The appropriate outcome of doctoral education is seen to be the development of refined, sustainable habits of scholarship and professional leadership. Participants are expected to enter fully into the community of scholarship: giving and receiving ideas, information, sources and materials; entering fully into seminar discussions; and participating constructively in open hearings—their own and their colleagues’ oral comprehensive examination, presentation of the research proposal, and dissertation defense.
Written work at the doctoral level has moved well beyond typical term paper preparation. Participants are expected to read and research with a view to making a contribution to the literature of the field and to ongoing discourse— with doctoral colleagues and other academic professionals. Much that is written in the program should be considered as potentially publishable. Participants are expected to use the network of seminary and university libraries in the Chicago area and to engage the members of this international community in discussion about research and writing projects. In this way, the program provides opportunities for participants to broaden their perspectives beyond their own traditions and cultures.
The dissertation research design that undergirds the PhD/EDS program presumes that a substantial base of descriptive research is necessary to generate hypotheses that will ultimately be explored through experimental studies. It is our perspective that experimental research conducted without a substantial base in description and inquiry is impoverished. Participants in the TEDS PhD/EDS program generate a substantial body of dissertations, most of which have been descriptive or theological/historical in format. We will continue to encourage descriptive research as the primary mode of inquiry, but with appropriate guidance experimental studies could be built on these emerging categories of research findings.
The preferred learning environment is one that fosters a community in which all participants, students and faculty alike, are engaged in further development. It is also inherent in the program’s philosophy of cooperative learning that healthy interpersonal relationships enhance the academic endeavor. Therefore, faculty and participants, along with family and friends, are invited to take advantage of scheduled and spontaneous opportunities for social fellowship.