Benedictine Ed.D. graduate garners national recognition for research

October 17, 2014

Lisle, Illinois ~ Aaron D. Clevenger, Ed.D., a 2014 graduate of the Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Organizational Change (Ed.D.) program at Benedictine University, was presented the Outstanding Experiential Education Research/Dissertation Award by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE).

The presentation was made during the NSEE Conference in Baltimore, Md., on September 30.

Clevenger, an Orlando, Fla. resident and executive director of Experiential Learning and Undergraduate Research at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, was nominated for his dissertation, "A Phenomenological Study: Motivation as Experienced by Engineering Design Competitors at a Selective Engineering University," and his commitment to experiential learning on the Embry-Riddle campus.

"It is an amazing honor," Clevenger said. "It could not have happened without the guidance and tireless work of Nancy Bentley (Benedictine adjunct faculty and dissertation advisor). I could have not asked for a better advisor and mentor."

The NSEE is a nonprofit membership organization composed of educators, businesses and community leaders. Founded in 1971, NSEE also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.

Outstanding Experiential Education Research/Dissertation Award recognizes an NSEE member who has published research or completed a doctoral dissertation within the past two years which makes important contributions to an area of experiential education that is valuable to NSEE members.

The Benedictine University Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Organizational Change (Ed.D.) program is intended for practicing professionals who wish to accelerate their career paths as administrators of higher education. Studies emphasize leadership for educational and organizational improvement.

The program provides both the perspective and the tools to anticipate and lead change in post-secondary education, while preparing students for the rigors and challenges of developing and implementing strategic plans, improving learning, managing resources, leading personnel, implementing policy and orchestrating change within a higher education organization.

The Ed.D. program at Benedictine is under the direction of Sunil Chand, Ph.D., who served as president of College of DuPage (COD) from July 2003 through May 2008, and Eileen Kolich, Ph.D., professor of Education and Ed.D. research director.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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