GMercyU's EdD Program Ahead of the Pack

This article was originally published in the TODAY Magazine Winter 2018 issue.

Gwynedd Mercy University's Doctorate in Educational Leadership program is getting national attention. Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership Raymond Bandlow, PhD was a featured presenter at the National Conference of the American Association of University Administrators to discuss GMercyU's innovative approach to doctoral program completion.

GMercyU's EdD program graduated its first cohort last May with a graduation rate of 76% in just three years, nearly double the national average of 41% in 10 years, according to a 2010 study done by the Council of Graduate Schools. Currently, the EdD program has a year-to-year retention rate of 93%. These outstanding results are exciting, for sure, but they are not unexpected.

One of the reasons for the high graduation and retention rates is the strong support students receive in completing their dissertations - support that has been formally built into the program. Each newly-enrolled doctoral student is assigned to a dissertation advisor in the first course. The dissertation advisor guides the doctoral student through a series of dissertation advisement courses scheduled throughout the course of study to ensure that the student meets benchmarks of progress. Through a student-centered approach that personalizes the program, the program is constructed to result in dissertation completion by the time coursework is completed.

"Choosing the EdD Program at Gwynedd Mercy University was one of the best decisions I have made in my educational journey," Evelyn Nunez, Assistant Superintendent for the Philadelphia School District, said.

"The high level of guidance and support which I received from the professors and my dissertation advisor was exactly what I needed to facilitate the completion of the dissertation while also working full-time as a Principal in a large, urban elementary school," Evelyn said.

GMercyU's EdD program has graduated 48 students, with 153 currently enrolled. Learn more about the program at