About the Program
Graduates of the Ed. D. program will develop educational visions and skills in leading educational institutions of the 21st century. They will refine their understanding of and leadership skills in relation to diversity, inclusiveness, globalism in education, social responsiveness, and data-based decision making. They will become knowledgeable of the most recent developments in the field of education, personnel development, and leadership; will learn how to assess and alter their organization’s practices; and will have the capacity to initiate and implement research-based policies and best practice programs to benefit students, schools and communities.
Arcadia’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership offers a Doctor of Education degree earned by engaging in intensive study of research design and content knowledge, culminating in the development, implementation, and completion of an approved doctoral dissertation. The program is designed to increase the student’s level of professional expertise in the fields of school and district/regional leadership and to develop the skills necessary to initiate and implement sound educational policy and research-based programs through supervisory, curricular, and/or administrative roles.
The guiding philosophy of the Educational Leadership doctoral program is composed of several key components integrated into the program through expectations, coursework and mentorship. Students are challenged to work toward integrating the following into their academic performance and professional lives:
- Openness to new ideas
- Structured and strategic inquiry
- Research-based practice
- Intellectual and instructional leadership
- Critical thinking
- Systemic critique and reform
- Social justice and ethical practice
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Critical self-reflection
- Personal, program, system, and community interconnectivity
- Embracing community inclusion and diversity
- Ongoing professional development and life-long learning
The Cohort Model
The doctoral program provides support, facilitates collaboration, and optimizes student growth through the use of a modified cohort model. Students enter the program with a group of colleagues and progress through the program together. Flexibility with the cohort model is utilized, as appropriate and necessary based on individual needs and circumstances.
Degree Requirements and Program Structure
A minimum of 53 credit hours are required for the doctoral program. Each semester’s courses are designed and organized to provide students with continuous exposure to and practice in critical thinking and research methods, as they gain content area knowledge. The focus of all coursework is to teach students how to think critically and systematically about educational leadership at both the micro-level (i.e., the impact of various programs or interventions on students and classrooms) and the macro-level (i.e., school- or district-wide impact). The program stresses the cultural, social, and political ramifications of school leadership decision making, as well as research-based models and methods of initiating change in schools, districts and regions. From the first day of the program, students utilize real-life cases and analyze relevant materials as they examine research-to-practice models of successful and effective school leadership behaviors and initiatives evident in excellent schools, districts and regions.
The doctoral program utilizes a hybrid learning model, whereby face-to-face and online instruction are purposefully combined to enhance learning. Specific decisions about the instructional format used within each course are made by the doctoral faculty and program committee.
Courses are taken sequentially for three years. A few students opt to complete their dissertation during that three year period; however, most work on developing their dissertation proposal while taking courses and then implement their study during the fourth year, after their coursework is completed.
Students take two courses each semester— during the fall, spring, and first summer sessions (there are not any classes during July or August). Classes are held on Thursdays from 4:30 - 10 p.m.; the first course runs from 4:30 - 7:10 and the second from 7:20 - 10. Because some classes utilize a hybrid in-person/online format, there are some Thursdays when students do not need to be on campus for the full time block (such schedule details are provided at the beginning of each semester).
The doctoral program, itself, does not result in administrative certification. However, many of the competencies required for a variety of administrative certificates are embedded in the doctoral courses, so earning certification is streamlined. Students interested in certification meet individually with the coordinator of the Master’s Program in Educational Leadership to discuss options and develop a plan of study that will be in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements for a specific certification(s) of interest.