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Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Ph.D. in K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The Ph.D. in K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is designed for candidates who seek to enter careers in research, institutional assessment, policy analysis, institutional leadership, or the professoriate. The program challenges the conventional wisdom that K-12 and post-secondary education are different worlds by bringing together scholars and students from all levels of education to work and study together. Particularly, the program will focus on narrowing achievement gaps by studying factors and creating more efficacious transitions within the educational experience. Working from the premise that all people can learn at high levels, the program will study the systemic barriers that prevent so many children, adolescents, and young adults from achieving their fullest potential.

In addition to becoming experts in their particular area of inquiry, candidates will receive a broad foundation in the study of educational leadership and policy development. Candidates in the Ph.D. program will be part of a cohort throughout their three years of coursework, leading to the comprehensive exams and dissertation. Research has demonstrated that cohort models can be very effective in fostering deep learning and increasing the likelihood of students moving towards program completion. We expect that most of the students in the program will work full-time and therefore the cohort will take only six graduate semester credit hours (two courses) per semester. The number of candidates selected for the first cohort will be limited to 15.

For further information about the Ph.D. program in K-16 Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, contact the Ph.D. Program Director,  

Enhanced Graduate Teaching Assistantship

The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is able to offer an Enhanced Graduate Teaching Assistantship (EGTA) to qualified incoming doctoral students. Although our K-16 Ph.D. program is designed for working professionals, this would allow a student to work part-time and teach part-time. To be eligible for EGTAs, newly admitted students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their last 60 undergraduate credit hours plus at least a 3.25 GPA in any graduate-level credit hours, be unconditionally admitted to our K-16 Ph.D. program, and satisfy English proficiency requirements necessary to hold a graduate teaching assistantship. EGTAs are offered a stipend and accompanying tuition waivers for up to five years. Students who are EGTAs must take six doctoral hours per semester in addition to their other responsibilities. If this is something of interest to any incoming student, please submit a one-page document outlining your professional goals, how being an EGTA would enhance your studies, and courses you are interested in and qualified to teach with your other application materials. Email all inquiries about this program to

Visit our info page to receive more details about the EGTA positions available to potential Ph.D. students.

Course Offerings

Summer 2014 PhD Electives:

EDAD 6392.001 : Advanced Studies in Social Theory

Instructor: Daniel B Saunders

This course will be an extension of the Philosophy of Education course all doctoral students take in their first semester.  The course will be a blend of group and individual work, with the aim of providing a loosely-defined structure akin to what many will find in their proposal and dissertation work. Students will engage in conceptual and theoretical readings, enhance their scholarly writing, and explore concepts/theories that may inform their advanced doctoral studies. Students not already working with Dr. Saunders should consult him before registering.

Class Number: 54130

Meeting Dates: TBD
Days & Times: TBD

Room: TBD


EDAD 6392.002 : Writing the Dissertation Proposal

Instructor: Barbara F Tobolowsky

This class is intended to be a writers' dissertation proposal boot camp. However, with your chair's approval, I will work with you wherever you may be in the process. From building an argument, conducting a literature review, or writing the proposal, the course will provide structure and feedback to help move your work forward. 

Class Number: 54131

Meeting Dates: 6/2 – 8/7
Days & Times: Wednesdays 5:30-8:20

Room: TBD


EDAD 6392.003 : Race and Education

Instructor: Bradley W Davis

This class explores the social contexts of education in America with an emphasis on race and racism. Topics to be explored include the history of race in education, racial awareness, racial identity development, colorblindness, antiracism, and critical race theory.

Class Number: 54259

Meeting Dates: 6/2 – 8/7
Days & Times: Thursdays 5:30-8:20

Room: Trimble Hall 216


EDAD 6392.004 : Field Studies in Education

Instructor: Adrienne E Hyle

“Dissertation Boot Camp” - the purpose of this course is to assist students in successfully writing a dissertation proposal and/or final chapters. Students successfully completing this course will write final products linked to their dissertation proposals/dissertations. Registration for this course is reserved for students already participating in Dr. Hyle’s dissertation work group.

Class Number: 54203

Meeting Dates: TBD
Days & Times: TBD

Room: TBD


Fall 2014 PhD Electives:

EDAD 6392.002 : Educational Crisis Leadership

Instructor: Casey Brown

School leaders must facilitate safe learning environments for students and staff.  During this course, educators will gain knowledge of crisis preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery as well as communicating, planning, and prioritizing to prevent potential crisis scenarios.

Class Number: 87336

Meeting Dates: TBD
Days & Times: Thursday evenings

Room: TBD