Combining a Passion for Arts Education with Advanced Degree Study

A Conversation with Doctoral Candidate Tom Rizzuto

By Anthony Vela

Why did you choose Molloy for your Ed.D.?

After completing my M.A. in musicology, and teaching on the college level for several years, I spent a long time trying to figure out which doctoral degree was right for me. I considered several degree programs in musicology, music education, and educational leadership, but eventually decided on Molloy for several reasons. I was already working here, so I was familiar with the campus and many of the faculty members. I appreciated the fact that I would have the freedom to determine what kind of research I wanted to do and how I wanted to go about it. The biggest factor in my decision was probably the openness and availability of the faculty. I could tell early on that Molloy's Ed.D. program was going to provide the kind of supportive environment that I felt was missing from most of the others.

Why did you choose to pursue the Ed.D.? How will the work you are doing now support your dreams and goals for the future?

I chose to pursue an Ed.D. because I've always felt that, as much as I enjoy research, teaching is the most rewarding part of what I do. I didn't want to stop learning about education just because I was studying music. I also hope to take on more of a leadership role in whatever department I'm teaching in one day. I felt that this particular degree would prepare me for that goal.

Are there any particular aspects of studying at Molloy that you think are unique?

I think that the hybrid schedule is really great for people who are working and devoted to their careers. A few of the other programs I interviewed for told me that they would expect me to quit my job if I wanted to be in their program. That was simply not an option for me. Molloy allows me the freedom to advance my education without putting my career on hold.

What type of research are you doing at Molloy?

I am currently working on a few projects related to arts education in New York. My dissertation will explore the effects of government policies on music educators and how they do their jobs.

What would you tell someone considering the Ed.D. to focus on as they start their journey?

I would advise anyone pursuing a doctoral degree to have a good idea about what they are interested in studying, but to also remain open-minded. You are going to be exposed to so many new ideas and concepts during your course work. You are also going to learn a lot about the various methodologies that researchers use. It is very likely that your ideas and interests will change. That can be scary at first, but if you're open to it, it could lead you to new and exciting possibilities for your own research.