It is said that the earning of a Ph.D. is like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

The tiredness, the frustration, the never-ending writing and revision feels like leveling a huge mountain with a pick axe.

Kimone Charlize Joseph, the Head of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, Dominica is experiencing the feeling now that she has taken the final step on this long and arduous academic journey.

Dr. Joseph was informed by the UWI recently that she had earned a Doctor of Education degree with High Commendation.

"It was an honour for me and my family," Dr. Joseph told DBS news. "It was very difficult to be at work fulltime and pursue my degree." Dr. Francis O. Severin, UWI's Director of Open Campus Country Sites, and Dr. Joseph's mentor and supervisor, said Dr. Joseph's achievement was personally gratifying.

"Her accomplishment is part of what I have perceived to be Dr. Joseph's "fiercely" independent nature - an attribute I hold in high regard," Dr. Severin said in a comment on Dr. Joseph's achievement. "This is a young lady who is discerning, thoughtful, strong, purposeful and prides herself on being an independent thinker and diligent worker. Many women of her age, older and much younger can learn so much from her example".

He added: "It is when I ponder that we have some young professionals (not as many as would be ideal) like Dr. Joseph, my hopes for the future of Dominica and the Caribbean are lifted. In a month we celebrate Black History, I believe Dr. Joseph's academic achievement is evidentiary data of our progress generally, and the fundamental role of The UWI Open Campus and the University as a whole in advancing our people resources. We are indebted (in more ways than one) to this great institution. Dr. Joseph has already had a meaningful impact on Dominica".

Dr. Joseph, 39, a graduate of the Convent High School also holds a MA degree in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

To earn her Ph. D, Dr. Joseph produced a dissertation entitled: First-year Students Retention in Online Undergraduate Programmes in Dominica."

The study, according to the abstract to the dissertation, aimed at discovering why some students who enrolled and completed at least one course, in what would have been their first year, later abandoned their effort to earn their first degree.

"The overall objective of the study therefore is to provide a research-based stepping stone that may allow educational leaders at this and similar tertiary-level institutions to know the risk factors associated with student attrition in online programmes, and thus be able to strategically implement policies and practices to improve retention rates," the Abstract stated.