From G.E.D. to Ph.D.: Eric Thomas as a Model of Educational Success

  •  Cassandra D. Chaney    
  •  Nia Nicks    
  •  Conial Caldwell    


Since the General Educational Development (GED) Program was established in 1943, more than 17 million people have received a GED Credential. According to the American Council on Education (ACOE), the GED test is considered an alternative option to the US High school diploma, HiSET and TASC tests; the GED test verifies whether the test taker has the United States or Canadian high school-level academic skills (Larson et al., 2016; Rice, 2016). The GED tests entail five subject contents such as writing skills, reading skills, social studies, science, and mathematics—and although the standards required for passing the tests vary across states, these standards are generally similar (Larson et al., 2016; Rice, 2016). This chapter will examine the words Dr. Eric Thomas uses during an interview on the day that he obtained his Ph.D. (Philosophy in Education) from Michigan State University. During this interview with Glenn Twiddle, Dr. Thomas discusses the various factors that motivated him to pursue and earn a Ph.D. In particular, this content analysis will determine the themes Dr. Thomas believes are essential catalysts for educational success. Qualitative analysis of Dr. Thomas’s interview reveals four themes related to (a) The Habit of Avoiding Challenges; (b) The Value of Facing Challenges; (c) The Importance of Receiving Encouragement and Accepting Help; (d) The Fragility of Work-Life Balance. Essentially, these themes highlight Dr. Thomas’s initial habit of running from academic challenges, the reasons why he faced educational challenges in his life, what he learned about himself after facing academic challenges, the importance of receiving encouragement and accepting help from others, as well as how he manages work-life balance.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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