CSUCI Congratulates Its First-Ever Doctoral Graduates!

Celebration banner. Text reads: Hats off and hoods on to CODEL's first graduating class! Below the text, in order from left-to-right: CSU Channel Islands logo; CODEL logo; CSU Fresno Kremen School of Education and Human Development. Decorative fireworks border the text on the banner.

A Historical Moment

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, the Collaborative Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership (CODEL) program hooded its first-ever graduates, making history–yet again–for the CSU.

CODEL has been a history-making program. After former California State University Chancellor, Charles Reed, and Senator Jack Scott passed legislation allowing CSU campuses to offer doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) in 2005, CSU Channel Islands and CSU Fresno partnered to design and launch a fully-accredited, collaborative doctoral program, offered almost entirely online, with the exception of annual summer residencies held at each of the two campuses. This meant that working professionals, parents, and geographically dispersed individuals could pursue a terminal degree from the CSU in a program designed to make innovative use of technology for removing traditional barriers of time and space. CODEL remains the only online doctoral program currently offered by the CSU.

What Has CODEL Meant to You?

When asked, “Why CODEL?” and “What has being a doctoral candidate in CODEL meant to you?” here is what a few of our newly-minted Ed.D.s from Cohort 1 had to say:

I chose CODEL because I knew I needed to integrate my existing experience in administration with a broader academic understanding and a deeper theoretical perspective on higher ed and leadership. And I needed the flexibility of a program for working administrators. I was also eager to engage in CODEL’s full and extended experience of online learning, since I knew it was already playing an important role in the evolution of higher education. ~ Vic Liptak

I am a first generation college student and had no idea that I might find myself here one day. I am extremely proud of my work and research and this has been supported by amazing faculty, including my chair and mentor Dr. Betsy Quintero. Being able to closely tie my study in CODEL with my teaching in Early Childhood Studies has been an asset to me, but also to my students. As I learned and grew through CODEL, so did my teaching and research. ~ Larisa Callaway-Cole

I always wanted to complete an Ed.D. program, so this has been a literal dream come true. I have learned so much about higher education as a whole, how to be a leader who can change education for the better, and how to perform research that can benefit whatever institution I am working for. As such, I have gained a set of professional and academic skills, and knowledge, that will help me be a better educator in the future. ~ Ryan Eller

We Celebrate You

Congratulations to CODEL’s class of 2019–the first graduating class*!

Alison Raigoza

Ginger Shea

Carolyn Bernal

Michelle Hasendonckx

Celine Park

Larisa Callaway-Cole

Ashley Lajoie

Adria Taha-Resnick

Ryan Eller

Tosha Giuffrida

Vic Liptak

Nohemy Ornelas

Nicole Rodriguez

Amy Stencler

*One student wished not to be named, but was not forgotten.

The Future is Bright

CODEL students–now graduates–are driven, motivated, and hard-working. Their research shows a commitment to transformative leadership in education and a dedication to advancing both campus’ shared vision of a socially just world. Press play to advance through a sampling of this Cohort’s dissertation titles and be as inspired as we are.

Leading the Way

In so many ways, Cohort 1 CODEL graduates are pioneers. Some are first generation students and many are the first in their family to earn a terminal degree. For CSUCI, they are the first to wade through the program pathway that was so carefully conceived not so long ago. We relied on their frequent and honest feedback all along the way, and that has already made (and continues to make) a difference for the cohorts that have followed. Two graduates shared their perspectives about being part of the first cohort:

It’s a privilege to be a part of the first cohort. You feel like a pioneer navigating through the unknown. Of course, this had its benefits and challenges! I went to the interest group for the doctoral program and Fresno State for 10 years. It was never the right fit for me. As soon as I heard about CODEL, I knew it was going to be the avenue for me to pursue my goal of getting a doctorate degree. ~ Tosha Giuffrida

My lasting memories in this program are the summer residency sessions and the bond that was created amongst our cohort members.  I also loved the involvement of some of the Fresno State faculty members, Dr. Tracz and Dr. Akhavan, as they got to know us as people and leaders, not only as students.  I developed key relationships that kept me on track as I celebrated successes and endured challenges. Many tears were shed in which they were always met with the love and support of my cohort members. I especially love the bond I established with my residency roommate (during the first year) and how we have become inseparable throughout this program. She and I continue to conduct research together, hope to consult together around women leadership, and really are centered on making a difference in organizations worldwide. This program was amazing and I appreciate having the opportunity to be a part of CODEL cohort 1. Thank you to Dr. Kinsey, all the CODEL liaisons, Tiffany (we love her so much), and both campuses for allowing this program to be such a success.  The word is getting out about the integrity and quality of this program, I hope both campuses give this program a chance to thrive, grow, and make a difference in the lives of the students and people we serve. ~ Nicole Rodriguez

In order to be present for the CSUCI graduation ceremony, together with their CSUCI faculty colleagues, to hood and celebrate their graduating doctoral students, CSU Fresno faculty departed the CSUF graduation on Friday and then drove several hours south to Camarillo, arriving at 2am. For students, faculty, and administration alike, this program has been just as personal and connected as it has been professional and academic. Many of CODEL’s graduates already have tremendous career prospects, from serving as Vice President of Student Affairs, to presenting research at an international conference, to seeking superintendencies and tenure track positions; but, by being part of a community that valued the human experience, these amazing people have also built a network of professional colleagues all over the state (and some parts of the country). Congratulations, best wishes, and thank you to CODEL’s first graduating class!

3 thoughts on “CSUCI Congratulates Its First-Ever Doctoral Graduates!

  1. Dear Lorna and Graduates (Doctors All!),

    This is absolutely a wonderful tribute as Don says. Sincere congratulations to all of you, and it has been truly an honor for me to be a tiny part of this journey. Onward!

    Betsy Quintero

  2. Dear Graduates,
    Congratulation on your dedication, accomplishments, and promise for the future. I know you will make a difference in the world. I am honored to know you and to have worked with you.
    Best always,
    Susan Tracz

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