May 27, 2024  

Leadership EdS

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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.  All work has to be completed within 7 years.

The Leadership Program

  • Is established on the idea of developing expertise 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.

  • From year one participants start the development of a portfolio documenting the development of significant learing in the competency areas.
  • Throughout the course of study, participants share their learning and professional accomplishments related to the development of their competencies during the monthly meetings of their Leadership and Learning Group.
  • Participants engage in peer-evaluation of individual achievement is on the basis of demonstrated competence in the Leadership and Learning Groups.
  • Throughout the course of study, individual achievement is progressively evaluated by faculty on the basis of demonstrated competencies.
  • The program is completed when the participant has demonstrated achievement of at least 15 competencies.  (see list of competencies below).
  • Demonstration of achievements is documented in a portfolio that is assembled throughout the program and presented for validation to a faculty team at the end of the program.
  • The portfolio includes a completed doctoral dissertation that has been defended, and approved and proof of sumission of a publishable research-based manuscript to a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

       Program Delivery

This program is offered only as an interactive online program (see School of Distance Education and International Partnerships  Definitions). The online courses follow fixed enrollment with semester start and end dates.  Participants interact with each other and with instructor throughout all courses.  They are also part of a learning group which meets regularly for mutual support and accountability, and to engage in significant sharing and evaluation of learning related to competency development.  The program requires two week on-campus attendance in the first year; and three day on-campus attendance in subsequent years for the annual Leadership Conference and Roundtable and other planned learning events designed to support participants in specific areas of their program (e.g.: research boot camps) organized in connection with the Annual Conference.  Students are also encouraged to come to campus for graduation.

EdS Course Requirements: Total Credits - 36

Core Requirements


EdS are required to complete an EdS Research project under the supervision of a project committee.

Portfolio Requirement

The EdS in Leadership is earned through the development of at least 15 competencies which are developed by participant in their educational professional context and documented in a portfolio.  Participants develop their portfolio throughout the course of their program.  When the portfolio has been signed off by their Leadership & Learning Group the participant writes a synthesis paper, and present the portfolio in a formal presentation to a faculty panel.  This final process usually takes at least a full semester.

Additional Program Requirements

  • Participate in the on-campus program orientation.
  • Register for LEAD 600  : every summer and participate in the on-campus conference and roundtable
  • Register for LEAD 605 : LLP Group, every semester and meet regularly with a Leadership and Learning Group for the primary purpose of sharing evidence of ongoing learning in connection with competency development and signing off competencies. 
  • Maintain employment throughout the program.
  • Complete the development and presentation of a portfolio based on the participant’s LLP. The portfolio must document the satisfactory completion of the required competencies.
  • PhD/EdD participants submit a research-based article to a peer-reviewed publication in collaboration with their faculty committee.

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.
  • Complete all credits within the seven years of your regular program time.
  • Attend the annual Leadership Conference.
  • Meet financial obligations to the university.
  • Maintain employment throughout the program.
  • EdD/PhD participants 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.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should read the Graduate Admissions Requirements section of this bulletin.

Additional recommendations and interviews may be requested prior to formal admission to the program. Only a limited number of participants are admitted each year, so applicants should apply early.

Specific Admission Requirements:

  • Normally a completed master’s degree.
  • A sample of your best writing (e.g.: a research paper or a published article).
  • A successful interview with one or more members of the Leadership faculty.
  • A minimum of five years of professional work experience in a leadership setting for the doctorate or three years for the MA.
  • Full-time in a leadership position in which competencies can be demonstrated. This environment, which is the participant’s place of employment, provides the “laboratory” for developing and demonstrating expertise in the competency areas and for preparing the portfolio.

Applicants must commit to participate in:

  • The initial Leadership Orientation.
  • Regularly scheduled Leadership and Learning Group meetings, typically on a monthly basis but at least seven times a year.
  • The Annual Leadership Conference.
  • Regular online communication. The participant is responsible for keeping abreast of announcements and program updates presented by faculty and staff via e-mail and the Leadership website.


Program Outcomes

Initially, the participant prepares a Leadership and Learning Plan (LLP) which becomes his/her course of study. During the course of study participants develop a portfolio to document mastery in at least 15 competencies, including three research competencies which include the writing and defending of a doctoral dissertation. Completion is achieved after the successful completion of the portfolio. This course of study translates into at least 60 semester credits.

The 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—Leaders function within the context of multiple perspectives and understands how their own worldview influences their practice.
    2. Ethics, values, and spirituality—Leaders function from a set of principles and standards that guides their work and all their relationships with others.
    3. Learning and human development—Leaders understand the principles of learning and are 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—Leaders foster effective communication in all internal and external interactions, to establish and maintain cooperative relationships.
    2. Mentor/coach—Leaders promote relationships that are trust-centered, providing the kind of empowerment that results in personal and performance improvement toward satisfying mutual objectives.
    3. Social responsibility—Leaders understand social systems and are accountable to others and endeavor 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. Leaders sets direction in ways that facilitate achievement of organizational goals.
    1. Resource development, human and financial—Leaders appropriately allocate and manage human and financial resources for healthy and strategic outcomes.
    2. Legal and policy issues—Leaders apply and understand the scope of legal and policy structures appropriate for their field.
    3. Organizational behavior, development, and culture—Leaders understand personal, group, and inter-group behaviors, and how they impact organizational history, needs, and goals.
    4. Implementing change—Leaders work with others in order to collaboratively shape the vision and strategy for change, and are capable of facilitating the change process.
    5. Evaluation and assessment—Leaders use 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 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-reviewed journal is required as part of the research competencies, documented by the decision letter from the editor of the journal.
    1. Reading and evaluating research—Leaders critique the adequacy of research reports, conducts literature reviews using electronic sources, and relate research to the body of knowledge in their professional field.
    2. Conducting research—Leaders understand the logic and processes of scientific inquiry, explain major research methodologies, formulate empirically driven research problems, select appropriate research designs, explain standards for data collection, and conduct basic data collection and analysis.
    3. Reporting and publishing research—Leaders adequately communicate research findings and implement the findings in the workplace.
  5. Individually Chosen Options:  One required.  Additional options may be chosen, if needed.

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