Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Hamann, E.T., & Wunder, S. "Using a Cohort Approach To Convert EdD Students into Critical Friends," in: Redesigning Professional Education Doctorates: Applications of Critical Friendship Theory to the EdD, edited by Valerie A. Storey. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. (pp. 161-176).


Copyright © 2013 Valerie A. Storey.


Exploring the role of critical collegiality and a cohort approach to doctoral education, this chapter considers the higher education design issues that have supported education doctorate candidates' pursuit of learning and degrees buoyed by the support—emotional, logistic, and content-based—of their graduate student colleagues.

A steadfast but not previously examined feature of our department’s six-year (and counting) experience with a Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate (CPED)-influenced Doctor of Education (EdD) program is the successful implementation of a cohort model and, in turn, the utilization of practitioners’ sense of belonging and familiarity to become each other’s Critical Friends. Looking across the experiences of three cohorts of University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) CPED students—a first cohort that graduated eight EdDs, a second cohort with twelve students who attained candidacy just three months before this writing, and a new cohort of ten students also composed largely of educators who have not known each other prior to enrolling in CPED—this chapter considers the action steps pursued and the formative evaluative processes that compel minor redirections of course that have helped convert a collection of advanced graduate students into enduring Critical Friends Groups (CFGs). Data include program design elements, including syllabi, but the main sources of information are the accounts of the practicing professionals who have completed their EdD journey as members of our first cohort.