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Student Feature: Dr. Suzanne Ensmann
MSU’s Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) is an online, practioner-based doctoral program providing advanced training to individuals who are passionate about changing educational institutions from the inside out. Students have the ability to tailor program content to fit their individual strengths and career goals through three specialization options, including adult and higher education leadership, P-12 administrative leadership, and educational technology leadership.
Suzanne Ensmann (17), a recent graduate of the educational technology leadership track, is an adjunct instructor and director of program effectiveness for adult education at Indian River State College (IRSC) in Fort Pierce, Florida. She said she selected MSU’s Ed.D. program based on esteemed recognitions and professors’ national participation in the field of educational technology.
“During my interview for the doctoral program, I was told this experience would be like no other because above all, faculty members cared about students and their success,” Ensmann said. “From my first encounter and throughout my time here at MSU, my professors demonstrated sincere compassion and support for my success synergistically entwined with rigor and expectations I had not even envisioned I would learn to master.”
One advantage MSU’s Ed.D. program offers is the cohort itself. Classmates represent some of the most passionate and accomplished educators across the country and are eager to collaborate and learn from one another. Ensmann said coursework and activities are designed to foster connections with peers founded on a shared sense of calling to education and a desire to serve whole communities.
 “I came in with an idea of the impact I wanted to make on society but I honestly expected to be met with resistance based upon my ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas,” she said. “Instead, I was met with support and encouragement from my cohort to develop those ideas with scholarly research to provide a strong foundation upon which my capstone project could grow into something I could not have imagined. I am in awe and empowered by the support I had to complete it.”
Ensmann’s capstone project addressed digital game-based learning as a driver for social impact. Specifically, she proposed a Game-for-Change to teach about the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) treaty – outlining basic rights children should be afforded and how to support U.S ratification of the treaty to better the lives of children. She had the opportunity to lead the CRC Florida Grassroots Committee and worked with Denise Brown, speaking about domestic violence effects on children. Ensmann was also appointed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to the iCivics Teacher’s Council to support games created to educate about government and civic responsibility.
“Twenty-first century students are drenched in digital devices. I want to design and engage students in empowering instruction that embraces their digital world and teaches them to apply their learning to solve real-world problems,” she said. “It’s time to stop teaching them to ‘power down’ in the classroom.”
Ensmann said she is thankful for the relationships she has built through MSU’s Ed.D. program and the support she received throughout the entire process of earning her doctorate.
“I am humbled by my partaking in and completion of it, but the actual knowledge of what I have achieved is a bit beyond what words can describe. I came in desiring a title and am leaving understanding the depth of what that title means.”
To learn more about MSU’s Doctorate in Education application process and program requirements, visit