Spotlight on Ed.D Faculty and Staff

Dr. Sawako Suzuki is an associate professor of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program. She teaches research courses in the curriculum with a focus on quantitative research methods.

Sawako Suzuki

What are you working on now?

I am working on several exciting projects. This summer, I’m taking a group of doctoral students to the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica for two weeks. While there, we will engage in service-learning at local schools, take courses on 21st-century education, develop innovative educational projects, and relax at the beach. When a person sees the educational system of a foreign country, it creates an opportunity to see the system back home in a new light… I am hoping that my students will come home with a new set of eyes and a renewed sense of passion about their work. I have also started designing my next travel course to Japan for summer, 2017!

What do you think makes our Ed.D Program unique or different from other programs?

I’d say that the cohort experience and the Action Research cycles make our Ed.D. Program uniquely attractive. Our curriculum is designed for students to engage in Collaborative Inquiry, Community-Based Research, and Participatory Action Research projects during the first three years of the program. As cohort members experience these research cycles together, they come to know each other very well and develop a strong bond. I just started teaching this year’s Community-Based Research cycle in which students collaborate with local nonprofit organizations that serve communities in need. This year, students will work with the Multicultural Institute in Berkeley, E3: Education, Excellence & Equity in San Rafael, and the Student Engagement & Academic Success Office here on campus to fulfill the organizations’ research needs. Community-Based Research is social action!

What excites you most about teaching in our Ed.D. Program?

It is most exciting and rewarding for me to contribute to and witness our students’ development of their self-efficacy (or confidence) as educational leaders and research-practitioners. I teach research courses to first-, second-, and third-year students in the program, so it’s easy for me to notice their growth. Unbeknownst to them (most of the time), our students start to “glow” as they begin to apply what they’ve learned in the Ed.D. Program to their work. And they get noticed. It’s not a coincidence that many of our students get promoted or find new jobs that suit them better during the program. I am a “growth” junkie myself; I thrive on the sense of growing every day. And it’s fabulous to be a part of my students’ growth, too.