Today, I officially start on the road to earn my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University (and the very cool fuzzy cap!) 🙂 I’m excited, nervous, and anxious all at the same time, so of course… I had to blog about it.

Ever since I made the choice to work in Higher Education, I knew that I would eventually need to go on this journey.  It is no secret that to move up into senior leadership at the University level, one needs a terminal degree to have a seat at the interview table for those positions.  I earned my Masters Degree in Educational Leadership in 2000 from Central Connecticut State University, so its been a while since I’ve been a formal student.  Things have changed quite a bit since I last stepped into the classroom, and with the advances in technology, I know I’ll have a learning curve to adjust to.

I finally made the decision to apply last year, when I explored programs in Educational Technology from the University of Florida and Syracuse University.  Through that process, I realized that I needed to find a cohort program that best fit my schedule, family life, and allowed me to explore my research interests in technology and social media integration in Higher Education.  Friends and colleagues of mine had all completed the Johnson and Wales doctoral program, but I hadn’t really given it a look until this past spring.  I had meaningful conversations with many of these folks who all gave me great perspective on their experiences and it peaked my interest. While in Las Vegas for the ACPA Convention, I had the chance to do lunch with my former Tufts University graduate assistant Courtney Young-Law 🙂 During that wonderful conversation she enthusiastically encouraged me to stop waiting and to go for it. Having done her own doctoral work, she shared her stories of how she balanced it all, and the light just went off in my head… it’s time to do this.  I applied, got accepted, and here I am today.

I know the journey won’t be easy, nothing worth while ever is.  Perhaps this is why a focus on fitness has consumed me for the last year… preparing me for a similar journey of hard work, perseverance, and determination where I am going to need help along the way.  The best way YOU can help is to ask me how I’m doing throughout the process and encouraging me to keep going, no matter how challenging it becomes.  I realize that everyone who has gone through the process of earning their terminal degree traveled their own path and this will be no different for me.  I will always be open to help and advice, especially from those who have gone through or are currently going through the same process.

As always, my family (both at home and at Bridgewater State) will be my rock and foundation for me to stand on.  To all of you who have supported me along the way, I’m grateful and I hope you will continue to do so.  If I “fall off the face of the earth” for a while, now you know why.

In three years, I will search this specific blog post out and reflect on the journey to Dr. Ed Cabellon and celebrate the accomplishment with all of you 🙂

What advice do you have for me as I get started? For those in the process or recently completed a doctoral program, what do you wish you knew when you first started??


  • Congratulations ed!!! You are such an inspiration and have been to so many college students. So excited to hear that you are taking another step forward in your awesome career. 🙂

  • Best wishes to you on this next step, Ed! Thank you so much for all the good you do, and I’m so excited to see all the good that will come from your doctoral journey as well 🙂

  • I was just thinking last night about how my new focus on fitness is, in some ways, parallel to the path I took to the Ph.D. Both require single-minded focus at stages and both reward persistence. I tell myself that if I could complete a Ph.D., surely I can cultivate a fitness habit. The same is true in reverse for you 🙂

  • Ed- it’s all about the reading. Not only course materials, but feeding your brain all the many extra books, articles, research, and supplemental materials around your topic.
    And the writing. All of the citations and references to other people’s work in the topic.

    Good luck brother. I’m with you.

  • Ed you continue to inspire from afar! Wish you the best of luck with this and just know you will add such value to the research within this area.

  • Congrats on taking such an exciting step forward. I’m really excited to hear about your journey, as this is something I’ve thought about doing (at some point) too!

  • Hi Ed! Congrats…this is a big move!! My recs, considering you will be working full-time while doing this program:
    -Figure out the difference between good enough and “perfect” early on…it’s okay for some papers to be good enough.
    -Use your second year of coursework to write papers in the general area of your dissertation topic. This means you have to figure out your general topic area by the end of your first year of coursework.
    -Treat the dissertation like a long term paper, not your magnum opus. You want to be proud of the end product, but it doesn’t define your longer journey as a scholar-practitioner. A good diss is a done diss! 🙂

  • Congrats on taking the step. I am about 5 classes in and after a hiatus about to start back up. I am ready to start reading again and getting to the end.

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