Time Management Tips for New Doctoral Students

Cynthia Hickman, a Walden Alumni Ambassador, will be awarded her Ph.D. in Health Services, in January 2017.  She is our guest blogger for this post.


The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) journey is a gratifying experience that will mold your life and career. You must assume personal accountability to achieve a successful outcome. Commonly asked questions are, “What is the first step in the dissertation or Capstone process?”  “What steps do I take from there?”  Addressing these issues early can support your timely completion of your doctoral degree.

Here are three tips that supported my success in my Ph.D. journey.

1)    You must be proactive.

Controlling your Ph.D. journey begins with personal accountability, information, and the required tools associated with your academic program. As a new scholar-practitioner, you must act in anticipation of future program expectations and needs.

2)    Know the necessary documents for your program.

Every program has required documents, which are tools needed along your doctoral journey to be successful.  I advise you to read these documents early in your program. For Ph.D. programs, click here. For professional doctorates, click here.

At the start of my program, I printed:

  • the writing template,
  • the rubric,
  • the checklist for the research design under consideration,
  • the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application,
  • the Committee Member Nomination Form.

3)    Select Your Committee Early (6-month window). 

If you know your research interest, starting the selection process for committee members is a valuable and proactive step. Your prospectus course positions you to enter the dissertation shell with a firm blueprint for your study. Committee members are excited when scholars take this initiative.  It helps you decide how to develop the chapters that make up your dissertation.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you advance along your doctoral journey!

Written by Cynthia Hickman, Walden University Ambassador, Ph.D. in Health Sciences expected January 2017; M.S. Nursing completed December 2009 

For Writing Center resources and tips, please visit these links:

Doctoral Capstone Kits from the Writing Center

“Top 5 Things to Know Before Writing Your Dissertation“ Blog Post

Navigating Walden: An International Student’s Perspective


Michael Mba is a PhD in Public Policy and Administration student who lives in Nigeria and works as a policy analyst for the Central Bank.  As an international student with a passion for statistics, Michael also tutors Walden students as a Graduate Assistant in the Academic Skills Center.

How did Michael join the Walden community, engage in networking efforts, tap into career resources, and pay it forward by helping others achieve academic success?

When Michael became interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, he began researching online programs in public policy.  When he came across Walden, he requested information and was invited to attend a networking event in Lagos, Nigeria, where he met four current students who shared their experiences. He was impressed with Walden’s PhD in Public Policy and Administration program and decided to enroll.

Michael admitted that, when he first started his program, his main focus was on the rigorous coursework, challenging assignments, and time-sensitive deadlines.  Eventually, he began exploring resources and offerings beyond the classroom.  When he received an invitation to attend an International Networking Hour event, hosted by Career Services as part of the International Student Success Conference, he accepted.  Through this virtual networking event, he connected with other international students, including a Public Policy and Administration student from Ghana with similar interests in networking with fellow students in Africa and beyond.  He also learned about Walden’s Academic Skills Center (ASC) and met ASC staff members who were attending the event.

Chatting with others, Michael uncovered potential opportunities where he could apply his statistical skills. He visited the Career Services Center website and used the CV Guide to enhance and update his CV with current knowledge and experience.  He also explored the Careers at Walden page to research available openings.  When he came across a Graduate Assistant position in Statistics, he applied and was selected for an interview. During the interview, he impressed the interviewers with his extensive knowledge of statistics and use of SPSS, and was offered the position.

As a Graduate Assistant, Michael enjoys the challenge of explaining complex statistical concepts in simple terms.  Michael commented, “My duty is to make statistics look easy.”  So far, he has mentored over 60 students within the last three months from a wide range of programs and backgrounds including health sciences, psychology, management, education, business administration, and public policy and administration.

Michael’s journey from a prospective student researching Walden in Nigeria, to an active online learner exploring Walden’s many resources, to a Graduate Assistant dedicated to mentoring and tutoring others; has helped him “pay it forward” and share his vast statistical knowledge within a global learning community.  Through active engagement, he continues to forge connections and gain new perspectives for his own career success.

Are you seeking new ways to share your knowledge and skills with others?

Watch Social Change Series webinars for ideas on how to leave your mark and make a difference.
Watch Statistics in the Workplace to learn how to apply your statistical knowledge in multiple work settings.

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services


Walden’s Military Services Team Supports Military-Connected Students

VeteransDaythank you.png

In honor of Veterans Day, the Career Services Center sends a “Thank you” to all of Walden’s veteran and military-connected students for their service and our colleagues in Walden’s Military Services Department for the student support that they provide.

Walden’s Military Services team of five is dedicated and committed to supporting 5000 students through the complex process of navigating military educational benefits with all of the requisite forms and processes. When students are called for active military deployment during a term, they offer guidance on steps to manage the intersection of military and academic requirements.

The Director of Walden’s Military Services, Jon Lovald, served for 25 years in the US Army and Army National Guard. During his military career, Jon was initially trained in logistics. As his responsibility for the health, wellness, and training of up to 500 fellow soldiers increased, he was recognized for his communication and leadership skills. This recognition and his interest in the “people” side of organizations led to a transition from logistics to human resources.

When Jon left the military, he made the change to a civilian life by reaching out and connecting with former military colleagues, especially those in a leadership role, for advice. He also attended American Corporate Partners, VFW, and American Legion events, and he used LinkedIn to stay connected, build new connections, and follow organizations.

As Director of Walden’s Military Services, Jon leads a team of experts on military educational benefits and policies. Team members, Ann Tao, Fatima Benkhadda, Molly Kvam, and John Tripp, have in-depth knowledge of the distinct eligibility requirements and application processes of the different GI Bills.  In addition to assisting students directly, they educate and guide Walden staff and faculty on the unique issues and challenges faced by military-connected students.

Jon advises that all military-connected students should be sure to inform Walden of their military connection and visit the Walden Military Services website to learn more about the team and how they can support military-connected learners. For more information, visit the Walden Military Services website.

For information on transitioning from a military to a civilian career, visit the Career Services Center resources for veterans.

A special “Thank you” to Jon Lovald for his service and for sharing his story and information about Walden’s Military Services!

Written by Denise Pranke, Senior Career Services Advisor



The Privilege of Voting for Our Next President


I had the opportunity to vote for our next president this week in early voting in Minnesota. I was very excited – I always enjoy voting – it’s my civic duty and I am glad to do it.

This has been a tough election season for many. I have heard folks say they “just want the election over with already” and “I am not going to bother to vote – it won’t make any difference.”

There’s a saying, “What we focus on, we become.” Let’s be the kind of citizens who care enough to cast our votes, whatever they may be.  We encourage our learners to proactively manage their careers.  We are also asking that you proactively engage in the future direction of our country.

We are lucky to live in a country where we have the privilege to vote. It’s important to be positive, proactive, and have our voices heard. If you’re not happy with the way things are going, then actively participate in our democracy and vote to change things. Whether you vote Democrat, Republican, Independent, or write someone in, please vote and make your voice heard.

Voting is a privilege – please use it!  Thank you!!

Wondering whether your state offers early voting? Please visit this non-partisan link: https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/

Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services

Posted in Uncategorized

Mentors Offer Invaluable Guidance and Leadership for Your Career Advancement

Birds in flight

There’s a saying, “It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.”  Through sharing their valuable “lessons learned,” mentors hold great potential for supporting our career advancement.  You may already have a potential mentor in your network without even realizing it.  If not, the Walden community offers several great resources to help you find one.

I have been fortunate to have an excellent mentor during my career.  I did not connect with him through a formal mentoring program or even ask him to be my mentor.  He informally guided me through sharing his experiences leading and supporting others both personally and professionally.

Jim, my mentor, is an executive who has run his own career consulting practice for 32 years.  Though he is well into retirement age, he is anything but retired!  He is very well-accomplished, having worked in executive positions at General Electric, the Federal Reserve, and a large outplacement firm.  He is also a second generation Army veteran.  He devotes substantial time and effort to supporting veterans in career transition, including a newsletter featuring career advice and job fairs.  This newsletter, which started in 1994, has a circulation of 80,000 people worldwide!  He does not get paid; the newsletter is part of his “Pay It Forward Endeavor.”

I met Jim through a professional association about 15 years ago.  He guided me through several career transitions and a cross-country move.  He has been an invaluable mentor and a wonderful friend.  I am a more effective leader, follower and employee because of Jim.  He has been a huge source of inspiration and I highly recommend having a career mentor.

Do you have a mentor in your professional network?   Here are some great resources to find one:

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of the Career Services Center

photo of Lisa

Originally published in WaldenYOU Summer 2016 Edition

Many Possible Directions for Setting Course


These boats are heading in four different directions. They mirror my attempts to narrow down my doctoral study topic. I thought it was employee engagement for baby boomers and now I’m not so sure anymore. Each new course offers new exciting topics. I feel like “Squirrel!!!!” in the movie “Up.” Does every doctoral student go through this?

I even scouted a possible topic in my course, Management Information Systems. I read about data warehouses, knowledge management systems and supply chain management wondering how individuals’ brains are wired to successfully manage technology like that?

Then I read about a company’s attempts to convert best practices and stories into a knowledge management system. The term “occupational community” jumped right off the page! We read so much about how disengaged employees are. Does a strong occupational community support employee engagement? I would bet my 401(k) on it!

How do you build and maintain a strong occupational community? With employees in all sectors working virtually more often, there are fewer watercooler and elevator chats where people spontaneously talk about projects. Those informal face-to-face interactions make work much more fun. I find that no amount of emoticons can replace a real smile and a laugh from a colleague. Moreover, solutions to problems and opportunities for collaboration often emerge out of spontaneous, informal, face to face interactions.

Normally I love to plan ahead. For my doctoral study topic, I’ll quote Emily Dickinson: “I dwell in possibility.”

Lisa Cook, DBA Student and Senior Director of Career Services

Originally published on LinkedIn, May 19, 2016


Tips on How to Impress a Field Experience Site

Are you a psychology, social work, or counseling student seeking a Field Experience site?  Wondering how to stand out from other applicants? sunshadesMitra is a PhD in Psychology–Clinical Psychology student who landed a practicum site at a Catholic school in California.  She is now working under supervision with adolescent girls who experience behavioral and mental health challenges.

How did Mitra maximize her chances of landing an interview?

Mitra started gearing up for her practicum search in February of 2016.  She contacted Career Services and worked extensively to update her CV and cover letter.  During this process, Mitra learned how to accentuate her skills, identify her target site’s needs, and determine the precise qualities potential sites were looking for in an intern.  These insights helped her communicate relevant skills and knowledge areas to employers.

Mitra then contacted her Field Experience Coordinator for a list of sites where other Walden students had completed internships or practica.  She also researched her local area, used job search aggregates and niche job banks, and referred to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) website.  While visiting the California Psychological Association (CPA)’s job bank, she located lists of potential sites and shared leads with other Walden students living in California.  She found her current practicum through CPA and submitted an application.  After two months, she received a phone call inviting her to visit the site and complete additional paperwork.  Shortly after her visit, she was contacted for a face-to-face interview.

How did Mitra impress her practicum site?

Working with Career Services helped Mitra learn how to present herself with confidence during an interview, share stories of her accomplishments, and communicate the quality of her Walden education.  She impressed her interviewer by taking the time to research the site –its mission, client population, challenges, and employees.  She built a connection with her interviewer by focusing on a common interest – the prevention of human trafficking.  Since this site had not worked with Walden students before, Mitra shared talking points about Walden’s social change mission, global student population, academic residency requirements, projects and assignments, and the field experience process.  She made such a positive impression that her interviewer asked whether she could recommend other Walden students to their site!  Needless to say, her interviewer was very impressed with Mitra’s academic program, knowledge of psychology, and commitment to social change.  After Mitra returned home, she immediately followed up with a thank you letter and, shortly afterward, received an email hiring her for the position.  Mitra is looking forward to a challenging, yet rewarding, practicum experience.  We wish her luck on her journey!

Are you gearing up for a Field Experience search?  Visit Career Services’ Field Experience webinars page to gain insights for a productive search.

Seeking to build your Walden network?  Learn about upcoming Career Connections events.

 Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services