Taking Notes: Eye on Education – AU Develops Doctorate Program

Taking Notes: Eye on Education – AU Develops Doctorate Program

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org


An exciting new venture in the works at Athabasca University is the development of a Doctorate in Distance Education. One of the identified goals of the Strategic University Plan 2002-2006 was to increase numbers of graduate students by adding new graduate programs, and by having a doctorate program approved by 2005.

There are many reasons why Athabasca University needs graduate students and doctorate programs. One important one is to foster research, since research informs and supports the quality of teaching and learning. Another is to enhance the credibility and reputation of the university. Graduate and doctorate programs also provide a greater range of choices for all students. Not to be overlooked either, is the ability of graduate and doctorate programs to attract more research dollars.

It is appropriate that the first doctorate pursued by AU be in the area of distance education, and it is exciting to see that the Doctorate in Distance Education has reached Step II, approved by AU Academic Council on April 21. The target opening date is September, 2006, and the proposed first intake will be twelve students. The program has been approved by the relevant AU faculties and committees, and now awaits approval from Alberta Learning.