You can read about our curriculum in our catalog, but we know that you might want to know even more. Below is a detailed description of all our courses and expected outcomes.

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.

See our program sequence options   View our catalog

Curriculum Details for Each Course

EDLD 810 Community College Leadership Institute (1)

This institute introduces students to scholarly practice and the Community College Leadership Doctoral program learning goals, related learning tasks, and timeline. This course explores current issues facing community colleges, innovative practices, and the role and competencies of community college leaders.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the Ed. D. in Community College Leadership learning outcomes, learning tasks, and value of the cohort model.
  2. Articulate the role of a scholarly practitioner.
  3. Evaluate competencies of effective community college leaders.
  4. Discuss key issues facing community colleges today and the important role of leaders in addressing these issues.
  5. Develop a draft educational and career plan that includes possible areas of focus for research and experiential learning.

EDLD 811 Community Colleges:  Past, Present, and Future (3)

This course provides a comprehensive historical overview of community colleges, emphasizing past and current practices as well as exploring future directions.  The expanded mission from access to success and the changing role of the community college considering social, political, and economic factors will be discussed.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss how current policies and practices in the community college are interconnected and influenced by past events, policies, and practices. 
  2. Deconstruct ineffective and outdated policies and practices and construct new and more effective policies and practices that better reflect the current and future issues facing community colleges.
  3. Evaluate the impact of community colleges systems and structures on student success.
  4. Analyze the changing funding landscape that has and continues to impact community colleges.
  5. Predict the necessary adjustments and practices that community colleges will need to adopt and enact in order to best serve a changing demographic spectrum.

EDLD 812 Leadership Theory and Change Management (3)

This course explores organizational leadership theories and how these theories can be used to positively influence rapidly changing, complex educational organizations. Emphasis is on the impact of diversity, culture, ethnic origin and societal change on educational institutions and the role that change management leaders play in student success reform. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain various leadership theories and how these theories can guide and inform change processes. 
  2. Examine the change process in context of the various change models.
  3. Determine the obstacles to innovation and change and the role that effective leaders play as change agents.
  4. Evaluate leadership theories and change models that aim to advance student success and equitable access for a culturally-, ethnically-, and linguistically diverse community college demographic.
  5. Practice personal introspection, determining strengths and areas for growth as a leader.

EDLD 831 The Scholarly Practitioner (3)

This course is an introduction to the dissertation process. The focus is on using research and theory to identify and solve complex problems of practice related to equity and social justice issues in community colleges. Being a critical consumer and contributor to scholarly literature will be emphasized. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Utilize data and professional experiences to identify complex problems of practice related to equity and social justice.
  2. Determine what evidence is needed to assess the effectiveness of current and future educational practices in community colleges.
  3. Evaluate scholarly literature using a practice-focused lens.
  4. Share summaries of research and theory to various community college stakeholders in a contextualized manner. 
  5. Describe the dissertation process and identify an area of focus for the dissertation.

EDLD 813 Promoting Equity:  Teaching and Supporting Diverse Adult Learners (3)

This course examines issues, strategies, and methods for teaching and supporting adult learners in the community college setting to promote equity and excellence for all learners. The focus will be on institutional level policies and practices that promote equity, social justice, and student success.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Reflect on the relationship between cultural identity, privilege, power, and student success.
  2. Develop a framework for implementing and assessing culturally responsive approaches to teaching and supporting adult diverse learners.
  3. Evaluate current community college practices from an equity and social justice perspective.
  4. Apply the andragogical process model for learning to community college practices in and outside of the classroom.
  5. Conduct an institutional diversity audit.
  6. Recommend equity-minded practices in academic and student affairs.

EDLD 832 Educational Research I (3)

Students will learn how to ethically collect, analyze, and interpret quantitative and qualitative data to determine the effectiveness of programs, policies, and practices in community colleges.  Document reviews, surveys, interviews, and focus groups, along with traditional student success outcome data, will be used to inform decisions. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Conduct an analysis of the current literature on an intervention that addresses a problem of practice.
  2. Design an ethically sound research study to evaluate the identified intervention.
  3. Construct surveys that will provide data needed to answer program evaluation questions.
  4. Develop interview and focus group discussion guides and protocols.
  5. Determine data sources that align to program evaluation question.
  6. Analyze, interpret, and summarize quantitative and qualitative data to guide decision-making about programs, polices, and practices in the community college setting.

EDLD 814 Innovative Teaching Practices and Modalities (3)

This course provides community college leaders with a strong foundation in backward course design principles and evidence-based teaching and learning practices.  Students will also explore and evaluate innovative approaches to teaching in-person, online, and blended courses to meet the changing needs of diverse student populations.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe backward course design and the benefits of designing courses using this framework.
  2. Summarize research on in-person, online, and blended teaching and learning strategies.
  3. Evaluate traditional and innovative teaching practices for in-person, online, and blended courses.
  4. Design and implement an innovative lesson using backward design principles and evidence-based teaching and learning practices.

EDLD 840 Mentoring I (1)

Students will learn how to maximize learning through mentorship and establish relationships with their mentor and other key stakeholders at their experiential learning placement.  Working with a professional mentor, students will engage in self-assessment and develop a professional growth plan aimed at improving leadership skills and building content expertise.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the value of mentorship.
  2. Develop productive relationships with their mentor, team members, and key stakeholders at experiential learning placement.
  3. Reflect on professional strengths and areas for growth.
  4. Create a professional growth plan.

EDLD 833 Educational Research II (3)

Students will learn how to ethically collect, analyze, and interpret quantitative and qualitative data to determine the effectiveness of programs, policies, and practices in community colleges.  Document reviews, surveys, interviews, and focus groups, along with traditional student success outcome data, will be used to inform decisions.  

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Conduct an analysis of the current literature on an intervention that addresses a problem of practice.
  2. Design an ethically sound research study to evaluate the identified intervention.
  3. Construct surveys that will provide data needed to answer program evaluation questions.
  4. Develop interview and focus group discussion guides and protocols.
  5. Determine data sources that align to program evaluation question.
  6. Analyze, interpret, and summarize quantitative and qualitative data to guide decision-making about programs, polices, and practices in the community college setting.

EDLD 815 Strategic Planning, Assessment, and Innovation (3)

This course focuses on strategic planning, assessment, and institutional effectiveness in community colleges.  Students will develop planning, implementation, and leadership skills needed to direct and evaluate strategic decision-making and engage in continual assessment practices.  Focus will be on using data-driven and innovative practices to improve student success outcomes. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the strategic planning process and strategies for engaging internal and external stakeholders in results-driven and innovative practices.
  2. Articulate value and purpose of regional accreditation standards from a historical and current perspective.
  3. Determine metrics needed to evaluate institutional effectiveness and measure success.
  4. Evaluate the scope, objectives, and implementation of institutional strategic plans and annual monitoring reports in community colleges.
  5. Engage in assessment practices to improve student learning and success.

EDLD 855 Experiential Learning I (2)

In this second experiential learning course, students will provide another 50 hours of virtual coaching and project-based support to a community college partner. To support this work, students will receive mentoring from a professional.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate progress and adjust as needed.
  2. Provide requested resources and support to community college.
  3. Develop a summary report.

EDLD 820 Community College Finance (3)

Students will learn how community colleges are funded. Various funding and budget models will be analyzed with a focus on how these models impact student success and equity.  Budgeting and financial-decision making processes, including expenditure and revenue estimations, and cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses, will also be explored.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the various internal and external factors that impact funding, budget, and financial decisions in the community college.
  2. Compare and contrast various community college funding and budget models using a student success and equity lens.
  3. Utilize revenue and expenditure estimation and cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness strategies.
  4. Analyze budgets and financial processes at community colleges. 
  5. Explain community college financial information to various stakeholders.

EDLD 855 Experiential Learning II (2)

In this second experiential learning course, students will provide another 50 hours of virtual coaching and project-based support to a community college partner. To support this work, students will receive mentoring from a professional.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate progress and adjust as needed.
  2. Provide requested resources and support to community college.
  3. Develop a summary report.

EDLD 932 Dissertation in Practice I (2) (Proposal Defense)

Students will learn how to ethically engage in the program evaluation dissertation process.  The Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and preparing for the dissertation proposal defense will be emphasized.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate and follow ethical principles related to program evaluation and research.
  2. Complete the Institutional Review board application.  
  3. Write a dissertation proposal comprised of the first three chapters. 
  4. Present a program evaluation research plan for the dissertation.

EDLD 826 Strategic Human Resource Management (3)

This course examines theories, models and best practices related to human resources in the community college setting. The focus will be on aligning human resources to community college strategic plans and objectives, recruiting, hiring, and supporting diverse faculty and staff, collaborating with unions, and exploring innovative human resource strategies.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Examine strategic human resource theories, models, and practices. 
  2. Align human resources to strategic plans and priorities.
  3. Determine strategies to work collaboratively with unions and other organizations.
  4. Evaluate recruitment, hiring, mentoring, and professional development from a diversity perspective.
  5. Develop a human resource plan that focuses on inclusive human resource practices aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse, talented faculty, staff, and administrators.

EDLD 860 Mentoring II (1)

In this second mentoring course, students will continue to develop leadership and change management skills, along with content expertise, by working with a professional mentor.  At the conclusion of the yearlong experiential learning component of the doctoral program, students will engage in self-assessment and reflect on professional growth.

 By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate leadership and change management skills.
  2. Assess content expertise.
  3. Determine actions for continued professional growth.

EDLD 834 Curricular and Instructional Leadership (3)

This course focuses on the roles and responsibilities of academic leaders. Course topics include curriculum development, instructional support, course and program assessment, faculty evaluation, and professional growth planning. Supporting the success of all learners through effective decisions and supports related to curriculum and instruction is emphasized. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate the roles and responsibilities of various academic leaders, especially as they pertain to curriculum and instruction. 
  2. Analyze the effectiveness of programs designed to assist faculty with developing and strengthening curriculum development and andragogical expertise. 
  3. Conduct informal and formal faculty evaluations and develop professional growth plans.
  4. Assess and analyze student achievement at the course and program levels.
  5. Make data-informed recommendations for modifying or enhancing institutional instructional practices to improve student learning.

EDLD 841 Student Services Leadership (3)

This course focuses on the roles and responsibilities of student service leaders. Course topics include creating safe, inclusive environments, enrollment management, providing holistic student support and co-curricular engagement opportunities, managing crisis situations, and evaluating staff and programs. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Articulate the roles and responsibilities of various student services leaders and offices. 
  2. Describe crisis management protocols.
  3. Create professional development plans for student service professionals.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of student services programs and models. 
  5. Make data-informed recommendations for modifying or enhancing student services to improve the overall student experience and positively impact student achievement.

EDLD 935 Dissertation in Practice II (2) (Implementation)

Students will engage in the program evaluation dissertation data collection process.  The emphasis will be on ethically collecting quantitative and qualitative data from various sources to answer program evaluation questions. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast the benefits and limitations of various types of quantitative and qualitative data.
  2. Determine which quantitative and qualitative data sources will provide information needed to answer program evaluation questions.
  3. Develop surveys, interview protocols, focus group moderator guides, and document and other data analysis protocols needed for program evaluation data collection.
  4. Engage in ethical data collection.

EDLD 825 Legal Issues, Policies, and Ethical Practices in the Community College (3)

This course focuses on laws and policies related to community college leadership.  Course topics include legal sources, structure, and liability, ethics, civil rights, employment, and faculty and student rights and responsibilities.  Candidates review court cases that establish a framework for decision-making, professional and ethical practice to ensure culturally proficient leadership.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe statutes and case law that pertain to community college leadership.
  2. Analyze case studies and determine if civil rights have been violated.
  3. Evaluate employment practices from a legal and ethical lens.
  4. Develop training materials related to student rights.
  5. Act legally and ethically when making decisions as a community college leader.

EDLD 821 Critical Role of Partnerships in Community College Leadership (3)

This course focuses on the need for and value of educational, industry, and financial partnerships.  Students will learn how to identify, initiate, develop, implement, and assess partnerships with high schools, colleges/universities, employers, and funders.  Focus will be on how community college partnerships can increase student success and reduce equity gaps. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss how education, industry, and financial partnerships can support the community college mission and increase student success outcomes and reduce equity gaps.
  2. Develop a plan to engage potential community college partners.
  3. Determine metrics needed to evaluate education, industry, and financial partnerships with community colleges.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of partnerships and make recommendations for improvements.
  5. Engage in partnerships to improve student learning and success.

EDLD 940 Dissertation in Practice III (2) (Dissertation Final Defense)

Students will analyze and interpret data collected to answer identified program evaluation questions.  The emphasis will be on accurately communicating data findings to key stakeholders.  Students will learn how to effectively communicate program evaluation findings in narrative and visual formats. 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data to determine answers to program evaluation research questions.
  2. Determine value and limitations of research findings.
  3. Create user-friendly narratives and visual reports summarizing program evaluation findings.
  4. Make program recommendations based on research findings. 

Framework for the Dissertation

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.

Appendix

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.

Our Teaching Beliefs

Our Teaching Beliefs

Health, Family and Loved Ones First- We expect students to communicate when issues arise but always encourage them to prioritize their health and loved ones. We are therefore very generous with extensions for assignments and do not typically penalize students for being late.

Our Course is Only One Part of the Program- We provide students with a master calendar that captures all assignment due dates and synchronous meetings and work hard to avoid having assignments due on the same day. In most cases, the two content courses use an alternating approach- one week on one course and the next on the second course. In some cases, one course might take place in the first half of the semester and the second course would then take place during the second half of the semester. Each course can have up to 7 modules. As we prepare reading and assignment expectations, we take into consideration the other demands placed on students that semester.

A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lens Should be Incorporated into All Learning Experiences- Although we do have a course that has diversity in its title, we believe DEI skills must be developed throughout the program and should play a central role in every course. We invite speakers from diverse backgrounds to present to our students and assign readings and tasks that highlight varied perspectives and lived experiences.

Choice Increases Engagement- We offer students the opportunity to choose learning tasks, if all the options align with the learning outcomes. Examples of choice include working independently or in a small group, allowing students to choose partners or group members (typically recommended in year 2 and 3), different types of assignment, or different assignment formats (paper, presentation, blog, website, etc.).

Varied, Meaningful Assignments Increase Motivation and Learning- We are not a typical online learning experience where students are expected to participate in an online discussion and respond to 2 peers. Rather, we prefer to use varied, innovative assignments that align well with real-world skills needed by community college leaders. For example, most leaders will need to write succinct executive summaries, create infographics or social media posts, or conduct brief presentations rather than writing traditional research papers. Assignments are due on Mondays at 11:59p.m. (or at some point that night). Assignments do not all need to be graded; sometimes feedback is all that is needed, especially with formative assessments. Assignments need to demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes and often times a few robust assignments, with some supporting formative ones, accomplish this.

Encouraging Public Scholarship is Important- Whenever possible, we identify assignments that students can publish via blogs, journals, social media and so forth. Some examples include blogs, book reviews, executive summaries, and infographics. To increase the likelihood of students submitting the work, we help them identify potential outlets and indicate these on the syllabus. We also often use the discussion board space for assignment submissions so that they can see and learn from each other. Often, we ask students to complete a peer feedback or refection after reviewing the work of their peers.

Scaffolding and Feedback are Essential to Learning- Whenever possible, we use formative assessments linked to summative assessments to ensure students have ample opportunities to learn from feedback. We believe timely feedback is important so feedback on shorter assignments is often provided within days and longer assignments within about a week or so. We aim to provide feedback that is specific, constructive and supportive in nature.

Synchronous Meetings Develop and Strengthen Connections and Learning- We strive for a balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences. For most courses, approximately five synchronous sessions are usually offered, using a combination of faculty-led sessions and guest lecturers. We typically vary the day and time of these sessions (typically at 12, 1, 4, 5, or 7 EST) and record sessions for students unable to attend.

Connecting with Students Individually- In addition to sharing our expertise through the class, we believe it is critical to find time to talk and Zoom with our students outside of class. Relationships are the most important part of a learning journey. We often build in one-on-one or small group meetings into the course design and make ourselves available to students for additional conversations to support their growth and development. Although part-time faculty are not required to hold office hours, you may want to consider ways to make yourself available as students really value having time to connect to faculty.