Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

How to Steal a Doctorate in 5 easy steps!

Written by: on March 9, 2023

Have you ever found yourself floundering? Directionless? Just plain old bored?  Well I have a solution for you.  Follow these “easy” steps and in no time you’ll have a Doctorate!

  1. Thresholds…. Find opportunities to expand your horizons! We often don’t know we are about to encounter a threshold experience, but we will know we have when it “undermines previous beliefs and leads to troublesome knowledge”. [1] Now I am sure you are wondering, why would I want knowledge that brings me trouble?  Let me say, that this is where true transformation occurs.  Here is my testimonial for step one. I started mentoring a class at the University of Portland called “Theological Perspectives on Suffering and Death”, this was a class for future nurses, and it was brilliant and full of threshold knowledge.  SO much so that I was inspired to take this class format and content and spread it out in the world!  Thus…voila, I had an idea to meet a need out in the world! My NPO is wanting to change the way we train our healthcare workers on suffering and death conversations.   I am shocked at how much this class showed me as a mentor how afraid of death and suffering I was!  It changed the trajectory of my whole life…all the way to imagining my own death bed and how I wanted my life to go to get me there as much as I can control at least.  I am in trouble because I can’t unknow it!
  1. “So: Copy your heroes. Examine where you fall short. What’s in there that makes you different? That’s what you should amplify and transform into your own work.” [2] .  I noticed how much I desired to copy my hero, the professor of this class.  I began to dream and imagine how a college level course could be brought out into the world.  Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: invite others to wonder with you”[3].  Working in Hospice I had a natural audience of other caregivers with whom I could wonder with and test my ideas.  Hindsight, I had already done a large amount of stakeholder workshops, just informally. Question now became how do I get to the audience I want, and why should they listen to me?  I need more education, PhD? EdD? DMin?
  1. “Fake it until you Make it!”[4] I’m going to tell you how in the world I ended up in this doctorate program.  I had googled and googled all sorts of dreams just as Kleon suggests in his book, “Google everything. I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems.”[5]  I found all sorts of programs, but none that got my heart beating.  I resigned myself to maybe having a conversation with admissions for Portland Seminary, though I was adamant about not getting another ministry degree.  I need a degree that gets me out into the world and puts letters behind my name that helps me get invited to the table and a DMin just wouldn’t do that.  I spoke with our dear friend Michael Simmons, and he liked my idea, and when I asked if I ‘fit’ the DMin model, he said yes, but I also see you fitting in to DLGP!  What is that? I had never heard of it and the second he explained this course I was sold.  However, I know that I still often feel imposter syndrome and a little like a square trying to fit in a hole, but here I stand…. faking it until I make it!
  1. Find a coach or mentor! Leadership is a lonely place to be and a scary place at times.  “I believe there exists throughout America today a rampant sabotaging of leaders who try to stand tall amid the raging anxiety storms of our time.” [6]  Finding someone who sees the gold in you as you look for gold in other’s is necessary.   Find a mentor who offers Grace because “Grace gives us the courage to look under the hood of our life and leadership.” [7]
  1. If all of these steps yield no Doctorate for you, then you could always become famous and an Honorary Doctorate could be yours!

[1] Meyer, J. and Land, R. Overcoming Barriers to Student Understanding: Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. London: Routledge, 2006. Pg 5

[2] Kleon, Austin. Steal Like an Artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative. New York: Workman Publishing Company, 2012, 2022.  Pg 41.

[3] Ibid, 81.

[4] Ibid, 29.

[5] Ibid, 19.

[6]  Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in age of the Quick Fix.  New York: Seabury Books, 2007. Pg 2.

[7] Comacho, Tom. Mining for Gold ;Developing Kingdom Leaders through Coaching. London, InterVarsity Press, 2019. 48.

About the Author


Jana Dluehosh

Jana serves as a Spiritual Care Supervisor for Signature Hospice in Portland, OR. She chairs the corporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee as well as presents and consults with chronically ill patients on addressing Quality of Life versus and alongside Medical treatment. She has trained as a World Religions and Enneagram Spiritual Director through an Anam Cara apprenticeship through the Sacred Art of Living center in Bend, OR. Jana utilizes a Celtic Spirituality approach toward life as a way to find common ground with diverse populations and faith traditions. She has mentored nursing students for several years at the University of Portland in a class called Theological Perspectives on Suffering and Death, and has taught in the Graduate Counseling program at Portland Seminary in the Trauma Certificate program on Grief.

12 responses to “How to Steal a Doctorate in 5 easy steps!”

  1. mm Kim Sanford says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, Jana. Your “Steal a Doctorate” approach had me laughing and I also appreciated hearing a bit about your journey. I’m curious where you are in Step 4 ? Have you found a coach that you’re comfortable with? How often do you meet? I would imagine, given the context you described, that an extra measure of grace and support is essential for your work!

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      Thanks Kim! I honestly have not found a coach. I am a Spiritual Director and have had a lot of Spiritual Direction. My mom is a Life Coach and spiritual director, or was before she retired, so I am seriously thinking about Leadership coaching myself. In my work, I often feel alone without mentors. I have recently found my supervisors are definitely in a category of mentoring me as I am now a supervisor myself, and in healthcare there is a lot to that and supervising Chaplains is especially challenging as they are smart, reflective and sometimes very difficult:). I include myself in that. I have a great coach for my Diversity, equity and inclusion work. So I don’t have A coach, but I have a few mentors and they hit different categories for me:)

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      Happy Birthday Kim!

  2. Adam Harris says:

    Enjoyed so much about your post, especially the quote you shared, Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: invite others to wonder with you”. This is where I am right now with my NPO. I wonder why more people are not talking about these ideas and discoveries? I wonder why churches in my area are unaware of this approach to the Bible? The good news is I am finding more and more people who are wondering the same thing and doing something about it.

    Then the wonder shifts too: “I wonder what God is doing in the world today?” I wonder what small part I can play in that?” Wonder is so hopeful and opens up the possibilities to create and participate in something amazing. Love hearing your journey of wonder and how you’re discovering what God is doing in the world through you.

    What are you wondering right now at this point of the NPO process?

  3. mm Jana Dluehosh says:

    Thank you Adam! I have a lot of “wonderings” at this point in my process. I am surprised and then surprised that I am surprised because I have always started something with such confidence and finally start listening to my heart more deeply and realize I was slightly off. I am still pursuing my NPO as the world absolutely needs healthcare to start having some courage around compassionate conversations around death, however, what I am wondering about now is How I am going to do this work. I don’t think I can honestly do this work within the hospice system….isn’t that weird? Partly because we are already there, but the insurance structure is robbing the soul out of hospice as it has become a HUGE money maker and so many “lacking the heart of hospice” people are starting up hospices. Some states don’t regulate this industry, so anyone can start one (they have to be qualified) but I could tomorrow start the process of my own hospice. Anyway I digress. I have begun the process of dreaming what the outcome of having a doctorate will look like for me:). I love the wonderings you are having. It really is the healthiest way to encounter the world in my opinion.

  4. Noel Liemam says:

    Thank you, Ms. Jana, for your posting on how to steal a doctorate degree. Within this first year, that is how I am feeling, I keep asking myself, am I making the right choice to be in program or am I just wasting my time and energy since I am not confident enough if I could make it. Thank you for the posting, I will try to steal this!

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      Noel, it takes me back to the very confusing NPO Stakeholder workshop we had in our orientation! The program definitely knows this causes anxiety, and it is definitely a common theme for all of us isn’t it, this imposter syndrome. I feel the greatest gift of this program so far is the peer group! We are all so different and have and bring different life experiences, and cultural backgrounds and I feel thankful to have met you Noel. Your presence is needed, appreciated and part of the gift. Thank you for being here. Keep Fakin’ it til you make it!

  5. mm Dinka Utomo says:

    I was inspired by your writing, Jana! Thank you!

    I agree that we have to ‘steal’ a lot from Jason and our PF, as well as from all our friends in our cohort.
    Anyway, I’m curious, what were your main considerations when choosing this program over a D.Min. program, and how do you see it relating to the context of your work or ministry?

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      Hi Dinka, I find myself having to gently walk through the doors of those I minister to as a Chaplain because there is just so much church trauma out there. I am pastoral, but do not approach my job that way (though some Chaplains do). For me my faith is my foundation that I do my work from, but need to be open and aware enough that I am able to meet others where they are in their meaning making. I love being outside of my context, such as sitting during ramadan with a muslim woman on Hospice as she cried because she could not participate in fasting as her faith taught. I have never received so much hospitality and acceptance than I did with this family. My faith is stronger and better because I daily encounter others who are not like me. That is why the global perspective of this degree is what sold me to the program. Within my context , if I wanted to stay a Chaplain a DMin would be perfectly appropriate, but I want to teach in all sorts of settings and as a Chaplain the amount of times I’ve had the door shut on me before I can even knock is a barrier that I face in our broken church trauma world, I don’t want it to be a barrier for me to present and speak into the world. Does that answer your question Dinka? Oh, and I also love that it is a practical doctorate, research and writing is not my strength, but speaking and authentic relationship is, so a practical doctorate won me over, rather then pursuing a PhD or EdD.

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