The Residency: A Highlight from the Doctoral Journey

The Residency:  A Highlight from the Doctoral Journey

by Grace Jackson

A journey to a doctoral degree can often be a solitary one, which is why attending a residency is advantageous and often necessary to students.  The purposes of the residencies at CityU’s School of Applied Leadership are twofold:  to create a direct dialogue between the student and their dissertation chair and to examine scholarly strategies that will result in a defendable prospectus, proposal, and dissertation.

On July 23, 2014, Provost Steven Olswang, Dean Kelly Flores, Associate Provost and Dissertation Director Kurt Kirstein, along with staff and faculty, welcomed seven students to Residency 2 at CityU.  More than half the students traveled from Mexico to attend the residency in person.

Greg Price, a doctoral student who is also an Associate Program Director in the School of Leadership, wrote, “This is my second residency; my first residency was a year ago. It was great to see many of the same individuals from the previous year.  The growth I witnessed in all of them was not only noticeable, but substantial. Each student had much more to contribute to their field of study and had significantly narrowed their focus of intent.  It was amazing.”

Planning for the residency began in October of last year, when staff and faculty designed activities with the goal of giving students significant time to interact with doctoral staff and their chairs.  One highlight for many students was the defense of their problem statements and research design, which they presented on the second day.  Peer discussions followed and staff members offered pertinent suggestions on refining each presentation. The entire exercise was designed to prepare them for the actual oral defense of their dissertation, the culmination of their doctoral journey.

This was the first residency where we were able to give detailed and substantive feedback to students directly on their chosen dissertation topics,” said Associate Provost and Dissertation Director Kirstein.  “I believe the process helped move all of the students closer to a clearly stated and detailed problem statement, supported by sound research methodologies. Given the success of this residency, we will be planning to include these types of activities in all future residencies”.

With guidance and support from the faculty, staff, and chairs, last week’s residency built upon CityU’s online doctoral leadership program with one-on-one scholarly activities that develop research skills and leadership competencies.

After a couple years of taking online classes together, the residency was a special time of coming together, celebrating growing friendships, making memories, and preparing for the dissertation journey. Students appreciated the opportunity to share their ideas with their peers, and get constructive feedback from the faculty and chairs,” wrote Dean Flores.

The mission of the School of Leadership is to empower learners to become intentional and inspired leaders, who integrate innovative ideas and proven practices with theory, reflection, and critical analysis. The power of collective intelligence is harnessed to achieve high performance and active engagement through collaboration and data-driven decision-making.

This year’s residency combined the collective intelligence of seven students and eight faculty members. Through mentorship and reflection the students attending this year were able to make real progress on the framework of their dissertation. At the end of their doctoral journey, the CityU graduate will be a skilled leader who will be empowered to help others within their field become better leaders.

For more information about the School of Applied Leadership and the doctoral program, visit​

Grace JacksonGrace Jackson is the Assistant to the Dean of the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle.









Published July 30, 2014



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