Lynne MacFadgen

"She also credits the program for helping her to refine her personal vision and expand her horizons – she describes being 'transformed both personally and professionally' by her EdD experience."

Year Graduated: 2007
Educational Leadership EdD

Thesis: Mature Students In The Persistence Puzzle: An Exploration Of The Factors That Contribute To Adult Learners’ Quality Of Life And Retention In Post-Secondary Education.

Fears and apprehensions of an adult learner returning to schools after twenty years are now something of the past. Lynne graduated with her EdD in Educational Leadership in 2007; completing her studies in exactly three years. She attributes this fast pace completion to a grant from the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) that she was able to apply for and secure independently because she was enrolled in the EdD program. With this grant, Lynne took one year away from work to conduct research and concentrate on an in-depth investigation into mature students’ persistence in post-secondary education.

When Lynne first joined the program, she was a Student Recruitment and Retention Services Coordinator at Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University). Enrolled in the Vancouver Cohort in 2004, Lynne remembers some of the challenges she had to overcome to be part of the program. One such challenge was living on Vancouver Island and having to cross the Georgian Strait to Vancouver one weekend/month for two years to attend classes. This also meant being away from her school-aged children on an ongoing basis.

Despite the challenges, Lynne is glad she chose this EdD program because of its practical focus on educational leadership policies and practices in a diverse range of post-secondary settings. Additionally, the CCL Research Grant presented Lynne with opportunities to share her research findings with adult educators, researchers, and community practitioners across Canada – she says that the EdD program provided the strong platform and launch for this knowledge exchange activity.

Among the other things that she takes away from the program is the strong circle of friends and colleagues that were established during her studies. Lynne says that the cohort model provided built-in opportunities for ongoing support and stimulation. Lynne points out that the learning community format enriched her learning experience at SFU. She also credits the program for helping her to refine her personal vision and expand her horizons – she describes being “transformed both personally and professionally” by her EdD experience.

Lynne is quick to acknowledge the administrative support and encouragement she received in the program. She specifically acknowledges Geoff Madoc-Jones, the Program Coordinator, who challenged the cohort “to rise to the occasion” on a regular basis and who consistently provided that level of support to her as her dissertation supervisor.

Lynne continues to apply what she’s learned in her position at Vancouver Island University. In the Fall of 2008, she taught a leadership course in the Women’s Studies Department (Young Women in Leadership) and conducted some consultative research in the field of adult literacy. As she reflects on her past three years earning her doctorate degree, Lynne says that she has come full circle – from entering her first summer session in July 2004 to successfully defending her dissertation in December 2007 – and she is gratified that she is now in a much stronger position to integrate her teaching, educational leadership, and applied research skills and work experiences at the university.