Peter E Zirogiannis

Doctoral Program


As the program Chair for the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences at a local community college, I am charged with the responsibility of improving the college’s remedial program. Nearly 60% of the incoming freshman students are required to take at least one remedial class in their first year, and many are considered to be “triple remedial” (writing, reading and arithmetic). Placement into such classes is based on the student’s results on the Accuplacer exam, a nationally normed college entrance exam. Students who score below a previously determined cut off score in any one of the three tested areas are placed into a remedial class. The cutoff score reflects a minimum level of competency in a particular skill or ability. Students scoring above the threshold are placed into English 101 and/or Math 101. The college recognizes that its’ retention of incoming freshmen, particularly of those placed in one or more remedial courses, depends upon the students’ success in these classes. Students who fail one or more remedial classes in their freshmen year are more likely to withdraw from the college than students who successfully pass and go into a 101 section in their second semester. 
Students may leave because they become frustrated with their lack of progress or do not wish to accept that they are in need of remediation to begin with. Because the college has carved such a specific niche in dealing with remedial students it is imperative that the program be structured to offer the maximum benefit to the students. One of the realizations that I made when I took over the role of Department Chair is that no one has taken any time to really assess the effectiveness of the existing program. I could not find any data analyzing and comparing student success in college level courses with and without remediation. No one was able to convince me that the material on the Accuplacer (test used as the in test and exit test) was adequately covered in the remedial curriculum. I was unclear whether or not the remedial courses prepared students to be successful in 101 courses and beyond, or did the curriculum just prepare them to pass an exit exam? As you can see, I had many questions but not many answers. As a result I took the initiative to examine every aspect of the remedial program, including: assessment measures, retention measures, textbooks, curriculum, Accuplacer scores, etc.


The program I have been accepted into is the Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. The program concentrates on bringing interdisciplinary perspectives to broad topics in education and is unlike any other Ed.D. program in the metropolitan area. Some examples of the types of interdisciplinary topics that will be woven through the doctoral curriculum include: viewing child-centered education through the lenses of developmental psychology, adolescent psychology, educational psychology, special education, reading, gifted children, etc. The program serves qualified practicing educators who wish to enhance their research, pedagogical and leadership skills, while engaging in a process of school change affecting public schools, independent Pre-K to 16 schools, and other organizations involved in Pre-K to 16 education.
Each incoming class will enter the doctoral program as a cohort. Each cohort will progress as a group for the first 24 credits and after the completion of all core course requirements, students will separate in order to pursue their specialty area, either the Teaching and Learning Concentration or Educational Leadership Concentration. Students must complete a minimum of 51 credits beyond the master’s degree and it is expected that because students will progress through the program in a cohort model, the program should be completed in about 4 years (classes run Fall, Spring and Summer). In the first year- Fall= 6 credits/ Spring= 6 credits/ Summer= 6 credits; 2nd year- Fall= 6 credits/ Spring= 6 credits/ Summer= 6 credits (2nd semester of 2nd year- Doctoral Dissertation begins- draft of 1st 2 chapters by June); 3rd year- Fall= 6/ Spring= 3 / Summer= 0; 4th year- Fall= 3/ Spring = 3 (51 credits). It is anticipated that by the Fall of the 3rd year the student should have completed 3 of 5 chapters for the Dissertation.
The opportunity to work as the Department Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences has opened up many new and exciting doors to me. I am extremely motivated to be the best Chairperson that I can be, and to bring great value to the position. The job demands not only someone who can handle the administrative responsibilities, but also a critical thinker who has the foresight and the training to help the institution reach new heights. I am committed to being the person who achieves this goal, but further education is a must if I am going to be successful. Briarcliffe College is on the cusp of achieving great things and has long–term plans for growth. The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) will better prepare me to think across paradigms, and gain broader and deeper perspectives regarding key issues. My training will enable me to apply different approaches to critical questions in education and contribute to reform-minded efforts in a critical and meaningful way.