Learning, Leadership and Community

Innovate. Investigate. Inspire. Plymouth State’s Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership, and Community creates an environment for students to engage in collaborative inquiry, focused scholarship, and applied research. The Doctor of Education is a degree oriented to the improvement of professional practice by extending the knowledge, expertise, and skill of candidates through the application of research to leadership issues.

Experienced practitioners and professionals, including teachers, administrators, counselors, and individuals in higher education, related community agencies, and organizations, will be prepared to become system leaders and agents of change in their communities and will be ready to advance in their professional careers. It is expected that students typically will complete the coursework and dissertation within a four- to six-year period; a total of eight years is allowed with approval.

Plymouth State University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and formed the first EdD cohort in 2009.

For more information, visit the Educational Leadership, Learning and Curriculum Department website.

  • Prerequisite Coursework
  • A graduate-level research design course
  • An advanced graduate-level qualitative methodologies course
    • Specialization Component Courses – 27 credits

Students select coursework based on professional goals, certification needs, and interests. In some instances, career goals may require a degree program in excess of 60 credits; therefore, consultation with an academic advisor prior to taking courses is essential. Course selection must have the approval of the academic advisor and the doctoral program coordinator.

This requirement can be fulfilled with courses taken for a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) or equivalent program.

  • Doctoral Core Component – 24 credits
  • 3
    Leaders play an important role in constructing, guiding, and improving learning in organizations. This course explores research-based discoveries and insights about the brain, learning, and development from multiple disciplines. Topics will include current developmental concepts as they are connected to understanding people, organizations, and policy settings. (Prerequisites: Member of the PSU EdD cohort).
  • 3
    This course engages students in understanding and using the theory and practice of program assessment and evaluation, including the effective communication of results. Students work directly with an agency or program to design an evaluation proposal. Various methodologies and approaches are investigated. Students discuss how to use data to inform decisions and to plan and assess programs. (Prerequisites: a research design course and a qualitative research course; member of the PSU EdD cohort).
  • 3
    This course focuses on ethical leadership and advocacy with an emphasis on personal and professional standards. Students apply ethical decision-making models to dilemmas drawn from professional contexts. The psychological and moral development needed to effectively advocate for social justice is considered. Students will demonstrate understanding of effective advocacy at the individual, community and socio-political levels. (Pre-requisite: Completion of EP 8000 and 8010 and member of the PSU EdD cohort).
  • 3
    Leaders often find themselves making decisions, facilitating programs, and mediating conflicts that emanate from the many ways in which humans differ, including ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and cultural beliefs. In this course, attention will be given to central topics and critical issues that address global leadership competencies in working with diverse populations. Students will critically examine the complexity of culture, the building of community, and the promotion of social justice from individual, community, and global perspectives. Furthermore, students will consider and evaluate both reactive and proactive roles for leaders in educational, social, and political settings. (Prerequisites: Completion of EP 8000 and 8010 and member of the PSU EdD cohort).
  • 3
    This course presents an overview of quantitative research design. Understanding the logic and underlying rationale of these research methods is of prime importance in this course. The course includes material related to measurement, sampling, research design, data collection and analysis, and statistics. Students will define and refine a substantive area of intended study and research. Prerequisites: EP 8000, EP 8010, EP 8020, and EP 8060.
  • 3
    This course will provide an organized and collaborative support system for doing the research and writing of the required Review of Literature, which is Dissertation Block One (and becomes Dissertation Chapter Two) as early as possible in the doctoral program. Cohort members will gather on Saturdays throughout the winter and spring terms to collaborate on the writing process, provide feedback and support, and meet their own goals for researching and writing relative to the review of literature that is incorporated into the dissertation in a later term.
  • 3
    EP 8820 Externship
    The externship represents an important stage in the preparation of doctoral candidates. The externship provides an opportunity to explore and research topics of interest related to the dissertation at domestic and international locations outside the University. Externship placements allow candidates to gain new perspectives, sample different career paths, gather practical experience related to the dissertation and network with leaders in education and related fields. Candidates work with their instructor to establish the focus and site of the externship placement. Candidates develop and present their research project at the conclusion of the externship to faculty and peers. Students should be aware that a background check might be a requirement of certain externship sites. (Prerequisites: Successful completion of EP 8040, and permission of the instructor).
  • 3
    Leaders are expected to facilitate the creation of a vision that drives their organization forward. Through readings, responses to interactive lectures, and participation in experiential exercises and group discussions, students will explore opportunities for restructuring organizations to create dynamic workplaces and synergistic organizations. Students will also examine present and emerging paradigms in the areas of behavioral science, psychology, and neuroscience so they may ascertain the impact of these belief systems on individuals and organizations. (Prerequisite: Completion of EP 8020 and 8030 and member of the PSU EdD cohort).
  • Dissertation – 9 credits
  • 9
    This course is designed to facilitate successful completion of the doctoral disseration. This course is repeatable. Students collaborate with their dissertation chair to determine tasks and resources needed to move toward dissertation completion.
  • Total for EdD in Learning, Leadership, and Community – 60 credits

Getting started is easy!

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Completed applications, including required additional documents, must be received online and by March 1 to be considered by the Doctoral Admissions Committee.

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