Around the World: Meet Global Executive EdD student Kiley Adolph

How USC Rossier is enriching the story for an aspiring education leader

Kiley Adolph received her MAT from USC Rossier in 2008 and will receive her doctorate this July from the Global Executive EdD program. She is currently director of engagement for Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that provides science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, including K-12 curriculum and teacher professional development.

What has stayed with you from your days as a student in the MAT program?

Kiley Adolph

Kiley Adolph

USC Rossier does a great job of focusing on being a change agent in education. I was constantly grappling with that. What does that mean? What does that look like? How does that coincide with my purpose?

After completing my MAT degree at USC Rossier, I taught at a charter school in Cincinnati. I grew exponentially during that time. I developed a greater understanding of our society’s needs in education, and this led me to then expanding from a K-12 setting to one in higher education, when I taught as an assistant adjunct professor at Rossier in the MAT program, and then it essentially led me to a national nonprofit, where I’m working on providing transformative teaching and learning experiences across the country. Through all of this, I have carried with me the desire to continue to be a change agent and empower people through education.

Why did you choose the Global Executive EdD instead of other doctoral programs?

As I look back at my education and professional path, I can see that everything is coming together for me with this program. I’ve always been fascinated with the world and with exploring different perspectives. And I’ve always been interested in how we all have a unique story to tell. There’s this saying that sticks with me: “Our stories are the communal currency of humanity.” So I was really drawn to this opportunity to work with people from around the world, where I could hear their stories while also getting the chance to create a new story together.

As with most students in the program, you continue to work full time. How has the program enriched your career path?

I think any time you’re working full time while you are in a doctoral program, you will be invigorated with a greater passion and a greater desire to create change on a grander scale. In this program, which lasts 25 months, we are working at such a high speed, and I find myself wanting to carry that momentum into my professional career.

“In the fractured world we have today, there are bridges being built right here at USC, and bridges being built to solve major problems.”

—Kiley Adolph, student in USC Rossier’s Global Executive EdD program

What has it been like to be part of a small, tightknit cohort?

I think it’s one of the highlights of the whole experience. It goes back to the whole notion of all of us having a story. Oftentimes we come with preconceived notions that we each have unique problems, particularly when it pertains to education in our respective countries.

I remember one moment in particular, when five of us from the cohort went out to dinner, all of us women. We were all talking about the challenges that people face in our respective countries—war, poverty, education—and I ended the evening realizing that here we had people from all over the world who could work together and solve problems and build coalitions.

In the fractured world we have today, there are bridges being built right here at USC, and bridges being built to solve major problems. And that process helps us educate and empower children around the world.