Jun 25, 2024  

Leadership PhD

Program Description

The Leadership program represents a new concept in graduate education. It is offered by the School of Education as an international and interdisciplinary collaborative graduate program.
It is designed to meet the needs of mid-career leaders and to provide an innovative and highly flexible program allowing self-motivated learners the opportunity to pursue an EdS, EdD or PhD degree in the context of a learning community, without requiring a move of their families or a break in their careers. Participants in this interdisciplinary program come from a variety of professional backgrounds including healthcare, business, education, pastoring, the military, and government.

For a more detailed program description visit the Additional Program Information section.

Program Delivery

This program is offered only as an interactive online program (see School of Distance Education Definitions). The online courses follow fixed enrollment with semester start and end dates.  Participants interact with each other and with instructor throughout all courses.  The online program requires two week on-campus attendance in the first year; and three day on-campus attendance in subsequent years.  Students are also encouraged to come to campus for graduation.

Total Credits: 90

A Leadership PhD student may take 90 or more credits based on variable credit courses.

Degree Core


Additional Requirements

  • Participate in the on-campus program orientation.
  • Meet regularly with a Leadership and Learning Group for the primary purpose of sharing and signing off competencies.
  • Maintain employment throughout the program.
  • Complete the development and presentation of a portfolio based on the participants LLP. The portfolio must document the satisfactory completion of the required competencies.

Maintaining Active Status

To maintain active status in the Leadership program the participant must:

  • Make appropriate progress in fulfilling the LLP.
  • Maintain contact with the advisor.
  • Register every semester.
  • Attend the annual Leadership Conference.
  • Meet financial obligations to the university.
  • Maintain employment throughout the program.
  • A EdD/PhD participant must maintain active status a minimum of six years of their allocated seven.
  • Show evidence of progress through regular competency evaluations by self, LLG and faculty.

Program Electives

As needed, in consultation with your advisor.

Admission Requirements

Application Process


Program Outcomes

Completion of the EdS in Leadership is achieved only after the development of a portfolio demonstrating mastery in at least 15 competencies.

The participant prepares a Leadership and Learning Plan (LLP) which becomes his/her course of study. The course of study translates into at least 64 semester credits.

Competencies of the Program

Leadership requires theoretical knowledge and practical application in the following core competencies:

  1. Leadership and the Self: This cluster of competencies focuses on the self awareness and the personal and professional identity required when practicing leadership.
    1. Philosophical foundations—Leadership functions within the context of multiple perspectives and understands how their own worldview influences their practice.
    2. Ethics, values, and spirituality—Leadership functions from a set of principles and standards that guides their work and all their relationships with others.
    3. Learning and human development—Leadership understands the principles of learning and is committed to and practices continuous personal, interpersonal and organizational learning.
  2. Leadership with Others: This cluster of competencies focuses on the interpersonal aspects of leadership. Growth and development of others is an essential function of leadership.
    1. Effective communication—Leadership fosters effective communication in all internal and external interactions, to establish and maintain cooperative relationships.
    2. Mentor/coach—Leadership promotes relationships that are trust-centered, providing the kind of empowerment that results in personal and performance improvement toward satisfying mutual objectives.
    3. Social responsibilities—Leadership understands social systems and is accountable to others and endeavors to see that family, community, and environmental needs are met in local and, as appropriate, in global ways.
  3. Leadership through Organizations: This cluster of competencies focuses on the organizational aspects of leadership. Leadership sets direction in ways that facilitiate achievement of organizational goals.
    1. Resource development, human and financial—Leadership appropriately allocates and manages human and financial resources for healthy and strategic outcomes.
    2. Legal and policy issues—Leadership applies and understands the scope of legal and policy structures appropriate for their field.
    3. Organizational behavior, development, and culture—Leadership understands personal, group, and inter-group behaviors, and how they impact organizational history, needs, and goals.
    4. Implementing change—Leadership involves working with others in order to collaboratively shape the vision and strategy for change, as well as being capable of facilitating the change process.
    5. Evaluation and assessment—Leadership uses appropriate evaluation and assessment tools to make decisions about programs and plans.
  4. Leadership and Research: This cluster of competencies focuses on the need to use data to communicate, persuade, and make decisions, and to contribute to the knowledge base for leadership. Competence in research needs to include both qualitative and quantitative methods. Research skills are often necessary while engaging in organizational development, assessment, and evaluation, and other leadership projects. A research paper for publication in a peer review source is required as part of this research competency, documented by the decision letter from the editor of the peer review journal.
    1. Reading and evaluating research—Leadership critiques the adequacy of research reports, conducts literature reviews using electronic sources, and relates research to the body of knowledge in their professional field.
    2. Conducting research—Leadership understands the logic and processes of scientific inquiry, explains major research methodologies, formulates empirically driven research problems, selects appropriate research designs, explains standards for data collection, and conducts basic data collection and analysis.
    3. Reporting and implementing research—Leadership adequately communicates research findings and implements the findings in the workplace.
  5. Individually Chosen Options:  One required.  Additional options may be chosen, if needed.

Additional Program Information

The Leadership Program:

  • Is established on the idea of developing and demonstrating competency in several key areas.
  • Gives each participant the opportunity to design and carry out a Leadership and Learning Plan (LLP) in order to fulfill competency requirements.
  • Allows participants to demonstrate competence through the oral presentation of a portfolio, which includes a written synthesis paper.
  • Fosters collaboration and cooperation among its participants.

Characteristics of the Program

The program allows the self-directed learner to participate in a dynamic-action agenda devoted to service. The program’s strengths are evident in several ways:

The Leadership Program is learner-driven. The participant works with an advisor and develops a plan of study with course work and directed activities to fit his/her needs. An extraordinary amount of personal ownership by the participant is critical for satisfactory completion of the program.

The Leadership Program is life-embedded. Participants are encouraged to use their work and life experience as the basic context to demonstrate the Leadership competencies.

The Leadership Program is competency-based. Although not listing a prescribed set of courses, the program is designed around a set of competencies, including both skill and knowledge-based areas necessary to demonstrate competence.

The Leadership Program builds a learning community. The participants collaborate in study groups and learn through various media.

The Leadership Program is flexible. The flexibility allows the educational needs, career goals, and past experience of the participant to play an important part in the development of an individualized plan of study and development.

The Leadership Program builds important bonds among its participants. The participants become partners in learning, both with faculty members and other participants. This process is enhanced by involvement in orientation activities, seminars, learning groups, and through continued contact and discussion via the Internet, and other forms of telecommunication.

The Leadership Program evaluates achievement.

• Throughout the course of study, individual achievement is evaluated on the basis of demonstrated competencies.
• The program is completed when the participant has demonstrated achievement of at least 15 competencies.
• Demonstration of achievements is documented in a portfolio that is assembled throughout the program. The portfolio is presented for validation to a faculty team at the end of the program.
• For the EdS degree a research project is completed and approved.
• For the EdD and PhD degrees, a doctoral dissertation must be completed, defended, and approved.