Community College Leadership, Ed.D.

Doctor of Education
Photo of Cohort 1 Doctoral Students

About This Degree

This Program is Not Currently Accepting Applications

This program is designed to attract faculty, staff, and administrators, especially those from underrepresented groups, who are passionate about the community college mission of access and success and want to develop or enhance leadership skills.

The Ed.D. in Community College Leadership is a practice-focused 55-credit cohort-based online program with an annual 1-week virtual summer institute requirement that is designed to be completed by working professionals in 3 years. 4-year pathways are also available. See the program sequence options.

    2022 Virtual Summer Institute Dates:  July 25-28, 2022

    Recognizing the need for diverse future leaders in the community college sector, this program aims to provide students with the essential skills and experiences needed so that they can take on a variety of leadership roles and positions. For example, graduates of this program may find success as mid-level and senior administrators, teaching and learning center directors, leaders of student success initiatives, faculty and student services leaders, and more.

    As a member of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) consortium, this program has a strong emphasis on social justice and equity as well as scholarly practice. Distinguishing, signature features of the program include:

    Mentoring and Experiential Learning

    In year two of the program, students are guided by national experts as they work on a project that supports community college partners and builds leadership skills. See examples of experiential learning sites.

    Public Scholarship

    Students disseminate research to practitioners in the field. In coursework, you will often be asked to develop blogs, infographics, and book reviews rather than traditional assignments and the first two chapters of the dissertation are journal-ready peer-reviewed literature reviews.

    Program Evaluation Dissertation

    Provides students with the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of programs, policies, or practices that address problems of practice in the field.

      We use a program evaluation framework for the dissertation. Program evaluation is being broadly defined as a systematic evaluation of programs, policies, or practices to inform decision-making. Doctoral candidates will either implement a program or practice and evaluate it or evaluate a current program or practice. Research methods will align with the program evaluation questions being investigated but most students will utilize a multiple-methods or mixed-methods design.

      To encourage public scholarship and ensure that a wider audience benefits from the research conducted by doctoral candidates, the dissertation will include brief, accessible reports such as executive summaries, infographics, blogs, and policy briefs.

      Brief Description of Each Chapter:

      Chapter 1: Literature Review: Problem of Practice

      This chapter is a systematic literature review of the identified problem of practice. The format is a stand-alone article that is ready for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. After introducing the problem through a social justice and equity lens and communicating a sense of urgency related to understanding the problem so that it can be addressed, this chapter details the formal search methods used to identify the body of literature from journals, public scholarship sites, and through practitioner conversations. This body of literature is then reviewed and critiqued through a themed approach, providing an in-depth analysis of the problem.

      Chapter 2: Literature Review: Intervention or Program

      This chapter is a systematic literature review of an identified intervention or program aimed at addressing the problem of practice described in the first chapter. The format is a stand-alone article that is ready for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. After introducing and describing the type of intervention, this chapter details the formal search methods used to identify the body of literature from journals, public scholarship sites, and through practitioner conversations. This body of literature is then reviewed and critiqued through a themed approach, providing an in-depth analysis of what is currently known about the effectiveness of the identified intervention or program.

      Chapter 3: Program Description and Program Evaluation Design Method

      This chapter describes the intervention program, policy, or practice that will be evaluated, the type of program evaluation that will be conducted, and the program evaluation design that will be used. A logic model that visually maps out the inputs, activities, outputs, short and long-term outcomes, and impacts of the program and a budget are included. This chapter also includes a theory of change that explains why this program is expected to have the desired results and a theory of action that articulates how the theory of change will be put into action. After acknowledging positionality and the researcher’s impact on the program evaluation process, the program evaluation questions and program evaluation research design method will be described. Details about the setting, participants, data collection tools, procedures, and the data analysis approach will be provided.

      Chapter 4: Program Evaluation Results and Discussion

      This chapter provides an overview of the findings. Data related to each program evaluation question is shared, analyzed, and interpreted. Whenever possible, data is disaggregated to tell a more complete story about the success of the intervention program. Results will be interpreted in the context of the logic model and theory of change to determine to what extent

      a program worked, for whom, and why. At the conclusion of the chapter, key findings will be summarized via success, equity, and economic lenses. The limitations and value of these findings will be discussed.

      Chapter 5: Recommendations and Resources

      This chapter is intended to be a practitioner-ready guide that outlines key recommendations that stem from the program evaluation findings and provides resources that will enable practitioners to easily implement the recommendations will be included.


      A set of brief accessible documents such as executive summaries, infographics or blogs on the following will be provided in the appendix: problem of practice, intervention or program, key findings from the program evaluation, and recommendations for community college practitioners.

      Curriculum Overview

      The goals of the Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program are to develop community college leaders who: 

      • Use an evidence-based approach to decision-making and leadership, with a focus on the goal of increased rates of student completion and success.  
      • Promote culturally responsive pedagogical and supportive practices that are grounded in theory and research.
      • Engage in partnerships to champion the mission of the community college and lead various reform efforts aimed at reducing equity gaps.
      • Effectively engage in strategic planning and assessment and clearly communicate vision and data to various stakeholders.

      Visit the NJCU Catalog page for more course information.

      Admission Requirements

      The NJCU Community College Leadership program is designed to admit candidates who meet the academic requirements for rigorous doctoral study and who possess personal qualities and professional experiences that suggest a strong potential for success both as doctoral students and as educational leaders.  

      The following are the requirements of all applicants for the Ed.D. in Community College Leadership:

      1. An earned master's degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above;
      2. Professional experience in the field of education; and
      3. Demonstrated academic excellence, problem-solving ability, and an interest in critically assessing and bringing about improvements within current educational policies and practices.

      GREs are NOT required.

      Application Process

      • Complete the graduate admissions application
      • Submit official undergraduate and graduate transcripts
      • Submit 3 letters of recommendation, based on academic or professional experience.
      • Submit a personal statement of purpose, of between 1000 and 2000 words, that describes reasons for applying to the program and how this doctoral program aligns with career and professional goals.
      • Submit a current resume / curriculum vitae that outlines educational background, employment history, professional activities, and other relevant activities. 
      • Prior to a video conference interview, prepare and submit a 3-5 page response to the following prompt (include citations): Describe an issue facing community colleges today.  Using a social justice and equity lens, what are some innovative approaches to this challenge?

      Application Review

      Applicants are encouraged to apply early as applications will be reviewed and processed on a rolling basis.  Applications received after April 15th will not be considered unless the program is not at full capacity.

      • Cycle 1 - Priority Review - Due by January 15 
      • Cycle 2 - Normal Review - Due by April 15

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