Doctorate in Community College Leadership

Doctorate in Community College Leadership

Doctorate in Community College Leadership
Educational Leadership Faculty
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Program Co-Coordinators

John Melendez, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Educational Leadership

Christine Harrington, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership


New Jersey City University is proud to announce that the first cohort in our new ONLINE Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership will begin this summer.  This practice-focused 55-credit online program with 1-week summer residency requirements is designed to be completed by working professionals in 3 years.  Recognizing the need for future leaders in the community college sector, this program aims to provide students with the essential skills and experiences needed so that they are able to take on a variety of leadership roles and positions.  For example, this program will prepare students to serve as

  • mid-level and high-level administrators
  • teaching and learning center directors
  • leaders of student success initiatives
  • faculty and student services leaders
  • and more!

Faculty, staff, and administrators who are passionate about the community college mission of access and success and want to develop or enhance leadership skills are encouraged to contact department faculty or the admissions office.


  • Practice-focused approach.  Coursework and dissertation are based on the scholarly-practitioner model, meaning the application of theory and research is emphasized.
  • Mentoring and experiential learning.  Students will engage with professional mentors in the field and gain meaningful real-world learning experiences in the community college setting, all in a flexible way that accommodates the schedules of working professionals.
  • High-levels of support with dissertation process.  Starting in year one and continuing throughout the three-year program, students will receive individual and course-level guidance and support to ensure timely and successful completion of a practice-based dissertation.
  • Online, cohort-based approach.  With the working professional in mind, courses are primarily asynchronous in nature, meaning learning tasks can be done on whatever days and times are most convenient to the student as long as tasks are completed on schedule. Students will get to know their colleagues well as they are taking all of the courses together in sequence.  The one-week summer residency and periodic synchronous online meetings will also help build a sense of community.


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.


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.  

Applicants must possess:

  • An earned master's degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or above
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are no older than five years or professional experience in the field of education
  • Demonstrated leadership experience in Community Colleges or a related professional setting
  • Demonstrated academic excellence, problem-solving ability, and an interest in critically assessing and bringing about improvements within current educational policies and practices 


  • Complete the Graduate admissions application
  • Submit official undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are no older than five years or verification of five years of higher education experience
  • Letters of recommendation: Three (3) letters of recommendation should be submitted, based on academic or professional experience.
  • Writing sample: A personal Statement of Purpose, of between 1000 and 2000 words, should describe the applicant’s reasons for applying to the program and ways in which his or her experience, skills, and goals are aligned with this doctoral program.
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae: A current resume / curriculum vitae should outline the applicant’s educational background, employment history, professional activities, and other activities that provide support for the Statement of Purpose. This document should be attached to the Writing Sample.
  • Interview: A program committee will participate in an In-Person or Video Conference interview, depending on the applicant’s geographic distance from the university.


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and take place in two cycles:

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