensive has helped to do that. And I feel very confident that I will be graduating in January 2012.