The Doctor of Education in educational leadership program is an advanced study in a cohort setting with emphasis on the educational leader as a scholar-practitioner. Students interested in the doctoral program must have successfully completed a master’s degree in educational leadership, higher education or a related field of coursework, and must complete all application documents and requirements of the department and Research and Graduate Studies guidelines.
The Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership is a terminal degree offered by the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership in the James I. Perkins College of Education . The purpose is to provide advanced preparation in educational leadership and a specific focus on the leader as a scholar-practitioner. It is specifically designed to prepare scholar-practitioners in advanced leadership with courses in leadership theory and practice; educational research; ethics and philosophy; organizational, system and human dynamics; and synthesis applied to public school leadership. As indicated below, the Doctor of Education in leadership builds on a master’s degree and thus has admission and degree requirements from lower-level graduate degrees. A higher education cognate, superintendent cognate with certification, curriculum cognate or research cognate can be completed as part of the degree.
Admission to the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership program is determined by the Doctoral Faculty Council within the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership and Research and Graduate Studies. To apply, an applicant should:
- obtain application forms from the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership
- obtain application forms from Research and Graduate Studies
- fill out the forms and complete all required application materials and fees and append to them the necessary undergraduate and graduate degree transcripts, as well as scores of the general test of the Graduate Record Examination
- and return all forms and credentials respectively to the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership and Research and Graduate Studies. A letter of application indicating academic and professional interests should be sent directly to the doctoral program coordinator in the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership. A list of references should be included with the letter of application as outlined in the application forms.
To be considered for admission to the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership program, an applicant must:
- hold a master’s degree in a related field of study from an accredited graduate school or university
- demonstrate the capacity and capability with at least a 3.5 (4.0 scale) average of coursework completed for the master’s degree
- have successfully completed within the last 10 years a composite score in the range of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE taken prior to Aug. 1, 2011, or a composite score in the range of 300 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE taken after Aug. 1, 2011
- have completed a professional leadership profile as outlined in the application forms
- have successfully delivered a professional presentation to the Doctoral Faculty Council as part of the application process
- have successfully completed a 30 minute timed writing sample conducted by members of the Doctoral Faculty Council as part of the application process
- have successfully participated in an interview process conducted by members of the Doctoral Faculty Council
- and be admitted to the degree program by the Doctoral Faculty Council.
An applicant from a foreign country must apply for the Doctor of Education program through the Office of International Programs (information can be found in the Student Services section). International students must meet the same requirements for admission as a student from the United States. In addition, if any applicant’s primary language is not English, the applicant must meet any requirements set forth by the Doctoral Faculty Council and/or present a minimum 79 score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language or a minimum 6.5 score on the International English Language Testing System. For admission to a doctoral program, an applicant must submit all the required forms and credentials, including official transcripts for all secondary and post-secondary schools with all courses taken and grades received, official GRE score and be admitted prior to taking core coursework in the program.
Doctoral Faculty Council
After admission to the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership program, and within the first year of study, the doctoral program coordinator will meet with the Doctoral Faculty Council to determine assignment of the individual student’s doctoral advisor, who will be a member of the Doctoral Faculty Council. The doctoral program coordinator and the Doctoral Faculty Council will formally review each student’s progress a minimum of two times - at the completion of the first year and at the completion of the second year of study. At these times, the doctoral program coordinator and Doctoral Faculty Council will determine the readiness of each student for moving forward in the program. Following the second year, and upon a successful review as determined by the Doctoral Faculty Council, the student will select a dissertation chair.
Doctoral Dissertation Research Committee
Upon appointment of the dissertation committee chair, each student will meet with her/his respective chair and begin selection of the dissertation research committee members. The committee will consist of a maximum of five members with no fewer than two members of the Doctoral Faculty Council selected who are representative of the student’s several fields of study and research. One member of the committee must be from outside the Department of Secondary Education and qualify for graduate faculty status. Throughout the student’s program, the committee as a whole and the individual committee members are responsible for advising the student and initiating all academic actions concerning the student. The dissertation research committee will function as a formal research team, guiding the design, development and implementation of the student’s dissertation research study. The committee as a whole and individually will facilitate the student in each step of the dissertation research process. The dissertation committee chair, who will hold primary supervisory responsibility for the student’s research and dissertation, and the Final Dissertation Defense, will work in concert with all members of the committee to affect successful completion of all elements of the student’s program, research and dissertation. The student, with approval of the dissertation committee chair, will be responsible for completing all forms related to the doctoral program and required by the department, college and university. The student, under the supervision of the dissertation committee chair, will meet all requirements for proposing her/his research to the Institutional Review Board for review and approval prior to implementation of the research.
Complete information concerning the requirements for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership may be secured from the chair of the Department of Secondary Education and Educational Leadership or Research and Graduate Studies. A summary of the basic requirements follows.
The degree program is offered as a cohort design, which precludes self-selection into any required course related to the program of study. All students granted admission to the degree program will be members of a cohort and must complete all coursework as a member of the cohort for which they were admitted in the related academic year of admission. In the event of withdrawal from the cohort program by the student, and upon election by the student to seek re-entry to the program, a student will provide a written request to meet with the Doctoral Faculty Council for review and consideration of request for continuance in the degree program.
Beyond the master’s degree, a student must complete a total of at least 66 semester hours of graduate coursework. This will include work in leadership, research, philosophy and ethics, policy and politics, change theory, cultural and societal issues, field-oriented internship, and dissertation research. The student will successfully complete two courses in synthesis seminar (Synthesis Seminar I and II) designed to integrate, synthesize and evaluate the major concepts encountered in the coursework completed preceding each seminar. The student must demonstrate her/his successful completion of coursework as a scholar-practitioner leader, as assessed jointly by the student and the Doctoral Faculty Council through a portfolio assessment process.
Additionally, the student must present a dissertation that demonstrates an approved research study in educational leadership or a related area of educational study. The scope and breadth of the program originates from an emphasis on the leader as a scholar-practitioner.
A candidate for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership degree must demonstrate an acceptable level of verbal and written proficiency with the English language to the satisfaction of the dissertation research committee and Doctoral Faculty Council. Included in this requirement is the criteria that each candidate must satisfy the requirements of scholarly writing as determined by the assessment of the student’s portfolio. In the case of a student (either international or from within the United States) failing to meet the requirements for spoken and written English and scholarly writing, the Doctoral Faculty Council will determine a course of action that may include a separate course in English as a second language, writing and/or successful completion of the TOEFL examination prior to advancing to candidacy for the Doctor of Education degree.
Synthesis of Leadership Knowledge
Prior to advancement toward and admission to candidacy, the student formally presents her/his portfolio during Synthesis Seminar I and II for review by the cohort members and assessment by the Doctoral Faculty Council. The student must demonstrate competence in successful completion of both Synthesis Seminar I and II, determined by the Doctoral Faculty Council, as a critical point of consideration for admission to candidacy. In each case, the student’s work in the synthesis seminars will be evaluated at the end of each seminar. Subsequent to completion of each synthesis seminar, the Doctoral Faculty Council will review each student’s overall progress in the program and make a determination on advancement in the program. The student’s portfolio will be a consideration point in this review. In the case of concern on the part of the Doctoral Faculty Council related to a student’s progress, the council will meet and determine an appropriate action as related to the student’s case.
The portfolio will constitute the formal assessment process for determining a student’s eligibility to move to candidacy. At intervals determined by the Doctoral Faculty Council, the student will present her/his portfolio for review as a work in progress and to demonstrate successful progress in the student’s preparation as a scholar-practitioner leader. Prior to admission to candidacy, the student must present her/his completed leadership portfolio for review by the Doctoral Faculty Council. Evidence of the student’s scholarship, research and inquiry skills, academic accomplishments, and growth as a scholar-practitioner leader will be included in the portfolio. Each portfolio will contain both student-selected and faculty-selected items with the primary emphasis placed on the student for self-selecting the evidence to be reviewed in support of her/his continuation in the degree program and admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership.
The residency requirement is assurance that the student has opportunities to benefit from the advantage of a university environment and is directly related to a student being an active member of the cohort program. The residency will build within the structure of the cohort program and affords opportunity for students to share in common experiences and develop as members of a professional learning community. The residency requirement is completion of two consecutive semesters of nine semester hours each.
Field studies and internships are integral components of the program. Each student will be required to successfully complete two internship experiences. Each internship experience will be a field-oriented experience related to policy studies, practical inquiry and authentic activities related to educational leadership. The student, and her/his doctoral advisor, will work together in the design of each internship experience. The internship experience will be linked to the doctoral studies curriculum and the student’s professional goals. At such time when it is appropriate, the doctoral advisor and doctoral student will contact the field-based entity who will host the interning doctoral student and establish necessary linkages to support the internship. At no time will the student make arrangement for an internship experience prior to the doctoral advisor’s approval.
The doctoral program coordinator and the Doctoral Faculty Council will review procedures and requirements for the internship experiences, and the doctoral advisor will have primary responsibility for final approval of the internship experience. The internship proposal will be submitted to the doctoral program coordinator for review. Students must complete two internships in a field-oriented setting prior to admission to candidacy.
At the time of the student’s admission to candidacy, all completed coursework included in her/his degree program must have been taken within the sequence of courses of the core. If the degree is not completed within three years after her/his admission to candidacy, the candidate’s work is subject each semester thereafter to a review by the Dissertation Research Committee and/or Doctoral Faculty Council, at which time a recommendation will be made concerning any new requirements adopted in the interim, additional coursework, or termination of candidacy. Recommendations of the Doctoral Research Committee and/or Doctoral Faculty Council are forwarded through the dean of the College of Education to the dean of Research and Graduate Studies.
The Doctoral Faculty Council and the Doctoral Research Committee retain the discretionary right to administer interim, cumulative or other types of examination at any time during the degree program.
Admission to Candidacy
After the student has successfully completed all required coursework filed with the dean of the College of Education, a formal review of her/his leadership portfolio by the Doctoral Faculty Council, a dissertation proposal approved by her/his Dissertation Research Committee, and the Dissertation Research Committee has formally recommended her/him for admission to candidacy, the dean of Research and Graduate Studies will notify the student of her/his admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership degree. Grades of WH present specific consequences for doctoral program students. The grade of WH could delay or deny the student acceptance to candidacy since completion of all coursework is a requirement for such advancement. The student must have been admitted to candidacy at least one semester before her/his degree is conferred.
Dissertation and Final Defense
Required of every candidate for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership, the dissertation is a significant contribution of research which reflects the beliefs undergirding the degree program of the leader as a scholar-practitioner, responsible and disciplined inquiry in the candidate’s major area of study, and an authentic contribution to scholarship. The minimum number of dissertation hours is 12. The format of the dissertation must be acceptable to the Doctoral Faculty Council and Research and Graduate Studies. A dissertation guide will be provided in the required proposal writing course (AED 682 ).
While enrolled in a dissertation course, the student will defend the dissertation proposal and apply for candidacy. The student must have been admitted to candidacy at least one semester before the degree is conferred. No student shall be admitted to candidacy for the degree until such time that her/his research proposal has been approved by her/his Dissertation Research Committee and/or the Doctoral Faculty Council, and her/his research proposal for the dissertation submitted to the dean of Research and Graduate Studies for final approval.
By the date indicated in the current Graduate Bulletin, the candidate must have:
- copies of the dissertation in final form on official bond paper incorporating all suggestions and corrections approved by the candidate’s Dissertation Research Committee. At this point, each copy of the dissertation must adhere to the dissertation guidelines for the program and contain an abstract page not exceeding one page and a vita page not exceeding one page. Until the candidate has passed the final dissertation defense, the dissertation remains unsigned and is not approved.
- a completed application for dissertation defense. The application for dissertation defense schedules the final dissertation defense and should be submitted a minimum of two weeks before the proposed date for the defense. Each Dissertation Research Committee member must sign the application form prior to the defense date being approved. Normally, the defense is conducted during regular class days in the fall, spring or summer semester.
- and a receipt for payment of fees to the university library for registering, binding, shipping and ScholarWorks. Dissertations submitted for university ScholarWorks may be copyrighted by completing a special form available in the university library and paying the appropriate fee. Publication by ScholarWorks does not preclude subsequent publication of the dissertation or any of its parts. With the written recommendation of the supervising professor, the dean of Research and Graduate Studies may agree to delay publication by ScholarWorks for one year to protect patent and other rights.
By the date set each semester by Research and Graduate Studies as the deadline for defense, the candidate for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership must pass the final dissertation defense, conducted by the student’s Dissertation Defense Committee. This defense must not be scheduled until after each committee member has had sufficient time, as determined by the committee, to examine the dissertation. The final dissertation defense will be limited to the research area of study for which the student has completed her/his research and to the dissertation document submitted for defense. After the final dissertation defense, the Dissertation Defense Committee will complete the Report of the Dissertation Defense.
If the candidate has passed the final dissertation defense, an electronic copy of the dissertation will be presented with the Report of the Final Dissertation Defense to the dean of Research and Graduate Studies. The Report of the Final Dissertation Defense, when signed by the Dissertation Defense Committee, is the committee’s guarantee that the candidate has completed the work assigned by the committee; passed all examinations, defenses, reviews and assessments required by the department, including portfolio review; completed a dissertation that is a significant contribution of research that reflects the undergirding foundation of the leader as scholar-practitioner; and submitted for publication in dissertation abstracts an abstract approved by the committee.
Transfer of Credit on Doctor of Education with Emphasis in Educational Leadership
The degree program requires that each student enter the program with a completed master’s and that each student must complete 66 hours of advanced graduate coursework. Transfer from another university of six hours for doctoral elective credit as approved by the doctoral coordinator is available to the student. In all matters pertaining to the degree program, the Doctoral Faculty Council will review individual student cases in accordance with the program and Research and Graduate Studies policy and procedures. Twelve hours of approved credit of courses required for superintendent certification that were attained at SFA can be applied to the doctoral degree as approved by the doctoral coordinator.
Application for the Doctor of Education with Emphasis in Educational Leadership
Application for the Doctor of Education with emphasis in educational leadership must be filed in the graduation office by the deadline indicated in the current Graduate Bulletin. A student must be formally registered at SFA for the semester or summer session at the end of which the degree is to be conferred.
Doctoral Program Course Requirements
The Doctor of Education in educational leadership program is an advanced study in a cohort setting. A student must take a minimum total of 66 semester hours of graduate coursework and must demonstrate her/his successful completion of coursework as a scholar-practitioner leader, as assessed jointly by the student and the Doctoral Faculty Council through a portfolio assessment process. Additionally, the student must present a dissertation which demonstrates the successful design, development, implementation, completion and defense of an approved research study in educational leadership, or a related area of educational study. The scope and breadth of the program originates from an emphasis on the leader as a scholar-practitioner.