Testimonials Gina M. Pizziconi-Cupples, Ph.D. United States Air Force Legislative Fellow, 2016 Congressional Research Service While serving as a logistics squadron commander in the United States Air Force Reserve one fundamental question plagued my spirit: have my decisions in leadership roles been effective and fair...and I am prepared to lead and shape policy for rapidly changing environments in the future? The Ph.D. program in leadership and policy at Niagara University allowed for a deliberate and distinct opportunity to reflect on this question, for which I am extraordinarily grateful. This interdisciplinary, cohort-based experience provided me the opportunity to explore the advantages and pitfalls related to policy generation. Furthermore and equally important, this program challenges cohort members to consider personal leadership qualities and style in addition to understanding what adjustments are needed to better prepare for future leadership roles. Though unaware how timely these studies would become; 18 months into the Ph.D. program I was selected for the Air Force Legislative Fellowship, which placed me at the heart of leadership and policy considerations....an assignment on Capitol Hill. The prospect of jumping into the policy arena has enhanced my personal leadership philosophy as well as allowed for an incredible occasion to learn from exceptionally diverse groups dedicating their lives toward informing federal legislative actions. I feel prepared, energized and fortunate to apply the knowledge gained through Niagara’s Ph.D. program. Moreover, I will contribute to academic and policy communities alike through conducting relevant research that enriches bodies of knowledge germane to defense and leadership. David A. Veres, Ph.D. Associate Vice-President, 2016 Academic and Learner Services at Niagara College Enriching lives and fulfilling dreams” is the vision for Niagara College. Over the past 20 years, I have contributed to this vision as a faculty member, academic chair, dean, and most recently as an associate vice-president. In recent years I recognized that the development of passionate, engaged, and effective leadership would be essential for the continued success of our college, and most importantly our students. In deciding how best to serve the students I cared about and the institution I was dedicated to, I looked to the Ph.D. program at Niagara University. This program, through its cohort model created the type of community of learners that allowed me to grow and develop as a leader. The faculty team in the program both challenged and supported me, as I made this journey. The Niagara University Ph.D. program in Leadership and Policy provides this unique blend of embracing individual passions and interest, with a foundational philosophy that is grounded in Vincentian values. The inter-disciplinary nature of the program participants creates an environment in which leadership styles and approaches, as well policy development and implementation can be viewed and examined from a variety of perspectives. The individuals in my cohorts, as well as the faculty in the program were there to constantly challenge and support me as I explored my interests. The concentrated nature of this program for working professionals requires a high degree of commitment and dedication. Throughout my three years in the program, I faced a number personal and professional challenges. Throughout it all, my colleagues, the faculty, and the institution were there to provide support and understanding. It was this sense of community that ultimately made me successful. The program allowed me to pursue my passion for leadership, and my dissertation is not only something that I am immensely proud of, but is one that I believe will make a contribution to academic leaders elsewhere. It was my involvement in the program that lead to my most recent position as Associate Vice-president of Academic and Learner Services, and my research work has afforded me the opportunity to impact and influence policy decisions at both a local and provincial level. Jeffrey R. Rabey, Ph.D. Superintendent, 2014 Schools for the Depew Union Free School District After working in the education field for nearly 20 years, I felt the need to continue my own education and find a quality doctoral program that would elevate my professional skill set and allow me to become a stronger leader. After conducting a great deal of research, in order to identify the program that best suited my needs, I decided upon Niagara University. The program is structured in a manner in which I knew that I could flourish. The classes were not online and not held during the week; that structure would have interfered with so many other work obligations. Furthermore, it is a cohort-based program, so as to build a team environment to facilitate the pursuit of a terminal degree within an expedited three-year period of time. Once in the program, I couldn't have been happier. From the individual instructors, to the design of each course and the ways in which the process of writing the dissertation was scaffolded throughout the three years. This design helped to ensure a high rate of completed high-level dissertations. From the very beginning, I had an idea of what I wanted to research and was allowed the freedom to do so. I didn't have to conform to an adviser's idea of what I should be researching and writing about, rather, I was able to pursue my own desires for inquiry. Through this three-year experience, I learned the invaluable research skills and developed the ability to write meaningfully about my findings. If it weren’t for the doctoral program at Niagara University, I would not have the enhanced skill set to have become a published researcher and writer for various publications. In the end, I have indeed advanced my leadership skills and my understanding of the value of creating and implementing effective policies. These outcomes have ultimately benefited me professionally and the school-community for which I work. I will continue to highly recommend the program. Dr. Kathleen Wong, Ph.D. High School Vice Principal, 2014 Toronto Catholic District School Board Upon realizing my calling to become an educator, I resigned from my job in the business world and obtained my bachelor of education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in Canada. I have taught 18 different courses as a high school teacher prior to completing the Master of Science in Educational Administration and Supervision degree program at Niagara University. Currently serving as a high school vice principal at the Toronto Catholic District School Board, I attribute my preparedness for the role to the stimulating learning opportunities and experiences I was exposed to at Niagara University. In fact, I enjoyed my experience at Niagara University so much that I went on to pursue my Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy at Niagara University as well. Prior to becoming an educator, I have had three academic computer technology papers published and have also presented at several international and local conferences. As an academic in the field of education, I have an article based on my Ph.D. research published in an education journal and presented at international conferences. Most recently, I was the recipient of the 2016 R.W.B. Jackson Award presented by the Canadian Educational Researchers’ Association (CERA) given for the most outstanding English-language article in each volume of the Canadian Journal of Education. The opportunity to contribute to the education field via research and publications is a direct result of my educational experiences at Niagara University. I feel empowered by the researching skills and knowledge gained through the Ph. D. program and plan to contribute further to the education community through continual action research and publications.