Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Michelle Col­lay, Ph.D., answers some of our stu­dents’ most fre­quent­ly asked ques­tions about the Doc­tor of Edu­ca­tion in Edu­ca­tion­al Lead­er­ship pro­gram. The video tran­script can be viewed by click­ing the “Text Tran­script” links.

What is trans­for­ma­tive lead­er­ship, and who should con­sid­er this pro­gram?
Text Transcript

Trans­for­ma­tive lit­er­a­ture talks about the devel­op­ment of self and the work­place, about orga­ni­za­tion, and the larg­er com­mu­ni­ty or soci­ety. I talk to our stu­dents, pri­mar­i­ly prospects, about what they can expect. They can expect a lot of activ­i­ty to con­sid­er them­selves as lead­ers.

We do a site study where they do an exam­i­na­tion and eval­u­a­tion of their orga­ni­za­tion, how its func­tion­ing (or not), what kinds of lead­er­ship will improve that orga­ni­za­tion, how they can mea­sure that improve­ment, what their role as a leader can be–or is already–in that orga­ni­za­tion. And then we look at impli­ca­tions of their learn­ing, and their lead­er­ship, for the greater soci­ety.

Who should con­sid­er this pro­gram? This par­tic­u­lar doc­tor­al pro­gram is struc­tured for peo­ple who want to strength­en their lead­er­ship in dif­fer­ent set­tings. We have a good amount of K-12 folks who are both teacher lead­ers and admin­is­tra­tors, we have super­in­ten­dents, we have cen­tral office folks. We also have some non­prof­it peo­ple that are work­ing for agen­cies doing work in com­mu­ni­ties.

We have mil­i­tary that are in for­mal train­ing for their mil­i­tary careers but want to enhance their back­ground by hav­ing addi­tion­al mate­ri­als, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and per­son­al devel­op­ment to go along with the for­mal mil­i­tary train­ing they receive. We work with coun­ty agen­cies, city agen­cies and places where peo­ple are expect­ed to lead but may not always get the kinds of train­ing and sup­port that they think is impor­tant.

What is spe­cial about UNE Online edu­ca­tion­al lead­er­ship pro­grams?
Text Transcript

The Uni­ver­si­ty of New Eng­land is a won­der­ful home for emer­gent pro­fes­sion­al pro­grams that are ful­ly online because the fac­ul­ty is very strong, the pro­grams are the­o­ret­i­cal­ly sound, and the sup­port process­es for stu­dents work­ing at a dis­tance are well put togeth­er.

Who should con­sid­er the Online Ed.D. pro­gram at UNE?
Text Transcript

This par­tic­u­lar doc­tor­al pro­gram is struc­tured for peo­ple who want to strength­en their lead­er­ship in dif­fer­ent set­tings. We have a good amount of K-12 folks who are both teacher lead­ers and admin­is­tra­tors, we have super­in­ten­dents, we have cen­tral office folks. We also have some non­prof­it peo­ple that are work­ing for agen­cies doing work in com­mu­ni­ties.

We have mil­i­tary that are in for­mal train­ing for their mil­i­tary careers but want to enhance their back­ground by hav­ing addi­tion­al mate­ri­als, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and per­son­al devel­op­ment to go along with the for­mal mil­i­tary train­ing they receive. We work with coun­ty agen­cies, city agen­cies and places where peo­ple are expect­ed to lead but may not always get the kinds of train­ing and sup­port that they think is impor­tant.

What pro­fes­sion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties could be gained from UNE’s Online Ed.D. pro­gram?
Text Transcript

The most impor­tant part of the program’s con­tri­bu­tion to people’s pro­fes­sion­al work is a more holis­tic devel­op­ment of one’s self as a leader. They are not just learn­ing how to eval­u­ate their orga­ni­za­tion, or to con­duct research, or to improve their indi­vid­ual capac­i­ty. They are doing all three. So, they are are devel­op­ing indi­vid­u­al­ly their capac­i­ty as lead­ers, they’re improv­ing their orga­ni­za­tion­al the­o­ry in an applied sit­u­a­tion that is at their work place, and they’re becom­ing experts in one area of research that can inform their orga­ni­za­tion­al lead­er­ship or per­haps a job they might to take in the future.

Why should a stu­dent enroll in this pro­gram?
Text Transcript

I think the most impor­tant rea­son that stu­dents enroll in advanced grad­u­ate work is tru­ly an inter­est in intel­lec­tu­al devel­op­ment and schol­ar­ship. In the case of our pro­gram it is a schol­ar prac­ti­tion­er focused pro­gram. There are pro­grams that are much more pure schol­ar­ship and there are pro­grams that are very prac­ti­cal and have less atten­tion to schol­ar­ship. I feel that we have engaged with our stu­dents, fac­ul­ty, and the pro­gram design­ers to cre­ate a tru­ly inte­grat­ed pro­gram.

How does online edu­ca­tion pro­mote to qual­i­ty, com­mu­ni­ty and suc­cess?
Text Transcript

The key dif­fer­ence in terms of cre­at­ing qual­i­ty for online stu­dents? The pro­duc­tion of writ­ing, think­ing, and reflec­tion is much greater in the online envi­ron­ment than it is face to face. Stu­dents and instruc­tors can see everybody’s work all the time, so there are no “low talk­ers” as there might be in a face to face sit­u­a­tion. Every­body pro­duces work, every­body can see each other’s work.

I’ve noticed that the more advanced stu­dents, or those fur­ther along, set a very strong—and reachable—norm for stu­dents who have less expe­ri­ence or real­ly aren’t sure how to pro­duce an aca­d­e­m­ic response.  They have qual­i­ty instruc­tors and stu­dents fur­ther along the jour­ney to use as a ref­er­ence, and they rise to the occa­sion. So that’s been a real­ly impor­tant part of the online pro­gram devel­op­ment.

What is unique about the online Ed.D. pro­gram at UNE?
Text Transcript

The embed­ding of the doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion with­in the entire pro­gram makes the Ed.D. pro­gram at UNE unique. Stu­dents begin to work on their top­ic explo­ration start­ing the very moment they do their admis­sions essay, and con­tin­ue all the way through the sec­ond year. Stu­dents antic­i­pate hav­ing a pro­pos­al in hand by the end of year two so they fol­low through with refine­ment, revi­sions, data col­lec­tion and con­clu­sion for their pro­pos­al into year three. 

Most doc­tor­al pro­grams, whether they are face to face, hybrid, or online, do a batch of course­work and then begin to look at the dis­ser­ta­tion mate­ri­als late in year two. And that allows a lot of time to pass with­out refin­ing the dis­ser­ta­tion top­ic. So that’s a key dif­fer­ence of our pro­gram. I think the nature of the site study and embed­ding people’s day job in each course, rather than a sort of practicum some­where at the end is anoth­er unique fea­ture of our pro­gram.

As an online stu­dent, how will I defend my dis­ser­ta­tion?
Text Transcript

Let’s talk a lit­tle more about the dis­ser­ta­tion itself and how that fits. The site study is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to study the orga­ni­za­tion, to do an eval­u­a­tion of what is work­ing, to do a change pro­pos­al, and eval­u­ate that change over time. Usu­al­ly that is some sort of an ini­tia­tive that lives with­in their work­place.

The dis­ser­ta­tion top­ic can be direct­ly relat­ed to the ini­tia­tive they’re work­ing on in their orga­ni­za­tion, or it can diverge. For instance, some peo­ple are tasked by their super­vi­sor to over­see a change ini­tia­tive and we have them bring that to the pro­gram. Their day job over­laps with their work and that’s a good thing. We call that dou­ble-dip­ping and it’s good.

They may choose a dis­ser­ta­tion top­ic that diverges from their work­place for sev­er­al rea­sons. One might be there’s a polit­i­cal nature to it that they want to work on in their own time. There is not too much of that, but it does occur. They may have a pro­fes­sion­al goal to move to anoth­er type of job. They may want to do more instruc­tion out­side of their orga­ni­za­tion and become spe­cial­ists in that area. So in those cas­es those folks are encour­aged to go ahead and pur­sue that research top­ic as they choose.

So they are not required to have those areas over­lap but they cer­tain­ly are wel­come to have the site study and the dis­ser­ta­tion devel­op­ment be along the same lines.

How is the dis­ser­ta­tion struc­tured?
Text Transcript

This is an Ed Doc­tor­ate or Edu­ca­tion Doc­tor­ate, Ed.D., and it is a ter­mi­nal degree. It is dif­fer­ent than a Ph.D. or Doc­tor of Phi­los­o­phy, pri­mar­i­ly in that it is designed for prac­ti­tion­ers who intend to stay in the same roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties, or sim­i­lar roles to those that they cur­rent­ly hold. Most peo­ple that seek the Ph.D. are intend­ing to become full-time aca­d­e­mics. Peo­ple who are look­ing to achieve change in their home orga­ni­za­tions aren’t par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in teach­ing full-time in the acad­e­my. A lot of folks that are in our pro­gram are already teach­ing in high­er edu­ca­tion, so they’re prac­ti­tion­ers in their field and they’re teach­ing a course in a com­mu­ni­ty col­lege or tech­ni­cal pro­gram, in some cas­es tra­di­tion­al under­grad­u­ate insti­tu­tions. So they’re they’re already schol­ar prac­ti­tion­ers and they’re look­ing to enhance their back­ground and obtain their ter­mi­nal degree.


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