Claire Edwards

Claire Edwards

Doctor of Education student

The Doctor of Education offered the right framework and opportunity for her to take on doctoral study, says Claire Edwards.

“I had been planning at some point in my career to start my doctoral study. AUT offers a pathway for doctoral study that is structured to support students who are studying while working full-time. AUT’s Doctor of Education has recently been reviewed and reworked with structured support from a group of potential supervisors who are involved from the start of the programme. After meeting with Professor Jane Gilbert to explore the qualification, I was inspired to apply for this doctoral programme.”

She enjoys the thought-provoking environment the programme offers.

“The Doctor of Education has been organised with a cohort of students who are all on this journey together. We come from a range of education-based settings, and have created a supportive environment and regularly keep in contact with each other. We’ve also had time to get to know our supervisors, presenting and receiving constructive feedback on our research ideas and direction.

“There is a focus on understanding the journey through doctoral research and preparing you to write as an academic. We’ve discussed reading, researching and thinking in an environment of not knowing the answers and how to become comfortable with the level and depth of thinking in the unknown. It’s a supportive cohort-based approach that has both face-to-face sessions and independent research and writing time.”

A focus on research
For her Doctor of Education research, Claire decided look into initial teacher education.

“My doctoral research is focused around the practicum partnership between initial teacher education providers and schools. It could make a worthwhile contribution in the field of initial teacher education and practicum. I have future aspirations to move into higher education, possibly as a lecturer, and I see my research topic and the Doctor of Education as preparation towards achieving this goal.”

She looks forward to working with her team of supervisors throughout the completion of her research.

“I have a team of supervisors who I will be with over the next five years – Professor Jane Gilbert, Dr Jayne Jackson and Dr Toni Ingram. I see this as a strength of the programme as I will receive support from a range of perspectives, informing my refinement of my topic, prior to a decision on my final supervisor.”

Support and guidance
Balancing doctoral study with the other aspects of her life has had its challenges, Claire admits.

“The biggest challenge has been balancing work, home and study. Having a cohort of other students with whom I can share and discuss has helped me stay focused, and knowing that others are in a similar place to me helps.”

She has particularly appreciated the support and guidance from Professor Jane Gilbert, the programme leader for the Doctor of Education.

“Professor Jane Gilbert is an inspiring lecturer to lead the doctoral programme. She helps you find your path through this often unknown and uncertain journey. The face-to-face sessions with Jane give you time to speak with others and discuss strategies, and are enjoyable learning-focused times.”