Words for Thought

Jun 23rd, 2020 | Category: Words for Thought
By Kimberly Lavado

Thinking about Learning

      I began thinking about doctoral studies in the early 2000’s, as I was completing my Master’s degree. I put the thought aside as I accepted a call to lead a school at my home congregation. It would be too demanding as a wife, mother, and principal/teacher to add “doctoral student” to the list. I was, however, ready and able to begin years later in 2013 to consider the doctoral path. After research, prayer, and conversation with my spouse, I decided to pursue my doctoral degree at Concordia University Portland. I chose Portland because it offered a program of writing support as well as two classes in the faith along with the core content of the degree, and I could complete it all online. The courses in the faith mattered to me. Additionally, until you have had to learn to write at the doctoral level it is difficult to appreciate how important the writing support that I received was.

      I jumped into the program in June 2014 and successfully defended my dissertation in May 2018. Those four years were academically the most challenging, invigorating, and engaging of any courses I had taken anywhere. CU Portland offered me the first true academically freeing experience I have ever had and I am so grateful for it. At CU Portland I was fully free to express my faith and say what I truly thought without fear of reprisal from professors. I cannot say that about other Christian and Lutheran universities that I have attended. Until my doctoral program began, I kept my mouth shut and my true thoughts and faith to myself in university classes because I was there for a degree, and I needed to pass. Not so at CU Portland. Academic freedom and all that it implies feels like a relatively rare thing these days, and I am saddened that CU Portland won’t be around to offer that to future students.

      You see, I got my doctorate from Concordia University Portland. Yep, CU Portland. Nowadays, folks generally just say “Oh” rather solemnly when I say that I got my degree from the most recent Concordia University that is closing. LEJ