Teacher leadership doctoral students Brian Routh, left, and Matt Coulter

Think of it as the Goldilocks perspective on WSU’s education doctorate program: “Not too easy or too difficult, but just right.”

That’s a description offered for a WSU Today article by Matt Coulter, a veteran teacher from Olympia who is earning an Ed.D. specializing in teacher leadership.  Matt made his comment during the Summer Institute in Pullman that’s part of the four-year, part-time doctoral program designed for working professionals.

If the program is not too difficult for Matt and his classmates, it’s probably because teachers make outstanding, discerning students. They are keenly aware of both course content and the quality of instruction, and are bound to critique the class in ways other students don’t. Associate Professor Rick Sawyer, who taught a Summer Institute course called Action Research for Teachers, put it this way:

“Instructors in courses with experienced teacher leaders have to be aware of who their students are, what they offer, and what their motivation and goals are. In a course like that, the students will bring the curriculum alive, but the instructor has to orchestrate that process. Instead of delivering content, you have to construct opportunities for the students to generate curriculum together in meaningful ways that respect their time. A two-week summer course moves very quickly and the instructor has to ‘listen’ to the course and the students and be very adaptable. I was lucky because this particular group was just so smart, motivated, and generous. I just had to keep up with them!”

In another story about the institute, which appeared in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, participants talked about what it was like to be college students again.   Said Wendy Watson, an assistant principal from Spokane who is studying educational leadership:  “People are staying up late, late at night.”