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The Educational Leadership Program is designed as a 97-credit three-year, cohort-based doctorate. For those who wish to earn the P-12 Superintendent certificate, 6 additional credits are required in order to meet all state competencies, therefore, 103 credits will be required.

The curriculum organizes the preparation of students for roles as educational leaders, manager/administrators and political advocates across the dimensions of leadership, diversity, accountability and learning. Coursework required of all learners emphasizes:

  • Leadership theory and evidence-based practice in complex environments
  • The priority of instructional leadership in achieving student success using research to improve educational outcomes
  • Curricular and human diversity issues for educational leaders
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of organizations in demonstrating accountability through assessment and accreditation
  • Use of fiscal and human resources and capacity to meet constituent goals
  • Creating innovative problem solving strategies to improve educational practices
  • Planning for ongoing change
  • Professional role enactment, including political advocacy that exhibits high standards of legal, moral and ethical professional behavior

It is anticipated that students coming from nursing may, depending on the work environment, choose either the Nurse Education focus or the Higher Education Focus. A nurse educator who my wish to become a college administrator may choose the Higher Education Focus, while one who aspires to lead hospital professional development, may choose the Nurse Educator focus. For those who will earn the P-12 superintendent credential, there are additional competencies required by the state, which will require two additional courses than for the other strands. The entire design is intended for high rigor in the content knowledge, and flexibility for the students, based upon their prior knowledge and professional goals.

Coursework includes leadership courses, specialization courses for the three study options, and courses in research and inquiry. During the second year of study, students will participate in a practicum for leadership development that is directly related to their context of employment. Based upon conversations with their current supervisors or mentors, they will design leadership activities that will expand their leadership capacity beyond that of their current employment.

In the final year of study, students will complete a field-based dissertation in practice, which is a year-long project in which the student addresses an actual problem of practice. This must be a project outside of the student’s normal work expectations. Specifically it should demonstrate leadership at a higher level than that of current employment. It must include components of: program evaluation, literature review of extant research and policy, data collection and analysis, proposal for program improvement or other solution to the problem, and implementation of proposed solutions.  A comprehensive report including all of the above will be written and delivered to the University as well as to the employer in whose domain it was conducted. In addition, a publishable article, based on the problem of practice and solutions, will be completed.