Victor A. Montemurro   
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Comprehensive Doctoral
Digital Portfolio

The School of Education and Human Services

St. John's University

 

Synthesis Statements

Of what value is learning unless it is personalized, integrated and made meaningful to one's life through expression and action?

Embedded on various pages throughout the electronic portfolio are reflective and summative statements that synthesize my learning within the doctoral program course of study. I have attempted to fuse that learning to my life and work while I was engaged in the program (February 2002 to the present November 2004). My hope is to continue my development as a thinker so that I may continue a meaningful contribution to the field of education. An overall program synthesis statement is found below and other statements may be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page. Jump to the other synthesis statements' links.

Overall Program Synthesis

Reflection on a Beginning:

My interest in others and their growth stems from an understanding of group process, communication and trust that developed many years ago when I served as a youth theater director in a public high school and a community group for more than a decade. The theater group is an artistic organization that lives and breathes together to develop a creative process that results in an effective artistic product: a believable theatrical production. Theater groups struggle for civic capacity within the school and members bring to the artistic organization social capital to various degrees dependent upon family and school community support. The leader of a school theater group must always build the trust of the artistic community (Bryk & Schneider, 2002) in order to create artistic capacity.

When Carlson (1996) applies the theatrical metaphor to the school organization, he offers a way of looking at the organization that is immediately accessible to me. Like the dramatic text, the communication among members of the organization contains not only the text of what is said, but the context and sub-text as well. Actors have objectives, motivations and obstacles for the stage; individuals in the organization do as well. Behavior is staged and carries forth meaning that influences others. The theater director or the school leader need to be keenly aware of group dynamics, caring and trusting of individuals, nurturing of creativity and intelligence, and capable of holding in mind's eye the entire stage picture. Seeing the full picture of the organization enables the creative leader to fulfill Schein's  definition of leadership: "Leadership is the attitude and motivation to examine and manage culture"(1992, p.374). My journey as a manager of culture began with my teaching career at age twenty-two in the classroom, as a student government advisor and then, within the first few years of teaching, as a high school theater director for twelve years.

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Lifelong Learning:

My education and learning up to the doctoral program has always included study at the graduate level beyond the master's degree and self-study of personal nature. At various times after I had completed a master's degree in 1979, I returned to coursework at the graduate level unsatisfied with the quality of courses offered by local inservice programs. My interest in learning  and being exposed to new ideas has been lifelong. I love being on the receiving end of the learning and I have a great capacity to explore ideas formally in a course of study or on my own. In the late seventies and throughout most of the eighties, with only one year of college theater, I engaged in self-directed learning about theater production, direction, design, in particular lighting design, and children's theater so that I could make application to my role as a theater director and teacher. I found my self on a path that included courses in graduate English, writing, child development, philosophy in education, creativity, theater arts, and most recently, technology in education. My three years as a technology staff developer working with teachers and students in three school put me on a learning curve of self-study that included understanding the role of computer technology across the K-12 curriculum, videoconferencing, multimedia presentations, web development, and understanding my self as a teacher of adult learners. The staff development position has lead directly to pursuit of the doctoral degree because I began to imagine myself as capable of doing more complex and different work in the schools. I have come to understand this work as the work of leadership, support and care.

The Doctoral Program:

The doctoral program seems to me a logical and formal extension of life-long learning that has been mostly self directed.

 

Other Synthesis Statements:

Leadership

Organizational Theory

Policy and Politics

Management Science

Research Methodology

Philosophy and Goals

Personal Statement

Introductory Statement

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What's New! 

"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."
   --Albert Einstein

 

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dotSJU School of Education Comprehensive Digital Portfolio Copyright 2004 by Victor A. Montemurro