Christie Riley shares journey to receiving doctorate

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Christie Riley shares journey to receiving doctorate

Dr. Christie RileyNovember 17, 2016

Earning a degree at any level is a process, and Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Christie Riley has experienced a journey of her own while earning her doctorate.

Riley, Director of Teacher Education and Assistant Professor of Education, recently earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University in Arizona after completing her dissertation titled “High School Graduation Rates in Oklahoma after the implementation of End-of-Year Testing Requirements.”

Riley earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern and has taught in the school system for nearly 20 years. Her experience includes elementary education, counseling and administration, and has taught within the Division of Education at Northwestern since 2007.

She began working on her doctorate in 2008 and said it was a journey of endurance to complete the certification that has benefited her students’ experiences and brought new light to her time at Northwestern.

“I think it affected my teaching from when I started working on my doctorate; it makes you look at things through a different perspective,” Riley said. “It encouraged me to make my courses a little more rigorous because the expectations have changed. As you work on your doctorate you find out more information and how things are looking forward.”

She said she believes this experience also has provided her with empathy and understanding for her students, and she’s able to apply what she’s learned to her coursework.

Riley said she thinks of the time spent working on her doctorate “as a long professional development class, and everything you learn in that classroom you’re now able to share with your students and encourage them to want to pursue a higher or advanced degree.”

She encourages her students to do well in the classroom and continues to be encouraged by them.

Some of Riley’s biggest supporters through this educational journey were members of her family. She said her husband and daughters provided endless encouragement to complete the degree.

Riley also is appreciative of the support received from her peers.

“Everyone at Northwestern was very supportive in my process and helped me with any insight possible…although I think I am the same person from when I started, it’s an accomplishment that no one can take away.”

For more information about the teacher education program at Northwestern contact Riley at or (580)327-8694.