Well, last week I completed the course work portion of my Ph.D. program at the University of Manitoba, last assignment submitted! It was a demanding, but very educational and interesting ride. Seven courses in 18 months. I must say the program so far has lived up to its title: Transformative Teaching, Learning & Leading, or TTLL. This was truly a growth process, I know some people question the value of higher education, now this is part of my career choice, however, the growth goes way beyond a mere job - but that is for another post, perhaps.
I was extremely fortunate to be part of a cohort experience, I strongly suggest this for anyone embarking on such a journey, if it is possible. I have heard other cohort experiences are not all good, however, the TTLL cohort became like a family, sharing, supporting through good times and bad. Just like a good PLN, it is all about the people , the connecting, the discussing, a person to talk to, to give strength when things looked bleak - and believe me, at times they did. I think everyone of us at one time or another had second thoughts. To illustrate the sense of family, for our last weekend class, we held class at Danielle's beautiful home, shared a meal, a few drinks and more learning, what a great way to have a class! We often met outside class hours in various size groups, at Degrees (restaurant at the U of M) after Saturday class, for coffee, a meal, to talk. We shared flurries of emails, created a Ning group - until it went to a paid format - shared writing & feedback, news from our lives, resources - I fully expect this activity will continue!
|my work area for final course assignment|
The people in this cohort are varied in background, interests and learning styles, this variety added much to the mix, and broadened our thinking (at least for me!). I have been very lucky to come to know these fine people. And, though the journey is not over, we will probably see less of one another, but we will keep in touch and continue to support one another. I want to give a BIG SHOUT OUT and thanks to my cohort friends; Natalie, Jen, Cathy, Danielle, Lark, Pam, Margaret - and new member for this past year, Candy and for the last course, Heather and Duane! You are tremendous, caring, talented people, good luck to all of you in the rest of your program!
I would be remiss if I did not mention the great Profs I had at the U of M as well, all were excellent, but I will mention the cohort 'four'; Dr. Francine Morin, Dr. Thomas Falkenberg, Dr. Clea Schmidt and Dr. Wayne Seribrin. They exemplified the ideal that the process was about growth and learning and provided us with a challenging environment - and even though we often threw their careful plans out the window, allowed us our voice.
Now comes the next phase - the candidacy exam. At U of M, it is three months of ... terror? stress? hard work? learning? satisfaction? The exam (mine anyway) consists of four questions, 100 pages of writing and stacks of reading. My summer is spoken for, I don't know if I am ready, but, here it comes!