Doctoral student, Michael S. Hoffman, awarded highest honor for doctoral thesis on online education

April 24, 2013


Michael S. Hoffman, EdD, is the spring 2013 recipient of the Dean's Medal,
the highest honor awarded by the College to a doctoral student. 

What inspires and convinces faculty to teach online?

Michael S. Hoffman, EdD, addressed this question in his doctoral research, and his work led to recognition with the Dean's Medal for Outstanding Doctoral Work, the highest honor awarded by the College Professional Studies to a doctoral student. Dr. Hoffman is a graduate of the Doctor of Education program.

Dr. Hoffman's thesis, "An Examination of Motivating Factors on Faculty Participation in Online Higher Education," explores the factors that influence a faculty member's decision to participate in online education. In nominating Dr. Hoffman for this award, Dr. Jennifer Qian, his doctoral thesis advisor, noted, "Michael developed an extremely relevant and robust theoretical framework from which to study his topic and used advanced statistical analysis techniques, including factor analysis and multiple linear regression, to perform original research on his topic."

As explained by Dr. Hoffman, this "work demonstrated the importance of faculty participation in online education if higher education institutions are to meet the expected increasing student demand for online courses." He went on to say, "Both practitioners and researchers will hopefully benefit from this research, as it provides a number of tangible, data-based recommendations and conclusions which advance an understanding in this developing field."

John LaBrie, dean of the College of Professional Studies noted that Dr. Hoffman "is already making important contributions to his field and we look forward to the continued impact of his work on the rapidly changing world of higher education delivered online." During his doctoral studies, one of Hoffman's papers appeared in the peer-reviewed Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and a portion of his doctoral thesis was accepted for publication as a chapter in the upcoming book Cases on Critical and Qualitative Perspectives in Online Higher Education.

Dr. Hoffman is the executive director for Information Technology at St. Bonaventure University, and has also taught courses in the School of Business at St. Bonaventure on business information systems and internet marketing. He plans to continue to work in leadership in information technology, as well as teach graduate courses part-time.

More about graduation

The College of Professional Studies celebrates two graduations, fall and spring, in keeping with the College's flexible approach to education offering an array of options to students including part-time and full-time studies, Fast-Track, online, and hybrid formats. To learn more about graduation, visit our 2013 graduation web page.

To read about the College of Professional Graduation Ceremony on April 21, 2013, visit: "A superb example of a modern graduating class"

To read about the recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award, please visit:

An "Inspiring Instructor who Encourages Intellectual Risk-Taking"

An Instructor who "Encourages Students to Attempt Challenging Problems without Fear or Failure"

Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master's degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern's research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.

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