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Mar 28, 2017 11:55 AM EDT

Assistant Pricipal Will Receive University's First Doctoral Degree [VIDEO]

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North Hunterdon Regional High School's assistant principal, Greg Cottrell, became the first student at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania to defend a dissertation for the university's new doctoral program. The Board of Governors in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education gave approval in April 2016.

On Wednesday afternoon Cottrell moved one step closer to graduation that he was even given a nickname, "Number One." Cottrell will become a doctor of education in Educational Leadership and Administration. It is the first doctorate program in 124 years.

Cottrell said that he was ready to defend his dissertation and hopes for 24 more students from East Stroudsburg will follow his footsteps. He successfully explained and defended his research project in front of the faculty that have helped him for the last five years.

William Bajor, director of graduate and extended learning at ESU said that Cottrell's success is an enormous personal achievement. He defended his dissertation on March 22.

In his research, Cottrell studied data about how student internet activity can influence the instructional design choices that teachers make to meet the needs of digital learners. He found that his hypothesis about educational benefits associated with providing teachers access to comprehensive learning analytics reports were associated with their students.

Cottrell was able to balance full-time employment, home and his research said Douglas Lare, ESU doctoral program coordinator.  He managed to successfully defend his research involving young people and online behavior and at the same time work as assistant principal according to PA Homepage.

According to NJ.com, the university has offered their doctoral program since 2000 in collaboration with Indiana University in Pennsylvania. It was the only approved State System university to offer doctoral degrees. It was only until the 2012 passage of Pennsylvania's Higher Education Modernization Act that allowed all State System universities to propose and offer professional doctoral degrees.

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