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Educational Leadership in Higher Education, EdD

The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in Higher Education is an accelerated three to three-and-half year advanced practitioner program. It is intended for those working within higher education as faculty, student affairs educators, academic affairs administrators, enrollment management professionals, collegiate athletics, or those in education-adjacent careers such as college access or adult education. Courses are offered in weekend cohort format through synchronous online instruction. The EdD program offers a distinct higher education curriculum.

With a grounding in the conceptual underpinnings of the practice of higher education, the EdD in Educational Leadership in Higher Education provides candidates with knowledge base & skillsets conducive for the effective organizational administration, policy development, strategic innovations, and social justice advocacy as related to post-secondary institutions. The candidates will emerge as ethical and socially responsive professionals who can connect theory and research to successfully operate within the diverse, social, political, educational, and organizational contexts of their institutions and academic community.

Course Delivery & Format

The EdD in Educational Leadership in Higher Education is offered as an accelerated 3.5-year doctoral program with two sessions per semester. Sessions are eight weeks in the fall and spring semesters. Summer sessions are each five weeks. The first year of the program is foundational courses

The courses meet three times on the weekends and are further supported by online coursework such as through research, case studies, discussion boards, or video reflections. Courses are offered synchronously online in a hybrid weekend executive cohort format. Course sessions are held the first, third, and sixth weekends of each session (8-week accelerated course).

Sessions are held on Friday evenings, Saturday Morning/Afternoon, and Sunday Morning/Afternoon. Weekend meeting times may vary by professor or course topic.


Delaware State University is classified a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) land-grant institution with a Carnegie classification of “R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity.” This prestigious research category encourages research and collaboration as a scholarly community between our doctoral students and faculty. Research interests of faculty interests range from issues in student affairs practice, university retention, multicultural issues, educational equity, internationalization, or college access.

Our doctoral students not only engage in their own research through the dissertation capstone process, but co-author journal articles and co-present with our full-time and affiliate faculty. These also include co-presenting research and scholarly practice at national conferences such as the ACPA-College Student Educators International, Association for the Study of Higher Education, American Educational Research Association, NASPA- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Program Distinction

The curriculum for the EdD in Educational Leadership in Higher Education is distinctive in its focus on “core four” domains of leadership competency that permeate across the program. The curriculum has been intentionally framed by (1) educational equity, (2) organizational leadership; (3) internationalization; and (4) adult learning and development.

Educational Equity

The histories of higher education are explored through critical lenses and sociocultural contexts to advance educational equity. This provides a foundation to better understand the loosely coupled American system of postsecondary education of institutional types that support the diverse contemporary college students and communities. Students examine and critique historical and current practices in relation to their own professional experiences and social identities. Doctoral students will be able to assess the needs and interests of students to implement progressive and contemporary approaches which allow students, faculty, and staff to flourish in higher education.

Inclusive Leadership & Practice

Leadership theories are emphasized throughout the program to allow students to become reflective scholar-practitioners. Inclusive leadership approaches are promoted to support humanizing higher education which allow students, faculty, and staff to find belonging within the academic community. Administrative cultures and theory, educational policy development, and university organizational models are explored. This supports doctoral students to promote inclusive leadership theory and approaches to serve as transformative leaders and agents of equitable change on their respective campuses or within their areas of influence.

Critical Social Justice

Critical theories and frameworks are emphasized to allow students to understand how to interrogate systems of oppression, power, and privilege that differently facilitate marginality across intersecting identities. Doctoral students will be able to develop their own nuanced approach towards critical praxis informed by the use of critical education theories.

Adult Learning & Development

Theories and models of college student development and learning are explored to demonstrate the impact of the college experience on adult learning and identity development. These processes converge with systemic barriers of individual student persistence which can inform institutional retention efforts. Doctoral students will be able to apply current research and theory to connect issues of college access and enrollment management.