Prudence to Achieve Doctoral Success: An Interview with UOPX Alum Dr. Rheanna Reed

Prudence to Achieve Doctoral Success: An Interview with UOPX Alum Dr. Rheanna Reed

By LauraAnn Migliore, Ph.D.

This sixth article in the blog series, “The Importance of Prudence to Think Wise and Lead Well” for doctoral success emphasizes the practical application of completing the dissertation. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rheanna Rae Reed, who successfully defended her dissertation, Situational Leadership and Employee Turnover Intent: A Correlational Examination of Higher Education Administrators in May (2019). 

I had asked Dr. Reed questions about the practical things she did to progress forward in the Doctor of Management (DM) program. Rheanna shared insightful techniques and resources she used to help her stay focused and on track. Her perspective and the habits she cultivated during her doctoral journey demonstrate a prudent approach to leading self and making good choices. What follows are my interview questions and her responses:

Interview Questions:

1.  Did you set specific doctoral goals that were measurable? 
“Yes, I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  I started with overarching goals like completing courses per my course schedule and then planned my dissertation from the macro view to narrowed micro view.”

“For example, my macro view was to write the Literature Review (Chapter 2), which I set as a one to two-month goal. I wrote down my search topics and then told myself, today I am going to find three journal articles within 5 years of publication that address situational leadership in higher education. Then, I set 30 minutes aside during my lunch hour to do just that.” 

“Also, my use of Microsoft tools. I used One Drive to create folders and save downloaded journal articles. I would name the documents by the authors last name, year, topic, and include a short blurb for me to remember. I would also write an annotated bibliography to summarize what the article was about and saved it in One Note with the full article in One Drive. What I like about One Note is the ability to search for pictures and words, which makes finding documents very quick and efficient. Also, I never printed anything; I read everything off my One Note and transferred as needed to write my dissertation.”

2. What do you say was the primary need or desire for achieving each of your doctoral goals?

“Stubbornness!  I refused to give up on me.  Achieving the doctoral degree was about me and my ability to do it.  I didn’t do it for self-actualization or for my career; I did it for me. Yes, there were moments where I would feel down and out, but I allowed myself 12 – 24 hours of wallow time where I would wine, cry, have a pity party. My husband understood my 12 – 24-hour wallow time policy, so he would just listen and not respond to my negative self-talk. Afterwards, I would tell myself and my husband would also remind me, “You’re better than this!”  Instead of looking at the mountain, I asked myself, “What’s the next step?”  Setting smaller milestones and celebrating those achievements were ways I refueled my will to persist forward. For example, when I completed a class, I would tell my mom and husband and then do a happy dance. When I receive approval for Quality Review Final (QRF), we went out to dinner to celebrate!”

3. What resources did you seek to either acquire or retain in your efforts to achieve your doctoral goals?

“I looked for technology to help me save time. For example, when it came time to do my data analysis, I used Intellectus Statistics, cloud-based software service that helped me learn how to become a better statistician
I also shared my experience using this software via a UOPX Brown Bag session” –

“Another technology resource I found useful with my Literature Review was End Note for its tag and search features.”

4. Were there any resources you already possessed, but focused on developing or strengthening for purposes of achieving your doctoral goals?

“I always felt I had good writing skills, but it wasn’t until I started using Grammarly did I notice a strengthening in my writing skills. Grammarly helped me learn to be a better writer.”

5. What do you say are your core values that influenced your doctoral success?

“Balance.  Balance is a big one! I am a mom, wife, full-time working professional / teacher, and scholar/learner. I needed to focus on balancing my work, life, and school responsibilities.  Every day I wrote down my To Do List with different daily goals each day, but all working in cadence to achieve my weekly goal outcomes. I guarded against the all-consuming dissertation. My daily To Do List included things like, help son with practice lesson, plan for dinner, find one journal article during lunch, etc.”

“Sow good seeds. I did not take short cuts in the learning process. Instead, I took advantage of the opportunity to learn. For example, I didn’t wait until the last minute to do all my discussion posts. I read my material early in week and wrote my discussion posts as I did my readings of the course material. These practices freed up some of my time at end of week to have a day to be with my family and friends.”

“Be intentional.  I focused on making right choices that would translate into good outcomes. I was intentional about being balanced in my work, life, and school responsibilities. Also, I was intentional about allowing others to help me; letting go of activities and tasks I thought I could only do and trusting others to help me.”

6. How did you reduce risks during your journey so that you could achieve your doctoral goals?

“I worked ahead of schedule.  I did not wait until last minute.  I planned for completing tasks by specific due dates to get it out of the way.  For example, discussion questions due on Saturday, I would do two on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, and two on Thursday. Anything can happen. Life happens.  Therefore, I reduced risks by being prepared and making good choices with my time.”

7. Have any of your beliefs changed as a result of your doctoral journey?  If so, please share.
“I was always determined and had lots of self-confidence, but that self-confidence was not always earned. My attitude was I’m a professional learner and I teach. The doctoral program will be fine. I never had problem with school.  I could regurgitate anything after reading it. However, the doctoral program involved learning at a different level that required critical thought.  I had to learn to be more open to being wrong and open to learning more. Going through the doctoral program, I became humbler.”

8. Is there anything else you would like to share about your doctoral journey, post-doctoral plans, or your next research project, etc.?
“I joke that I still have PTSD from my dissertation!  All kidding aside, I plan to look closer at research opportunities and make use of the resources available at   I didn’t know that I would love research as much as I now do and desire to do more scholarship.”

Kudos to Dr. Rheanna Reed!  I appreciate the sharing of her doctoral experience with our Research Hub audience!  Leading self and making good choices, as shared by Dr. Reed, is a prudent way to achieve doctoral success.

Time management and being proactive in following up on milestones appeared to be Dr. Reed’s most prudent behaviors that helped see her way through the completion of the doctorate.

Dr. Reed is a faculty member at the University of Phoenix since 2012 and a staff member since 2006. She is passionate about helping students gain access to higher education. She lives full-time in an RV and loves to travel the country with her husband, 12-year-old son, and 5-year-old Boxer, but she calls Arizona home for several months of the year.

Dr. Rheanna Reed can be contacted at:

Stay tuned for my next blog article, “Measuring Prudence as a Construct of Self-Leadership.

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