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About the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

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PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program is available at multiple Virginia Tech campuses across Virginia. Designed for working professionals, the program is conducted on a part- or full-time basis, with coursework that balances modern  theory with real-life practice. The vast majority of our doctoral students pursue the Ed.D., though a Ph.D. option is available.

For over forty years, the Virginia Tech Educational Leadership Doctoral Program has prepared aspiring educational administrators throughout the Commonwealth.  Ed.D. graduates leave with the skills they need to lead ethically; advance equity and social justice in educational settings; consider and implement educational policy; lead innovative practices; communicate with diverse constituents; and improve the learning and well-being of all PK-12 students. 

Approximately one-third of all School Superintendents in Virginia are graduates of our program.

Alumni of our educational leadership and policy studies program serve as school principals, central office administrators, state department of education officials, members of state boards of education, researchers, university faculty, and administrators of various colleges and universities including Virginia Tech itself.

Our Nationally Recognized Program Faculty include widely published, nationally recognized authors and researchers with an average of over 20 years of experience working with PK-12 educators.

Ed.D. students complete approximately 69 hours of coursework on a part- or full-time basis. Typically, students attend two classes – totaling 6 credit hours – per semester. Students may attend fewer credit hours in Summer I or II, or more credit hours while working on their dissertation research. Students must be enrolled in at least 3-credits and one class for continuous enrollment. Courses are conducted in the evening or asynchronously to fit the schedules of full-time educators.

LOCATIONS AND COHORTS

Virginia Tech offers the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Ed.D. program online and frequently in person at the five Virginia Tech extension sites: the Hampton Roads Center (Virginia Beach/Newport News), the Northern Virginia Center (in Falls Church), the Richmond Center, the Roanoke Higher Education Center, and the Southwest VA Higher Education Center (in Abingdon).

THE COHORT MODEL

The Ed.D. program operates on a cohort model. In other words, each site admits a new, approximately fifteen-person group – or cohort –of doctoral students every three years. The members of a given cohort all attend the same classes in the same sequence and pursue common plans of study. 

The benefits of a cohort model are many.  The cohort model is designed to facilitate social interaction, collaboration, and the formation of a supportive learning community.

Students in cohorts learn from and help each other with the successful completion of coursework and professional networking. Students who participate in cohort models generally report a strong sense of belonging and are more likely to complete their programs of study in a timely manner. 

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WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

All Ed.D. students graduate with a minimum of 69 doctoral course credits, 30 transfer credits (from previous graduate coursework), totaling at least 99 credits in total. The degree may be completed in three years, though some students take additional semesters to complete their dissertations. 

Course topics include:

  • Advanced School Law
  • Advanced School Finance
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Governance and Policy
  • Facilities Planning
  • Theories of Administration
  • Quantitative Research Methods

Each course will address relevant, contemporary issues in PK-12 education, such as standardized testing, school safety, special education, school accreditation, diversity and equity, educational policy and politics, and school improvement. 

Courses are offered face-to-face, blended/hybrid, and online for most cohorts. For the online-only cohort, all courses are delivered virtually with synchronous and asynchronous classes. 

DISSERTATION

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is not awarded solely on the basis of coursework completion. To graduate, each student must also conduct a research study culminating in the presentation and defense of a dissertation. The Ed.D. dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to investigate a practical issue in educational administration – in program evaluation, program implementation, curriculum development, or another topic agreed upon by the student’s dissertation chair and advisory committee. The majority of students write their dissertations in the traditional five-chapter format (i.e., as a research paper with an introduction, literature review, methodology section, results, and conclusion). Other options such as a journal article dissertation are available.  Students work with the dissertation chairs and committees to determine the best format for their dissertation.

Course Descriptions

A general course for students of administration in public and private schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. Content includes purposes and nature of theory in educational administration and the application of organizational theory to education. Theories of decision making, communication, leadership, climate, power, conflict, change, morale, and motivation are covered.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

The roles and responsibilities of central office (system) and building level (school) personnel in the administration of instructional programs and services. Students engage in a variety of activities designed to improve their skills in planning, organizing, delivering, and monitoring instructional programs and services within this dynamic environment. Must have administrative or supervisor certification and experience.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Policies, principles, and practices involved in the practice of public school budgeting.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Basic information needed by administrators to mount an effective planning effort within an organization; to plan, develop, and maintain satisfactory buildings to house modern educational programs; to supervise the work of other professionals and technicians in designing and constructing facilities; and to evaluate such efforts. Meets Virginia requirements for placement on the Eligible List of Division Superintendents.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Antecedents of public policy affecting education in the United States, and the relationships between policy making and implementation and educational administration.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Literature reviews in educational leadership and related fields; analysis, critique and synthesis of literature representing research, theory, applicability, and commentary in current topic of interest; preparation of initial literature review; evaluative skills used to identify well-constructed research. Pre: Graduate standing.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Influence of school law on PK-12 education; legal issues that pertain to the public schools, including in-depth analysis of accountability, employee relations, and parental and student rights, with emphasis on issues at central office level; rationale for a legally sound environment for students, faculty, and staff; Virginia and national education codes; school system policies and administrative regulations; legal research development. Pre: 5024 or equivalent.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Prerequisite(s): EDEL 5024

Education policy and practice pertaining to public school finance for educational leaders and policy makers. Equitable distribution of educational monies and resources to achieve desired student outcomes. Linking of availability of sufficient resources with a school division's ability to educate all students to the highest standards. Pre: EDEL 5034 or equivalent.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Prerequisite(s): EDEL 5034

Review and analysis of current case law and litigation related to special education. Focus on the legal system that assures children with disabilities free appropriate public education, with emphasis on due process procedures and other procedural safeguards, discipline, program accessibility, and application of the least restrictive alternative principle in special education programming.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Study of contemporary problems in various education settings such as administration, counseling, community college education, and adult and continuing education. (Maximum 3C per course).

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 3

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Critical review, presentation, and discussion of current data-based and issues-related literature, either published or presented at recent national meetings. Provides students an opportunity to amalgamate their prior course experiences to produce a draft dissertation prospectus. (Maximum 6C credit allowed toward program of study).

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 6

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 6

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Advanced applied research and/or evaluation study in one or more educational institutions or agencies. The student is graded on the basis of the design of the study and ability to conduct the study and report the results. (Maximum 12C).

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 12

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 12

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Planned program of advanced clinical practice in education through assignment under direct supervision of outstanding practitioner for periods of up to two semesters. (Maximum 24C).

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 24

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 24

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Planned program of advanced clinical practice in education through assignment under direct supervision of outstanding practitioner for periods of up to two semesters. (Maximum 24C).

Credit Hour(s): 1 TO 24

Lecture Hour(s): 1 TO 24

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

This two-course sequence is designed to provide an overview of basic research design, measurement and statistical concepts in social and behavioral research. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the process of social and educational research in field settings, hands on experience of designing and conducting research and analysis of data. I,II.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Prerequisite(s): EDRE 5404 (UG) OR EDRE 5404

This two-course sequence is designed to provide an overview of basic research design, measurement and statistical concepts in social and behavioral research. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the process of social and educational research in field settings, hands on experience of designing and conducting research and analysis of data. I,II.

Credit Hour(s): 3

Lecture Hour(s): 3

Level: Graduate

Instruction Type(s): Lecture

Prerequisite(s): EDRE 5404 (UG) OR EDRE 5404

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FACULTY

Jodie L. Brinkmann, Assistant Professor of Practice and the Program Leader, smiles broadly at the camera. She wears a formal black dress with a pearl necklace
Jodie L. Brinkmann, Assistant Professor of Practice and Program Leader
David Alexander leans causally on a balustrade
M. David Alexander, Professor
Dr. Cash poses formally with a beautiful smile, wearing a green blouse, a pearl necklace. Her brown hair is short and nicely styled
Carol Cash, Professor of Practice
John Gratto, Clinical Associate Professor
John Gratto, Clinical Associate Professor
Carol Mullen, Professor
Carol Mullen, Professor
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Ted S. Price, Visiting Assistant Professor