SAS Alumni Spotlight: Scott McCalla

SAS Alumni Spotlight: Scott McCalla

This spotlight features recent doctoral graduate Scott A. McCalla, who graduated in 2017 with a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership.

Dr. McCalla is currently a Director of Administration at International Pipe & Supply, and has been working there for three years.

We asked Dr. McCalla a few questions about his experience as a student researcher and alumni. Read on to learn more about this Phoenix.

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What was the defining moment that led to your decision to pursue your doctorate?

I fell in love with school, learning, and research when completing my master’s program.  I determined upon graduating with my master’s that I was not ready to leave the academic setting and I felt a desire to take the jump into developing my own research. 

What is the biggest lesson you learned from your doctoral journey?

Collaboration is powerful!  I have learned that asking others for input or knowledge and truly listening to, and understanding, that input makes me a better scholar and practitioner.  Life-long learning and collaboration is a wonderful approach to work and life!

What enhancements have you seen in your leadership capabilities?

I find myself teaching much more than managing; it makes for a much more interesting work environment.  I turn over much more work to my staff and I ask for their continuous input.  I focus more time on facilitating work, gathering staff members’ knowledge, and providing challenges and feedback.  I then present their findings in a cogent manner while giving credit to the staff members involved.  My staff has said they feel more empowered, more connected to the company, and feel a greater level of respect.  I also know the feeling of depending on feedback from others in charge of reviewing my work.  This is power that each of us knowingly gives to another.  I never take that for granted, I try to never waste another employee’s time, or diminish their effort.

How has your doctoral experience changed your personal/professional life? 

Personally, I do not think there is anything that will ever diminish the moment when I told my daughters I passed my oral defense.  They were proud of my accomplishment.  I have a daughter that is a college senior, a biochemist.  My experience of earning a doctorate has helped provide her motivation to continue her studies.   

Professionally, I am very different today than the day I finished my master’s program.  My willingness to challenge knowledge is much higher, my desire to research and to develop innovative ideas has become unquenchable.  I am much less likely to accept “quick” answers to problems; instead, I push to slow down processes thereby allowing time to garner more information.   

What’s next for you now that you are a doctor?

I will continue to research and publish related to the deleterious effects of workplace bullying, and at the same time continue to help build a world-class business as an executive.  I hope to teach and to be able to share my experiences with others that are still students in the School of Advanced Studies. 

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering the SAS doctoral program or to a student currently in the program?

I have several pieces of advice:

  • There are many people that can help you beyond your academic advisor and your dissertation chair.  Do not hesitate to ask for Work on your writing skills in each class.  Study APA, carry the APA book with you (I still keep my beat-up copy with me always in my briefcase). Use tools when possible to check your work and to save and catalog your research.  For instance, I used Qiqqa which is a free research tool. Remember, everything you write is a reflection on you, so take the time that reflection is due. 
  • When you are unsure of which direction to take with your research use mind mapping to help guide your thoughts.  Again, there is free software for you to use.
  • Getting your doctorate is a marathon.  Take care of yourself throughout the process.

Thank you, Dr. McAlla for choosing University of Phoenix to complete your doctoral degree. We wish you the best of luck in your current and future research endeavors!