Seeking leadership positions in TESOL as professors, researchers, curriculum developers?

New doctoral cohorts at Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) are being formed in Tokyo and Osaka, to begin this fall. TUJ is the only university in Japan where students can earn American graduate degrees in TESOL without leaving the country.

The doctoral program prepares students to identify significant TESOL-related issues, put them in context, and apply appropriate research techniques to seek solutions.

Lance Burrows, who works at Kinki University, will graduate from Temple’s doctoral program in May 2012.

1)    What motivated you to join the doctoral cohort?

My motivation for starting the doctoral program was two-fold. I had enjoyed the classes I had taken in the master’s program, and I knew that furthering my education could give me an edge in my pursuit of a full-time position at a university.

I chose TUJ over doing a distance-learning course or returning to the U.S. to do my doctorate. I wanted to pursue a doctorate but my Japanese language ability was not good enough to study at a Japanese university, and I did not want to leave Japan. And I was very satisfied with the master’s program at Temple. The professors were professional, knowledgeable, and dedicated. Also, I was able to take evening classes at TUJ while continuing my job at a high school during the day. In fact, most of the doctoral courses were taught on Fridays and Saturdays, so they did not interfere with my work. I also appreciated the weekend seminars. Three times each semester some of the biggest names in the field lecture at TUJ, so I was able to learn from famous scholars at these seminars.

2)    What challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?

There were so many challenges, some of them personal. The biggest challenge for any doctoral candidate is overcoming the tendency to see the dissertation as a monumental, almost impossible task. It does entail a long and arduous process, but if you cannot look at the dissertation as a series of smaller, achievable tasks, chances are you will not finish it. Other obstacles that most candidates need to overcome are the fear of failure and the desire for perfection. The program moves very quickly and sometimes it is necessary to just meet the requirements and proceed on to the next assignment or class.

    Another challenge was paying for my education. It was difficult to work while studying. TUJ helps ease the financial burden by allowing students to pay half the tuition at the beginning of the semester and the other half later. Also, payment by credit card is accepted.


3)    How do you envision your doctoral degree and your experience at TUJ helping your future career?

Besides learning a lot at TUJ, I also became stronger. I have a stronger sense of self-efficacy and feel empowered as a teacher and administrator in my current position. And no matter what I am asked to do in future positions, I know I have the strength and professional knowledge to succeed.

4)    Tell us your dreams and aspirations.

Since submitting my dissertation, I have been dreaming about relaxing. But I am also considering other possibilities. I feel I have something to offer now. I would like to continue my research and inform teachers, researchers and administrators about the benefits of self-efficacy. If I stop doing research, it would be a waste of my education. So I aspire to conduct quality research that can push the knowledge base of the SLA field. I would also like to do my part to foster a stronger research tradition in Japan.

Admission applications for new doctoral candidates must be submitted by June 4, 2012. Final selections will be announced July 6. Classes begin September 7, 2012. For additional information please visit the TUJ TESOL website.

Author of this article

Temple University Japan Campus

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