First-hand advice from a USD Student: Meet Guadalupe Burgos
Guadalupe Burgos is currently pursuing her PhD in Leadership Studies with a Specialization in Leadership for International School Leaders. She is in her second year in the program.
Why is USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences the perfect fit for Guadalupe?
I have always been very passionate about learning, both in formal and informal instances. Pursuing my PhD is something that I had wanted to do for a long time, but I found it hard to decide due to different personal and professional circumstances. I knew it would be demanding, and having two young children and a full-time job gave me, at times, already enough to juggle.
When I learned about the hybrid format for the PhD in Leadership Studies for International School Leaders, I felt that I had finally found a program that could be a good fit for me. I was fortunate to meet Dr. Lea Hubbard, Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies, and Dr. Robert Donmoyer, professor of Leadership Studies, while they were teaching the in-person courses of the program at the USD Madrid Center where I work in the capacity of Administrative Director. Meeting the faculty and having an opportunity to talk to students, in addition to having the full support of my supervisor and family, gave me the reassurance I needed to finally make the decision.
Not only was the global focus on leadership very attractive to me, but the hybrid format provided the flexibility of online lessons while still having an opportunity to interact with faculty and other students in the on-site courses in Madrid. I had never considered an online format in the past since I always had concerns about the availability of faculty to assist throughout the learning journey. Additionally, I felt I would be missing out on the interactions with other students, which is such an enriching part of the experience.
Now, in my second year in the program, I cannot be more satisfied with my decision. I feel that the courses are designed in such a way that any obstacles to distance learning are minimized. While class discussions and feedback are asynchronous, they are still rich and relevant. I have also been very impressed with faculty availability to meet with students (as a group or one-on-one). Their efforts to support students are, in my opinion, one of the program’s most impressive features.
It is a demanding program that requires effort and focus from students. While the format provides for flexibility, the expectations of faculty are as high as one would expect of an academically rigorous doctoral program. At times, the compressed seven-week courses impose additional challenges, particularly for courses that involve more demanding projects that were originally designed to be developed over a longer period of time. In my particular case, I had to make some adjustments to my personal schedule to be able to meet the demands of the program. I knew I did not want to sacrifice time with my family, so I had to make other changes. I don’t have much leisure time, but I am really enjoying my learning journey and that in itself is very rewarding.
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