Jul 19, 2024  
ACE Catalog - Volume 42 
ACE Catalog - Volume 42 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Leadership, Ed.D.

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Program Description

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership prepares students to contribute to their professional communities as leaders who address real-world problems through evidence-based decision-making. Doctoral students select a focus of study to complement their leadership degree coursework. In addition to high quality, project-based coursework, students will conduct original research in leadership under the direction of a dissertation committee and doctoral faculty.

Program Outcomes

  1. Collaborate in diverse communities and learn how to build partnerships within and across organizations. 
  2. Contribute to solutions for complex problems of practice with actions based upon professional models, theories, and research.  
  3. Apply, analyze, and promote best practices in leadership. 
  4. Demonstrate evidence-based decision-making, integrating principles of equity, ethics, and social justice of civic concern in local and global communities. 
  5. Develop and utilize personal- and organization-level knowledge and skills. 
  6. Demonstrate mastery of content knowledge through the utilization of critical and creative thinking.
  7. Demonstrate competence in the application of multiple research methods. 
  8. Contribute to professional knowledge bases through the dissemination of applied research. 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership program is to utilize evidence-based learning, application-based problem solving, and leadership development in an innovative and high-quality educational experience. The program prepares students to lead and serve in global, evolving, and diverse communities.

Focus of Study Options

Curriculum and Instruction  

The Curriculum and Instruction focus of study prepares students for today’s educational environments.  Today’s learning environments require understanding critical aspects of how learning happens for a diverse population spanning multiple ages.  This focus of study examines how standards shape assessment while building needed skills in content areas each strengthen by the ability to read well.    

Early Childhood Education  

The Early Childhood Education focus of study will provide an in-depth exploration of theory, research, and practical applications relevant to professionals working in the early childhood field. Students will gain advanced knowledge of developmental theories and modern early childhood practices which influence children, educators, families, stakeholders, and public policy. 

Health and Wellness  

The Health and Wellness focus of study provides students with the information necessary to expand their knowledge in the health and wellness field.  The program provides content that includes not only the fundamentals of health and wellness, but also the theories, systems, and policies.  Students enrolled in this focus of study will be provided the opportunity to learn foundational leadership skills in health education.  

Higher Education  

The Higher Education focus of study is intended to prepare administrators in acquiring or enhancing necessary skills to successfully lead higher education institutions. The courses offer a broad perspective of critical issues facing higher education, emphasizing the complexity of student concerns while balancing the demands of outside constituents, e.g. accreditors, state and federal regulators, community, students, and faculty. Designed to complement and support professional agendas, individual studies prepare leadership to understand the integrated aspects of complex systems influenced by modern societal issues.  

Instructional Leadership  

The Instructional Leadership focus of study prepares instructional students to assist their schools, organizations, and communities in moving away from less effective traditional views of teaching and learning by embracing a more proactive approach of using formative assessment data to build curriculum, design instructional delivery, and teach with the future in mind instead of solely relying on summative evaluations measuring only what has already been taught in the past. Educational and organizational leaders can then make informed decisions and learner-centered adjustments much earlier in the process, maximize all available resources, and ultimately, foster higher levels of achievement and performance within their schools or organizations.  

Instructional Technology  

The Instructional Technology focus of study supports candidates who seek to serve as technology leaders and emphasizes new ways of thinking about technology and the integration of applications. Learning how to design environments which enhance and support organizational goals are considered to maximize learning for both individual and corporate purposes. 


The Literacy focus of study provides students with a detailed examination of best practices in literacy education. Students will gain advanced knowledge of curriculum design, assessment, and leadership skills relevant to literacy education. The courses will provide the foundation to become educational leaders in the field of literacy.

Public and Nonprofit Leadership

Whether you want to assume a leadership role or learn more about a societal sector that stirs your passion, the Public and Nonprofit Leadership focus of study will sharpen your critical thinking, decision-making, and leadership skills and increase your societal and global awareness. The six courses in the sequence, including a culminating capstone, emphasize ways to make an impact on both local and global communities through public and nonprofit service. The courses address unique challenges facing public and nonprofit organizations, including societal service, structural variations, development, policymaking, funding, and political and advocacy activities.

Second Language Instruction 

The Second Language Instruction focus of study provides students with information to work with second language learners in a variety of settings. The program provides content addressing key foundational theories and research-based strategies to support the educational or instructional needs of diverse learners. Students enrolled in this focus of study can select courses which address instructional methods applicable to traditional classroom settings or they may select courses which support working with second language learners through a leadership role.   

Special Education

The Special Education focus of study will provide an in-depth exploration of theory, research, and practical applications relevant to professionals working in the special education field. Students will gain advanced knowledge of developmental theories and instructional strategies which influence children, educators, families, laws, and public policy. 

STEM Education

The STEM Education focus of study utilizes digital resources to foster the innovative engagement of diverse learners associated with the integrated contents of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The courses offer a holistic overview of historical and current issues and trends impacting integrated science education while cultivating research-based strategies to improve learning and leadership in the field. 

Course List (64 Total Semester Credits)

Choose a Six-Course Focus of Study (18 Semester Credits)

Second Language Instruction

Additional Courses (if required or desired)

Support courses to aid in dissertation completion for Ed.D. students. Courses may be required if progression is not achieved in courses OR students can elect to take courses to support their progress. If an Ed.D. student is required to take either the Research or Dissertation Boot Camp (RES6223 or RES6233) course, they will be charged for the tuition and fees associated with the Boot Camp course and not the tuition and fees associated with the dissertation sequence course they are retaking with the boot camp (RES6512, RES6521, RES6531, RES6541, or RES6551). 

CITI Training

All students pursuing advanced degrees are required to have completed a certificate of completion for the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) in Human Subjects Research. There will be no additional fee. This is strongly recommended for students who anticipate conducting dissertation research involving human subjects. The CITI offers training modules for a Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE) track, as well as additional modules of interest. More information can be found in Student Commons.  Scroll down under Doc Program Resources where you will find the CITI Program Guide.

This program also offers two additional pathways for students transferring in a completed Ed.S. degree or entering as an “All But Dissertation” (ABD) student.

A student with a confirmed 3.0 GPA in an Ed.S. program or has been confirmed to have completed all Ed.D. work besides their dissertation (ABD) at a 3.0 GPA are eligible to transfer their prior coursework/degree to ACE in its entirety and complete. Please see the Ed.S. or ABD to Ed.D. Pathway option. 


  • This program is neither designed nor approved (as of the publication date of this Catalog) to prepare students for licensure, certification, or endorsement in any state. 
  • Check availability in your state on the Programs by State section of the ACE website.

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