My preliminary exams for my Ph.D. in Gerontology were focused on four areas: Foundations, research, leadership, and applications. Across these four pillars, I demonstrated the knowledge and skills gained throughout my graduate career in the fields of gerontology and my minor, educational technology.
You are able to accurately capture and reflect on current thinking related to your interests. You join the professional discussion, providing your own perspective on issues and questions. You are able to analyze, re-interpret, and synthesize issues, and frame problems in promising ways. You demonstrate an ability to understand the use of research and scholarship from a wide range of traditions.
Area 1 | Foundations
With this pillar, to demonstrate the Foundations competency, I conducted a literature review seeking to answer:
What is the current state of literature surrounding motivation and how it impacts loneliness*?
Is there a specific aspect of motivation (autonomy, connectedness, etc.) that impacts loneliness* more or less than others?
Does motivation and its relationship with loneliness* look different across the lifespan and if so, how?
*=All loneliness refers to social and emotional loneliness
You are able to map out a line of inquiry and begin scholarly work accordingly. This requires a mastery of appropriate research, evaluation, and/or development methods, and a good sense of matching up appropriate methods and tools to your interests.
Area 2 | Research
To demonstrate my Research pillar competency, I conducted a survey and in-depth interviews with older adults (55+) seeking to understand the relationship between motivation and loneliness in their lives with this guiding question:
>>What is the relationship between motivation, specifically the psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence, and social and emotional loneliness in older adults older than the age of 55?
Through various service and professional activities, you will demonstrate skills and commitment to a leadership role in your area of interest. This may be done through teaching, collaborative projects, innovative research, publications, and roles in which you provide leadership, mentoring, and guidance to colleagues.
Area 3 | Leadership
For my Leadership competency, I developed a leadership statement to add to my portfolio, alongside my
teaching and research statements.
You demonstrate mastery of a range of educational technologies.
Area 4 | Applications
For Applications, I developed this website to house some of the work that I have developed as a doctoral student, in addition to visual graphics showing the different educational technologies I have engaged with during my program.