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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) will make Titan history at midyear commencement on Saturday, Dec. 16, as seven Wisconsin-based educational administrators earn doctorates in educational leadership and policy with superintendent licensure (Ed.D.).

The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. at Kolf Sports Center, 738 High Ave., on the UW Oshkosh campus. The ceremony will last about two hours.

The Ed.D. graduates are among more than 1,200 others who have completed the requirements to graduate from UW Oshkosh. Of those, nearly 1,000 will graduate with a bachelor’s degree and more than 240 with a Graduate Studies degree–both, a meaningful milestone as graduates leave UW Oshkosh and head out into the world where they will join 90,000 other UW Oshkosh alumni.

Two of the Ed.D. candidates went through the program together as husband and wife. Tammy Nyen is the associate superintendent of Marquette-Alger Regional Education Service Agency, and Greg Nyen serves as district administrator for Waupaca schools. The educators found value in the responsive nature of the COEHS faculty. “It’s the personalized stamp,” Tammy Nyen said. “To have a campus that is intimate—I think that’s really powerful.”

The doctoral candidates view the UW Oshkosh faculty as knowledgeable, accommodating and professional. The Ed.D. program’s faculty advisers were able to guide, support and challenge the doctoral candidates during their time in the program.

In addition to the bonds formed between the students and faculty, personal and professional connections developed within the cohort itself. “When you find so many like-minded, student-centered people, it’s very powerful,” Greg Nyen said.

Everyone in the program stayed focused on student achievement. “We’ve all got that educational connection. The opportunity for us to collaborate in our class structure was very great,” he said.

Nyen can speak firsthand to the strength of cohort-based instruction. During the program, he forged a partnership with a classmate, Garth Larson, who serves as Winneconne Community School District’s director of learning.

Larson possesses a very specific skill set related to educational leadership, and Nyen recognized a need for these skills within his own school district. While earning their doctorates at UW Oshkosh, the educators went from classmates to colleagues. Before they even completed the program, Nyen appointed Larson to be part-time director of learning for the School District of Waupaca.

Larson maintains that the Ed.D. program not only benefits individual candidates on a personal level, but also the school districts and the Wisconsin educational system as a whole. “Whenever you have a good program like this—designed to deliver high-quality school administrators—ultimately it’s the students who are going to benefit,” Nyen said.

“My whole motivation was to give back to the greater good,” Tammy Nyen said. “How better to do that than to start with the leadership?”

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy, Superintendency Licensure

The three-year Ed.D. program began in fall 2016 and offers hybrid instruction—meaning approximately half of the coursework is online and half is accomplished in person. The curriculum builds on the Principal Licensure program.

“We designed the program because we don’t have a lot of quality doctoral programs that lead to the superintendency in the state,” said Karen Gibson, Educational Leadership and Policy graduate program coordinator.

Gibson is particularly proud that this first group of candidates is graduating with a 100 percent success rate. She attributes this level of retention to the unparalleled academic support offered by the program’s faculty advisers.


“We’ve already seen incidences of (the cohort) taking what they’ve learned at our program into their field,” said Marguerite Penick-Parks, chair of UWO’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.

The 2018 Ed.D. graduates and their dissertation titles:

  • Matthew Collins; Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 9 – Attitudes of Teachers Toward Evidence-Based Practices.
  • Lisa Hughes; Winneconne Community School District – The Impact of Literacy Coaches’ Roles and Changing Teacher Practice.
  • Garth Larson; Winneconne Community School District – An Evaluation of Standards-Based Grading and Reporting in Wisconsin High Schools.
  • Margaret Larson; Winneconne Community School District – After Act 10: A Wisconsin District Administrator’s Account of Teacher Compensation.
  • Brian Misfeldt; School District of Bloomer – Longevity in the School Superintendency: A Study of Successful Superintendents.
  • Gregory Nyen; School District of Waupaca – School Board-Superintendent Relations and Hiring Internal Versus External Candidates.
  • Tammy Nyen; Marquette-Alger Regional Education Service Agency (MARESA)– Applying for the Superintendency in Wisconsin: A Woman’s Prerogative.

UW Oshkosh is currently reviewing candidates for the Ed.D. class of 2021.

Midyear commencement ceremony details

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt will confer diplomas to the graduating students. State Senator Dan Feyen will offer greetings from the state and Robert Atwell will represent the UW System Board of Regents.

This year’s faculty commencement speaker is Jennifer Considine from the College of Letters and Science. Aaron Sherer, executive director of the Paine Arts Center and Gardens, will accept the Chancellor’s Medallion honor.

Following the formal ceremony, a reception for faculty, and new alumni, their parents and guests will be held in Kolf’s lower level.

Get, stay connected to UW Oshkosh commencement

Before, during and after Pomp and Circumstance plays inside UW Oshkosh’s Kolf Center, the University will provide a live webcast of  the ceremony, which viewers may watch from anywhere around the globe with an internet connection.

Those interested in connecting and participating in all the buzz and conversation surrounding the big day also can use UW Oshkosh’s social networks using the hashtag #uwograd. Follow @uwoshkosh and @uwocommencement on Twitter or find UW Oshkosh on Facebook.

For more information, including maps, directions and checklists, visit the UW Oshkosh Commencement website.