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    August 22, 2022

    First Dissertation Defense for the Ed.D. Program Student

    On Friday, Aug. 19 the first member of the inaugural cohort of the College’s initial doctoral program – a doctorate in executive leadership (Ed.D.) – successfully defended her dissertation. In doing so, Tracy Couto, director of the Savage-McGill Center in the Madden School of Business, became the first student ever at Le Moyne to take this step. She is one of five students in the cohort who will receive their doctorate at the College’s commencement ceremonies in May 2023.

    “Cohort I served as pioneers in this program and have shown resilience numerous times,” said Gina Myers, interim director of the Ed.D. program. “They have been willing to give us honest feedback, which led to important modifications in the program that made the experience better for the cohorts that have followed.”

    Myers noted that the cohort’s research interest vary. Among their dissertation topics are: global collaboration among Jesuit business schools; investigating student persistence and the impact of government incentive programs in schools in rural Ghana; the importance of mentors in guiding the younger generation toward technical professions; and Couto’s topic, which will measures the impact of a Jesuit business education on students' views on leadership. “The collective interests and experiences of this cohort are impressive,” Myers said. 

    Launched in Fall 2019, Le Moyne’s Ed.D. program focuses on four specific pillars - Leadership that Transforms, Social Responsibility, Scholarship and Communication. Cohort II has almost completed its Ed.D. coursework and will begin dissertation research in Spring 2023. The third cohort, which is made up entirely of women, began its journey in fall of 2021, and a new cohort starts this fall.

    Couto’s dissertation was heard by her committee chair, Dr. Dipankar Rai, associate dean and professor of the Madden School of Business, methodologist, Dr. Andy Boynton, dean of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, and the reader, Dr. Myers. Also hearing the defense were Ed.D. faculty members, Purcell Dean Margaret Wells, Provost Jim Hannan, Associate Provost Mary Collins and President Linda LeMura.

    “Reaching this milestone is the culmination of the strong vision and years of planning by College leadership to start a doctoral program at Le Moyne,” said Dean Wells, who praised Couto for her dedication, tenacity and attention to detail. “By design, the program has evolved as we listened to and reacted to what students told us about its strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been inspired by not only the students’ impressive credentials but also their strong work ethic in going through this program while working in demanding professions.”

    “I appreciate Tracy’s dissertation and its potential implications for how we engage students in our majors, minors and the core curriculum,” said President LeMura. “The double-milestone of completing her doctorate and for being the first-ever doctoral recipient in Le Moyne’s history makes her a member of the academy in a very distinctive way.”

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