Ed.D. Design and Program of Study
Design of the Ed.D. in Executive Leadership Program
The Ed.D. in Executive Leadership program is based on an accelerated, cohort-paced model designed around a rigorous multidisciplinary program of study in executive leadership. Classes will meet year-round in an alternate weekend format. Courses are offered sequentially, organized by topical themes, and aligned with New York State, national, and institutional standards.
Candidates will be organized into teams to develop and complete group projects. Readings will be assigned prior to each class with the expectation that candidates will come prepared to discuss the related subject matter. The field experiences are aligned with coursework to support the integration of theory and practice.
The program will include professional development opportunities and seminars conducted by local, state, and national experts in the field of leadership. In addition, technology will be used to support research, class presentations, course assignments, and other aspects of teaching and learning.
The program begins with a cohort of approximately twenty candidates. Candidates admitted to the program are required to register for six credits for the first semester and are required to register for nine credits for each of the next six consecutive semesters, including the summer sessions.
The curriculum is based on:
- Knowledge of theory and processes essential for effective organizational leadership
- Development of essential research skills integral to successful organizational change and executive leadership
- Theory related to practice
- A rigorous multidisciplinary curriculum in leadership drawn from disciplines such as education, health, psychology, business, human services, public administration, philosophy and history
The core curriculum includes twenty sequenced courses, including four 50-hour field experiences. The sequence of courses and field experiences are organized under six interrelated thematic modules. Each module includes topics, activities, and assignments that reflect key concepts that impact leadership at the executive level such as law, politics, planning, research, finance, governance, diversity, human relations and development, resource development and management, data and informed decision-making, policy, and ethics.
Program of Study
The Ed.D. Program in Executive Leadership is based on widely accepted state and national standards, competencies, and dispositions that promote effective leadership. The courses, field experiences, and dissertation processes are aligned to support the integration of theory and practice and ensure that candidates receive a comprehensive, seamless, and high quality educational experience based on cutting-edge knowledge, current research, and best practices.
The coursework, field experiences, examinations, and dissertation requirements emphasize the reflective use of research as the basis for informing practice. Candidates will be required to engage in independent research, field experiences, and group projects culminating in a dissertation that examines real organizational problems and recommends strategies for action based on best practices in their field of interest. Candidates will be assigned executive mentors to help guide them in the dissertation process and field-based experiences.
All candidates are required to demonstrate competency in research by successfully completing courses in research-related methodologies. In addition, candidates are required to engage in four 50-hour field experiences in which they will work with a faculty member and mentor on research projects, prepare for the demands of the dissertation, and develop an understanding of the publishing requirements for journals in their fields of interest. The research and dissertation courses and field experiences are included within the 60 credit hour core requirement.
The program of study includes specific assessments and milestones in each module to measure and ensure progress toward degree completion. If the program requirements are met satisfactorily at each milestone, candidates can complete the program in approximately twenty-eight months. However, it is anticipated that some candidates may need additional time to complete the dissertation requirements. One additional optional semester will be offered to such candidates under the condition that they meet all outstanding requirements by the end of the optional semester.
Instructional Delivery System
- The curriculum is supported by a unique instructional approach that integrates theory with practice by using multidisciplinary research, case studies and field experiences, and teaming successful practitioners and national experts with College faculty and field mentors.
- The program places particular emphasis on the practical application of knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for effective leadership and management using theory, research, and best practices from related fields.
- Candidates are required to participate actively in class discussions, and expected to contribute to, and in certain cases, lead the discussions based on their experiences and research.
- Each candidate will work with a dissertation advisor and committee throughout the dissertation process. Certain aspects of the dissertation development process will be integrated into the coursework and field experiences. However, candidates will be expected to commit significant time outside of the classroom on dissertation development and refinement to support successful and timely completion of all dissertation requirements.
Ed.D. Alumni Spotlight
Dr. Bill Leipold
Altoona, PA, native Bill Leipold received his undergraduate from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is the associate dean of academic programs and student services for the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.
As he began moving up his career ladder in higher education, Bill was told he would need to have a terminal degree. After one interview at Fisher, he immediately knew it was the right fit for him.
Bill describes his experience as a journey that changed him. He no longer approaches and thinks about data and issues in the same way – becoming more aware of his own approach and style.
"Two years after classes have ended, my dissertation team and I are still meeting and creating, but this time, because we want to. We are going to have an impact on this world!"