Ambitious, because Rodney Glasgow is not just St. Andrew’s Head of Middle School and Chief Diversity Officer. He is a founder or co-founder of several diversity conferences for students and diversity practitioners, including the Student Diversity Leadership Conference
, and an in-demand speaker, facilitator, trainer and activist in the areas of diversity, equity and social justice.
But after three years of classes, exams, and research, Rodney Glasgow defended his dissertation at George Washington University and reached his goal, becoming Dr. Glasgow on July 31.
“What I loved about the program is it fit with everything else I was doing,” he said. “Everything I was studying, I was able to plug in to all the different things I was doing. I started presenting right away. It changed my classroom practice. It all flowed in so well together that it always felt right.”
Dr. Glasgow’s Doctorate of Education is in Human and Organizational Learning, a course of study that focuses on how adults learn and how organizations learn, grow and change. The GW program was designed for working professionals, so Dr. Glasgow was able to teach and lead the Middle School during the week and take classes over the weekend.
Completing the program was a physical and spiritual endeavor, he said, noting that encouragement from St. Andrew’s colleagues, as well as students and parents, kept him motivated.
“There was never a moment when the community doubted I could do it,” Dr. Glasgow said. “There are students who have said, ‘I might get my doctorate. How did you do it?’ Watching someone else go through it is a different level of inspiration.”
Dr. Glasgow explored issues of social identity and leadership in his dissertation, titled, “Readying the Pond: The Experiences of African American Male Leaders in Predominantly White Independent Schools and Their Strategies for Navigating Nonprototypicality.” In the process of researching and writing the dissertation, Dr. Glasgow said he realized his dissertation would be somewhat groundbreaking – few studies had been done on black men and leadership.
“All it takes is people invested in studying,” he said. “That’s the benefit of a diversified pool of people who have doctorate degrees – diversity of research.”
Now with his degree in hand, Dr. Glasgow – who is also the first in his family to receive a doctorate degree – said he is empowered to be a practitioner scholar and apply what he’s learned to change and move organizations.
“I have the opportunity to take what I do know and give it a stamp of approval. Not only do I know it because I lived it, but also because I’ve studied it and researched it,” he said.
Dr. Glasgow received his diploma this summer, and will be hooded at an official ceremony at GW's May commencement.