The Doctorate of Education in Leadership, Innovation, and Continuous Improvement (LICI) is an online program. However, one of the first experiences students have is an in-person residency. Our Wisconsin program hosts two residences on our Mequon campus. The first takes place in January, partially online. The second is a full, in-person residency in the month of July during the second year. Alternatively, our New York program has one in-person residency in February.

Importance of residencies

So, what is the rationale behind an in-person residency for an online program?

Time together in person provides an opportunity for students and faculty to learn about one another and have rich discussions. We build relationships as a foundation for students to know they have support from the start of their doctoral program. We strive to build trust between students and professors. This creates a supportive network of people that students can rely on when they need help.

Additionally, it provides time for talking through the program, research, and topics related to the courses. While we continue these conversations online, starting with face-to-face conversations helps to solidify the relationships for years to come.   

Connecting through faith

Residency is a chance for adult students to connect or reconnect with their faith. One of the most beautiful experiences I had with faith happened this year at our New York residency. Each day of residency, I always ask students if anyone would like to lead us in prayer.

In New York, I asked someone to lead the prayer on the first day of residency. After that, students asked me if they could lead the prayer on the subsequent days. I was moved by the student’s enthusiasm for leading prayer that week.

Unexpectedly, on the last day, the prayer was conveyed through a song. The powerful time together as a group, glorifying God, was a perfect ending to our residency.

Time together is worth it

The LICI team understands that, as adults, it can be hard to find time amid work and family commitments for residency. Nevertheless, the time spent with cohort members and professors is invaluable.

One student confided in me. She had been trying to find excuses not to attend a residency as the planning seemed too much. She eventually understood that it was a requirement of the program. Despite the obstacles that blocked her path, she persisted.

While she came to the residency looking at it as a requirement, she quickly changed her perspective. She realized the importance of her residency. On the second day, she told me she had already gained something from the experience that made it all worthwhile.

LICI students return for a second residency in the second year of the program. This time together is a joyous opportunity to reunite, share research topics and progress, and catch up with one another.

Our students come back together with new perspectives and insights to share and with renewed determination. They are excited to see the friends they have connected with and want to nurture their relationships with their professors, too. They have built these relationships throughout the program.

Residency is a time of preparing for the doctoral journey in mind, body, and spirit. Relationships formed during the doctoral program are often enduring. They provide strength and a sense of community throughout the program and beyond. Graduates benefit from these relationships even after they graduate.

If you’re thinking about starting a doctorate program, check out Concordia’s Doctorate of Education below.