Four Doctoral Candidates Graduate August 2022

Congratulations to the four doctoral candidates in the Reich College of Education’s (RCOE) Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership who graduate at the end of the 2022 summer semester: 

  • Mel Falck
  • Kate Johnson
  • Audra Vaz
  • Erin West

Mel Falck

Mel Falck

Dissertation Title: Why Art? Ways of Responding to the World Around Us

Dissertation Committee: Dr. Greg McClure, Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. Alecia Jackson, Member, Department of Leadership and Education Studies; Dr. Lee Ball, Member, University Sustainability


  • JustPax Grant

“The doctoral program has been a great opportunity for me to continue to develop my professional and academic self.  Since beginning the program, in many ways, I feel like a completely different person. The cohort model was an awesome way to explore educational theory with my colleagues (shout out to Cohort 23!) and I've enjoyed and appreciated the support offered by all affiliated with the program. My writing feels stronger than ever and I'm very excited to move on to the next phase of my professional journey! Much love, friends! See you all on the other side!” 

Kate Johnson

Dissertation Title: How Women Negotiate the Ongoing Construction of Subjectivity with Leadership Discourse in Higher Education

Dissertation Committee: Dr. Alecia Jackson, Chair, Department of Leadership and Education Studies; Dr. Star Brown, Member, Western Piedmont Community College; and Dr. Stacey Garrett, Member, Department of Leadership and Education Studies

Audra Vaz

Audra Vaz

Dissertation Title: Giving and Gratitude: Comparing Communication Media and Expressions of Gratitude on Subsequent Annual Giving

Dissertation Committee: Dr. Les Bolt, Chair, Department of Leadership and Education Studies; Dr. Jean DeHart, Member, Department of Communication; Dr. Patrick C. Dwyer, Member, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Conferences and Campus Presentations: 

  • Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, 2020 and 2021
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2021 and 2022
  • Science of Philanthropy Initiative, 2021

“The doctoral program at Appalachian has provided me with perspectives I never knew existed. These perspectives came from my professors, my classmates, and the subject matter opening up a new approach to my thinking, learning, and engagement. As a result of the program, I have also gained friends, research partners, and academic and practical colleagues. I have felt nurtured and supported, as well as challenged. I'm honored to have been a part of such a great program.” 

Erin West

Erin West

Dissertation Title: The Nested Doll Trilemma: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Quality in NC Pre-K

Dissertation Committee: Dr. Vachel Miller, Chair, Department of Leadership and Education Studies; Dr. Denise Brewer, Member, Department of Family and Child Studies; Dr. Alecia Jackson, Member, Department of Leadership and Education Studies


  • Kistler Scholarship
  • Reich College of Education Scholarship

Conferences and Campus Presentations: 

  • Curriculum and Pedagogy Conference, NCARE 2022
  • App State Doctoral Symposium, 2021 and 2022

“The ability to pursue scholarship that can improve the lives of teachers and children.”

Graduating Doctoral Students Summer 2022
Published: Aug 2, 2022 8:17am