From Dissertation to a Book on a Doctoral Journey

Male doctoral student studying in library

It was October of 2015, and after a 36-year military career during which I was blessed to have reached the rank of major general, it was over. Work following the military was and has continued to be good, but something was missing. After a great deal of prayer, I knew the answer was to fulfill my lifelong dream of obtaining a PhD and to utilize that academic degree, along with my background and desire to make more of an impact, in the field of leadership.

In This Article: 

Why I Selected GCU for My PhD

I selected and applied to Grand Canyon University based on its reputation and credibility in the doctoral community and its Christian foundation. This was of paramount importance to me. Being part of a university committed to living out the faith within the context of a band of people carrying out a mission that centers on following Jesus Christ was a perfect match for my beliefs, values and practices. I enjoyed being able to study and share scripture during each class, and to receive heartfelt feedback from faculty members who were devoted to sharing a loving and welcoming spirit of encouragement and support.

Starting the PhD Program and Selecting My Dissertation Research Topic 

I chose the PhD in Psychology with an Emphasis on Performance Psychology. When the courses began it was an arduous process, but I found it extremely energizing and fulfilling. The required classes and internships paved the way for the dissertation process, and things started to gel.

For the benefit of fellow and prospective doctoral students, the purpose of my quantitative correlational research was to examine whether, and to what extent, command-level military officers’ spiritual intelligence and its components were correlated to their moral potency in the United States Air Force. When I first wrote that out, I thought, “Wow, I’m really sounding official and academic now!” At the end of the study, based on the finding that spiritual intelligence and its components appeared to have a significant correlation to moral potency, my research indicated that as one’s spiritual intelligence was addressed and even cultivated, the probability of consistent moral potency increased. 

From Dissertation to a Book Concept 

I was psyched up, and after passing my final board and receiving the dean’s signature, I was ready to do more. I began to research how to publish a dissertation, the process of publishing dissertations and turning dissertations into a book. My research revealed to me that how we prepare for times in our lives really matters. I began to have regular communications with a colleague of mine, Dr. Doug Lindsay, who is the executive editor for the Journal of Character & Leadership Development at the United States Air Force Academy. Together, we came up with the concept for a book using my research and my partner's experiences and research in leadership training. 

We live in a reality that exists within a temporal framework. We don’t have the certainty of knowing how much time we have left, but we do have the present. The moments in time that we live each day define us and set us in motion for the next day and the next. With this truth in mind, one’s thoughts turn to the impact we are making with the life and time we have been given. You may have asked yourself before, What is my impact? or What have I done today that has significance? These are weighty questions and are based on a number of factors, beliefs and priorities that we have imposed upon our lives. Common to all of us, however, is that we must make amends with the time we do have and the moments we live. That is exactly what this book is positioned to help us do. How can we maximize the moments that we do have to ensure that we show up to, and excel in, the moments we have?

Preparing To Publish My Dissertation as a Book 

As Dr. Lindsey and I set out to write and publish the dissertation as a book, a new journey began, and the discipline required to earn my PhD was again demanded. We set up weekly Zoom meetings and held each other accountable for our assigned tasks. We collaborated, discussed, agreed, disagreed, made adjustments, accepted and rejected inputs and progressed. We prayed and encouraged each other. We remained steadfastly committed to the project, and from this immutable connection we developed a distinct and trademarked model of a leadership concept never before expressed. The concept and model were ours — uniquely ours — and we were excited and confident to share them.

Self-Publish the Dissertation Into a Book 

Nine months from our initial discussions, after many hours of research and development, we were talking with publishing companies and finalizing our plans for turning the dissertation into a book and seeing our book in print. Finding a publishing company to fit our personalities and styles — one that offered excellent services including editing, cover design and distribution — was challenging.

We went along based on feel. My partner and I are both saved by God’s grace and we not only pray about our work and decisions; we also base many of our decisions on how we feel we are being led. We opted to self-publish and retain all the book rights — and let’s face it, the main publishing houses did not know our name and were not going to offer us deals to publish with them. We knew it would be us, the Lord, and the company he led us to work with. There are many self-publishing companies that could be used for publishing dissertations but it is important to work with one that gives you individualized attention. Onward we go! Look for our book, titled “In the Moment,” in the spring of 2024. 

Earn a Doctoral Degree From GCU

Publishing dissertations is a great way to showcase your expertise. Authoring a book can also open doors for other opportunities to build your reputation as a scholar and expert in your field. If you are ready to take the next step in your academic career, GCU’s doctoral programs can help prepare you to become a scholar-practitioner in the areas of business, leadership, healthcare, education or psychology. Complete the form on this page to get started. 

Approved by the assistant dean for the College of Doctoral Studies on April 26, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.