Annie Hart, '11, Ed.D. '22

Annie Hart, 2011 graduate and current Ed.D. student

Annie Hart's family has been a part of the Rockhurst University community for the last 50 years as either students, instructors or staff members. That familiarity helped lead Annie to The Rock in 2007 to pursue an undergraduate degree.

“The University has greatly shaped my life, as well as my family's experiences, at Rockhurst,” she said. “Rockhurst's reputation for a great education program, as well as the wonderful family-feel on campus and my previous experiences with Rockhurst, growing up coming to athletic events and being around campus really encouraged me to attend Rockhurst for my B.A.”

Hart earned her Bachelor of Arts in secondary education and teaching in 2011 and has been working as a P.E. teacher and athletic director at a Catholic school in Atchison, Kansas, ever since.

Now she’s looking for more.

Hart recently made the decision to return to campus, both in-person and virtually, and add to those 50 years of the Hart family at RU by being part of the first cohort for the University’s new Doctorate in Education and Leadership (Ed.D.) program.

“I was very excited to hear that Rockhurst was beginning an Ed.D. in education,” she said. “I loved my experience in the education department as an undergraduate student and so when I found out I had an opportunity to be a member of the inaugural cohort of Ed.D. students at Rockhurst, I was excited and jumped at the chance to be a part of that.”

As a working educator, Hart has already been able to implement her new research into her everyday work with K-8 students in Atchison.

"Many of the discussions and readings and research that I've already been able to complete just in the first year of the program has been applicable to my work with my students each and every day," she said.

Hart said her time at RU has been highlighted by the opportunities to grow both as a person and as a learner.

“Rockhurst consistently provides opportunities to learn in the classroom as well as in leadership positions outside of the classroom and in service opportunities that are so apparent with the Rockhurst University core values, as well as opportunities within our classroom to go out and serve others,” she said. “The care and compassion, as well as the challenge that our professors are giving us in this program, has made me feel like I'm really becoming a strong educational leader today.”

The new Doctorate in Education and Leadership (Ed.D) at Rockhurst University prepares graduates for careers as faculty and administrators in higher education.

Hart expects to finish her Ed.D. next year.

“I'm so thankful that I had that opportunity as an undergraduate, and then have been able to return yet again to pursue my Ed.D.,” she said. “I get to walk alongside other people who are pursuing the same degree, so as we work towards our doctorate in education we are able to collaborate and work together and be a part of the journey with other people who are also mission-focused and very driven in their pursuit of education in our world today.”