Enrollment in the doctorate program was an individual and collective commitment I made to complete my coursework and to place prioritization on every assignment.

Reply to other classmates’ threads, providing commentary, feedback, suggested reading, or questions for consideration. Reply must be 200 words and provide 1 reference in APA format.

Student 1 Response


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Enrollment in the doctorate program was an individual and collective commitment I made to complete my coursework and to place prioritization on every assignment. Since I am an Assistant Principal at a very challenging middle school campus, I must make time to ensure my assignment submissions are from quality effort, not last-minute marginal effort. My planning and scheduling have definitely improved, and I have learned I would rather be late than submit something not worth reading.

Throughout the past year, I have grown exponentially as a scholar, Christian, and professional educator. I have learned so much about my profession and how scripture applies to education and my personal life, I cannot help but to be thankful to God for the opportunity. My personal friend, Felicia, suggested Liberty University and we often share encouraging words to keep each other on task towards graduation. My wife is my constant and dedicated companion who will quickly send me to my coursework when I am straying away from it and remind me of my commitment when exhaustion from work seems to be overwhelming. She is a beautiful reminder God is in my life and has blessed my family with a wonderful Christian woman with strong faith and personal confidence in my capability.

An advocate for implementing social emotional learning into our daily routine on campus, growing spiritually has revealed the critical importance of relationships and how we treat one another. Completing the course work is not as difficult when you love learning about the very best aspects of education. Being prepared to successfully complete the capstone project comes easy when the coursework has been so demanding over the past few months. I completed two summer semesters, each with three doctorate classes, and I believe the capstone will be much less demanding. My capstone project subject is truly amazing, and I find great interest in learning how to effectively change student behavior without a punitive focus. Social emotional learning is not new; however, I believe the practice is underutilized and too much focus is placed on test scores and analytical data.

I do not have any concerns to complete the project, make changes, or respond to my professors. I believe they have my best interest in their hearts and will demand more of me than I demand of myself. Make no mistake, I am not underestimating the capstone project. I am eagerly looking forward to it! My individual strengths include a strong sense of loyalty, unwavering integrity, honor in my profession, and respect for those who have more wisdom. I will never stop learning and realize my time and energy spent on pursuing my doctorate is not for personal gain, rather it is for every child and educator I serve. Additionally, I believe God has shown a path I must follow and learn more about Him and how to best live my life.

My individual weaknesses include my candidness, relentless pursuit for my work, and denying adequate rest when I need it most. As I learn more about myself and what God has planned for my life, I try to live everyday with grace, kindness, and patience. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses; however, our relationship with God will help us become more than we are through scripture and His provided opportunities. I am excited to complete the capstone project and cannot wait to meet my professors on stage in May!


Hoffman, D.M. 2017. Reflecting on social emotional learning. A critical perspective on trends in the united states. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 533-556.

Student 2 Response

Staring a doctoral program was not a difficult decision for me, although I delayed it as long as possible by getting multiple master’s degrees and an education specialist degree. Looking back reflectively, I clearly pursued those multiple graduate degrees out of a fear that I was unprepared for doctoral level coursework. The work itself was never a concern, only the level of academic ability I feared I did not possess. Upon completion of my education specialist degree, I could perform at high academic levels, although there remained considerable trepidation regarding doctoral work.

My capstone topic is one I am extremely familiar with and I consider myself an emerging scholar in the field. I have been researching the concept of military student’s barriers to academic persistence and success for more than a decade, while working in the field of military education for 12 years and attending as a military-connected student for 20 years. While my confidence in my knowledge of the topic has grown over the years, my confidence in my ability to convert it into a viable capstone project coming into this class was very low. I feel the topic would lend itself more easily to a qualitative dissertation such as phenomenological research into the concept of military barriers to persistence or an ethnographic study of this population. A capstone project, however, gives me the opportunity to provide potential solutions to this understudied, at risk population. Solving problems for military learners has been my passion and this course has prepared me to do so as I have grown as both a scholar and problem solver during these eight weeks.

I am beginning to embrace what Sletto, et al. (2020) refer to as writing for knowledge production. I am increasingly proud that I am developing the ability to inform both my colleagues and my scholarly community through my academic writing as I uncover new knowledge and share insights from my scholarly peers. While writing for potential knowledge production, I can’t help wondering if I am growing academically in the ways most valued by social constructivists as well. Developing my own scholarly identity and contributing to, if not developing my scholarly community, as described by social constructivists (Sletto, et al., 2020) is perhaps as valuable an outcome as creating new, subject-specific knowledge. Among my greatest weaknesses so far has been lacking both a significant professional and scholarly identity.

My weaknesses, specifically, that leave me feeling somewhat unprepared as I begin my capstone project include an inferior understanding of APA formatting generally, and a familiarity with the version seven manual and rules specifically. Mitigation strategies include working closely with my assigned mentor to clear up misunderstandings, especially in the reference section, and a complete reading of the new manual. Additionally, I feel I have a weakness in relevant article research and database manipulation. Over the years I have uncovered many peer-reviewed articles on my chosen topic, but only after extremes in the amount and diversity of research and time on task. A specific strategy I plan to employ to overcome this weakness is seeking tutoring through the university’s online writing center, while also taking the two month break between semesters to learn through doing as I seek to augment my references for my literature review.

My strengths include a dedication and precision focus learned through military discipline and experience and advanced organizational skills. My premiere developed organizational skill is time management. I have been lucky enough to have become quite skilled at planning workloads, study, and writing schedules while ensuring enough time is allotted for rest and family responsibilities. This experienced approach to the work-school-family triad has enabled me to complete my complex doctoral studies while actually enjoying the experience. My growth during this course, as a scholar, coupled with my organizational abilities gives me hope that this capstone project is accomplishable. Detailed instructor feedback, specifically, has contributed to my scholarly growth as I have gained the ability to see where I am getting off track and how to rework problems in my academic writing. I feel I am now prepared for the first capstone course and final project completion.


Sletto, B., Stiphany, K., Winslow, J. F., Roberts, A., Torrado, M., Reyes, A., Reyes, A., Yunda,J., Wirsching, C., Choi, K., & Tajchman, K. (2020). Demystifying academic writing in the doctoral program: Writing workshops, peer reviews, and scholarly identities. Planning Practice & Research35(3), 349-362. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1080/02697459.2020.1748331

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