TAMIU Ph.D. Provides Educators New Access

TAMIU Ph.D. Provides Educators New Access


After receiving three masters degrees from Texas A&M International University, Jesus Amezcua decided his next degree would be a doctorate. But as Chief Financial Officer for Laredo Independent School District, getting away to pursue a Ph.D. was not going to be easy.

Fortunately, a collaborative venture between TAMIU and Texas A&M University brought the program to Laredo.

"This is the first opportunity that a group of highly talented educators have access to a doctoral degree. When they finish, they will have a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University, but they will have taken the majority of their classes here," explained Dr. Humberto Gonzalez, dean of the TAMIU College of Education.

Currently, the first cohort consists of 12 practicing administrators from Laredo, United, and Mirando City independent school districts. (photo)

"It helps that it is a small cohort. We are able to motivate and help out one another," said Amezcua.

"Being able to take the classes here at TAMIU makes a tremendous difference. Instead of having to work on the degree a little at a time and spending my summers over there [College Station], I get to stay here and finish my coursework in three years. It was a big determinant for me to continue my education," expressed fellow cohort member David Canales, United High School Engineering and Technology Magnet director.

"To fulfill their A&M residency requirement, the students will have to take nine hours this Spring and at least nine hours this summer at College Station," stated Dr. Gonzalez, "After two and a half or three years, they'll work on their dissertation and expect to finish in about four and a half or five years."

"It really helps that I can take the classes here, whether it's distance learning or online. It's a good time for me to continue while I'm still young enough, even though at times I feel like I'm not. But when some of us in the group ask, 'What am I doing here?' we support each other," said Canales.

As part of the program, students will also receive a superintendent certificate.

Canales is one the two students in the group who already has a superintendent certificate.

"I already have a superintendent certificate, but because the professors and the University really want this to work, they've grandfathered those classes I took [towards the superintendent certificate] so I won't have to take them again," he noted.

Dr. Gonzalez said the next cohort is expected to start in Fall 2006. The College of Education at TAMIU could start offering this degree as a TAMIU degree by 2008. The University is in the process of filing an application to The A&M System Board of Regents and the Higher Education Coordinating Board to be able to do that.

"Instead of it saying Texas A&M University, it will say Texas A&M International University," said Dr. Gonzalez.

Amezcua said he appreciates the opportunity the program brings to the cohort members and the commitment they bring to it.

"There's a commitment to the program. It's not easy. I've had to give up a lot of time and things to pursue the program. But it's a great opportunity for all of us to improve our careers and be educated in a program we've waited for a long time. I'm thrilled I'm in the program. We made a commitment to stick together, help each other and finish on time," he said.

Other collaborative Ph.D. programs offered in conjunction with the A&M System campuses include Curriculum and Instruction, English and Hispanic Studies.

For more information please contact Dr. Gonzalez, at 326-2420, e-mail hgonzalez@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library room 329.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu