Higher & Doctoral Education


I have created and taught numerous multimedia-rich graduate and doctoral courses in the areas of research, higher education, and instructional design and technology.  Below are some multimedia artifacts, online course sites, and example syllabi from those courses :

Relevant Courses Taught & Designed (Selected):

  • EDUC 980 Dissertation Prospectus Development, Quantitative (Online)
  • EDUC 919 Advanced Professional Writing and Research (Blended)
  • EDUC 915 Advanced Quantitative Analysis and Design (Blended)
  • EDUC 712 Advanced Statistics (Online)
  • EDUC 730 Technology Practices for Instructional Improvement (Blended)
  • EDUC 758 Teaching the College Student (Online)
  • EDUC 849 College & University Administration (Online)

. McKeachie (2011, p. 270) cites my use of web-based tools, such as wikis and Twitter, in the classroom as exemplary. For innovative technology integration in doctoral courses, I was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Please see my Teaching Evaluations page for students’ evaluations of my teaching.

Please see my curriculum vitae for additional course.


From 2009–2014, I served as the Chair of Doctoral Research Programs for an online doctorate of education program with second generation characteristics (See Perry, 2012).

Within this position, I

  • Developed and implemented processes, policies, and resources to improve student success and persistence.
  • Recruited and provided leadership to online and residential doctoral faculty.
  • Provided online, media rich professional development to faculty.
  • Provided quantitative research methodology and analysis consultation.
  • Developed  and evaluated curriculum.
  • Collaborated with faculty and other administrators to modify curriculum, as needed.
  • Conducted continual program evaluation and writing subsequent reports for administration and accreditation.
  • Served as a liaison between university departments, such as the Institutional Review Board and the Graduate Senate, and the EdD program.
  • Conceptualized and collaboratively built high quality, innovative programs and systems, including a technological solution to enable more effective online mentorship through a portal with easy-to-use features such as file sharing, discussions, calendar sharing, task assignment, collaborative editing, and video-conferencing.
    This innovative system was recognized by Microsoft and was featured as a case study, and I was honored with one of nine 2013 Campus Technology Innovators awards for my innovative approach to supporting online students. My research demonstrated that student connectedness with faculty increased by 9% after one semester of use.

From 2015–2016, I extended my leadership role beyond the School of Education. I took a one-year position in a Provost Office, directing a multidisciplinary, university-wide accreditation initiative focused on improving residential and online student learning through engagement in innovative, applied research.

As part of this position, I

  • Began establishing a center for student research that provided equivalent services to residential and online students
  • Developed a 21st century researcher-practitioner-steward training framework to guide curriculum redesign.
  • As technology has changed the way knowledge is created, published, and disseminated, I developed a plan to connect departments across the university and programs to assist faculty in using Adobe Creative Cloud tools to innovate their research curriculum.
  • Wrote a portion of the accreditation report for SACS-COC.

Research & Scholarship

I have:

  • Authored and co-authored more than two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Presented and co-presented over 20 professional presentations on issues related to higher education, including technology integration and doctoral persistence.

Read more about my research in my Research Statement.

Selected, Relevant Publications

Books and Book Chapters

Featured Book Available on Amazon.com

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. & Spaulding, L.S. (Eds.) (2014). Navigating the doctoral journey: A handbook of strategies for success. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

**This book received the 2015 Finalist, AERA SIG 168 Outstanding Publication Award for its contribution to the knowledge base of doctoral education practices and policies.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. & Spaulding, L. S. (2015). The intersecting identities of female Ed.D. Students and their journey to persistence. In Stead, V. (Ed.), The Education Doctorate (Ed.D.): Issues of Access, Diversity, Social Justice, and Community Leadership. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J., Spaulding, L. S., & Swezey, J. A. (2014). Right sizing your research method. In Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. & Spaulding, L.S. (Eds.). Navigating the doctoral journey: A handbook of strategies for success. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Selected Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J., Spaulding, L. S., & Spaulding, M. T. (2016). Integration and institutional factors that predict online, doctoral persistence. Internet and Higher Education, 31,101-112. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2016.07.003

*Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J., Spaulding, L.S., Swezey, J.A., & Wicks, C. (2014). Poverty and persistence: A model for understanding individuals’ pursuit and persistence in a doctor of education program. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 9, 181-190. Retrieved from http://ijds.org/Volume9/IJDSv9p181-203Rockinson0606.pdf

*Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J., Bray, O. & Spaulding, L.S. (2014). Examining the predictive validity of GRE scores on doctoral education students’ success and methodology choices in the dissertation process. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 16(3).

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2012). Investigating uses and perceptions of online collaborative workspaces for the dissertation process. Research in Learning Technology, 20(3), 267-282.  Retrieved from http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/18192/html

Spaulding, L.S. & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J. (2012). Hearing their voices: Factors doctoral candidates attribute to their persistence.  International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 7, 199-219. Retrieved from http://ijds.org/Volume7/IJDSv7p199-219Spaulding334.pdf

Selected Peer-Reviewed Presented Papers & Presentations

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J., Spaulding, L.S. & Sosin, L. (2017). The salience of family in promoting women’s doctoral persistence in limited residence programs.  American Educational Research Association.

Seidel, K, Pijanowski, J.C., Reardon, M., Rockinson-Szapkiw, A.J., Schramm, S., & Horowitz, R. (2015). Innovative research and doctoral education panel. American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. (Invited)

*Rockinson-Szapkiw, A., Spaulding, L.S., Swezey, J.A., & Wick, C. (2013). Poverty and Persistence: Explaining How Doctoral Candidates from Backgrounds of Poverty Persist Through to Completion.American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, California

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2013). Facilitating quality research and doctoral persistence: Using collaborative workspaces for the dissertation process. Campus Technology 2013, Boston, MA.

Please see my curriculum vitae for additional publications and presentations.

Asterisks (*) next to presentations and publications on my curriculum vitae and above indicate my collaboration with students  and demonstrate my strong interest and skill in mentoring/ supervising and collaborating with students on research.


Student Mentorship

During my tenure at my current university of employment, I have seen doctoral candidates’ dreams of earning terminal degrees come to fruition. I have served as a chair for over 20 doctoral candidates’ dissertations.

While under my mentorship and upon my recommendation, these students have

  • Won scholarships and awards such as Robert J. Stevenson Scholarship by the Leadership Foundation of the Association of Teacher Educators
  • Best Presentation for Council for Exceptional Children
  • The Exceptional Educator of the Year

Over 20 of them have published their dissertation research or related research under her guidance. Many of these students, after finishing their degrees, have secured jobs as university faculty, CEOs of educational companies, superintendents, and principals.

I have also invited over a dozen doctoral candidates to co-author research articles. Asterisks (*) next to presentations and publications on my curriculum vitae indicate my collaboration with students.

Faculty Mentorship & Development

In addition to mentoring candidates in the online environment, I provide leadership to online and residential faculty who serve as dissertation chairs and committee members. Here again I have leveraged technology and developed web-based systems to support this endeavor.

As doctoral programs move online, faculty are no longer afforded the opportunity to sit in a local restaurant to dialogue with candidates. Thus, faculty members are challenged to develop a new model of mentorship and leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) to mentor students.  I, thus, created and implemented  a professional development series, based on the theory of androgogy (Knowles, 1980) and effective technology integration (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007) , for mentoring doctoral students using technology.

Faculty testimonials:

“The structure and tools that have been created will greatly benefit me in helping the students in finishing their dissertations” (Brian, Faculty, e-mail)

“I was impressed with your organization of the dissertation process at LU. I completed my degree at the University which had a large College of Education (135 residential professors) and feel that the use of SharePoint to communicate and collaborate among the committee members and student is a much better system than the one I was subjected to. I’m looking forward to working with you in the future and appreciate the training and support provided to faculty” (Nathan, Faculty, email).

Please see my curriculum vitae for additional evidence of scholarly activity at the university, community, and professional levels, including participation in professional organizations.