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Si Chen

Ph.D. - Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership - Curriculum and Learning Design

Si Chen

  • 2025, William & Mary, Ph.D. - Educational Policy, Planing, and Leadership - Curriculum and Learning Design
  • 2016, Beijing Normal University, M.A. in Applied Linguistics
  • 2013, Dalian Minzu University, B.A. in English

What kind of educational and professional experiences did you have prior to beginning this degree?
Before I started my doctoral study at William & Mary, most of my experiences were related to second language teaching. I have one year of Chinese language and culture tutoring experience from 2014 to 2015. After I received my master’s degree in 2016, I worked as a full-time faculty in China and taught English as a second language at the tertiary level for five years, during which many of my students were pre-service K-12 English teachers.

As a student pursuing a doctorate in Curriculum and Learning Design, why did you choose this field, and what motivates you in this work?
My choice developed one step at a time. In my school times, I had many fabulous teachers who guided me to grow and made me become highly fascinated by the power of education and motivated to work in the field of education. As a very important step, I studied and practiced second language learning and teaching during my master’s program, which is closely related to the curriculum and learning field. After that, when working as a language teacher, I truly loved to seek solutions and innovations in my teaching to inspire and help students to learn better. Together, they are why I became interested in learning and researching more in the area of curriculum, learning, and teaching.

What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?
My career goal after graduation is to become higher education faculty, probably as a pre-service K-12 teacher educator, which best suits my determination. I want to continue to conduct research and seek innovation in teaching and assessment in education, especially in the field of second language education. I believe conducting relevant research could contribute with practical implications and suggestions that would benefit more learners and teachers. I would also like to communicate more with researchers, educational organizations, and companies to see how we can better contribute to accelerating students’ deeper learning.

Why did you choose William & Mary and specifically your degree program? What sets this degree program apart from those offered at other colleges?
The most important reason that motivated me to apply for the EPPL - Curriculum & Learning Design Ph.D. program was my aspiration for innovation and assessment in education matches the professors’ specialties in this program. What’s more, the program of study is well designed to guide students to build solid foundations and explore their potential interests along their doctoral journeys.

What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program?
I have been impressed by my professors, who are leading scholars in their fields, and willing to devote their time to supporting their students. Every time I attend their office hours, I gain more inspiration and guidance than expected.

Is there any additional information you would want a prospective student to know about the School of Education and its degree programs?
The School of Education is small, which makes students, faculty, and staff members closely connected. Students have many chances to interact with professors.

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