Superb Faculty Makes for an ‘Amazing Experience’ Says San José Gateway PhD Program Graduate


When asked how it feels to have completed her doctorate in the San José Gateway PhD program, Mary-Jo Romaniuk rejoiced in her achievement, saying, “It is a wonderful feeling being done.” She quickly added, “I continue to be interested in leadership and leadership research, so the dissertation represents a beginning for me, not an end.” Romaniuk wrote her final dissertation on leadership development and was awarded her PhD in October 2014. She is the sixth individual to complete a doctorate in the international doctoral program, which is offered in a partnership between the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Romaniuk credits the superb faculty at both SJSU and QUT with making her doctoral program experience “incredible.” “In the global environment in which we live and work, this was truly a global program,” explained Romaniuk. “It was an amazing experience to have the brightest and best minds from two institutions—QUT and the iSchool at SJSU—as supervisors and faculty support.”

Romaniuk, who has just begun a five-year term as university librarian at the University of Manitoba, first became interested in the question of how to develop leadership when she was working as director of learning services at the University of Alberta. “The library profession has been very concerned about ensuring that there was a new generation of leaders ready to step in when the Boomers all retired,” she explained. And that concern was not unique to the information profession. “When I started looking at the statistics and research, it became apparent that all of society and just about every profession and organization was concerned about future leadership.”  

In the course of discussing leadership development strategies with other experts, such as SJSU School of Information Professor Emeritus and former Director Dr. Ken Haycock, Romaniuk realized that very little research had been done about what worked and what did not. Once Romaniuk began conducting her own research, she realized that self-efficacy, or self-confidence, seemed to be the key to the successful development of leaders in many cases, but there was little data available to assess self-efficacy development.

Romaniuk’s dissertation, “Developing Emerging Leaders in the Library Profession: Program Content, Self-Efficacy and Leadership,” analyzed new data on self-efficacy in the field of leadership development. According to Romaniuk’s abstract, “The research will inform those interested in leadership development and in evaluating, developing or improving leadership development interventions.”

Looking back on her experience in the San José Gateway PhD program, Romaniuk said that she is particularly grateful for the support she received from faculty at the SJSU School of Information and at QUT. “I had fantastic supervisors, and I can’t thank my supervisors Dr. Ken Haycock, Dr. Helen Partridge, and Dr. Christine Bruce enough for their guidance and support,” said Romaniuk. “I also am truly grateful for the support of the QUT faculty who were always at our summer residency, and, of course, the dedicated and ever present faculty from SJSU and all my fellow students.” For Romaniuk, “The program proved to be everything that I wanted in a PhD program.”

Romaniuk enrolled in the research-focused PhD program in 2008, after having earned her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the SJSU School of Information.  Congratulations to Romaniuk on her impressive achievement.