Program Description

The field of educational leadership and administration is evolving and dynamic. Many of North Carolina's school districts are the largest employers in their respective counties. By implication, school superintendents are not only educational leaders, they are the CEOs of Dr. Carol Chase Thomas address the new EDD program participantsthe largest businesses in these counties. With this reality comes the need to prepare our new leaders with a broad background of knowledge, skills and dispositions to serve all students, their families and the broader community.

Population growth has challenged limited resources in all aspects of the work of school leaders from curriculum to facilities. A teacher shortage makes recruiting and retaining teachers and school administrators a major priority. High stakes assessment creates both appropriate and challenging dilemmas in our quest to serve all young people successfully. Increasingly diverse populations entering our educational systems challenge us to continue to revise curriculum, instruction and supervision pedagogy for the populations we serve.

The mission of the doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Administration is to prepare graduates to be informed, proactive and reflective agents of change to improve public schools and other educational organizations for the benefit of all students, particularly in southeastern North Carolina.

The primary goal of the program is to prepare effective leaders who are skilled managers, curricular experts and research-based scholars. Each of these roles includes:

  • theoretical and practical knowledge
  • application of skills
  • appropriate professional dispositions

These areas of emphasis are taught and assessed throughout the program.

The diagram below reflects three components of effective leadership and the challenge for our doctoral program:

Graphical representation of Effective Leaders

The Ed.D. program is intended for practicing professionals who envision themselves as public school leaders, superintendents (with a track leading to a North Carolina public school superintendent's license), state policy makers or higher education curriculum, instruction and supervision specialists.

The program includes foci that guide candidates toward:

  • leading systemic organizational change processes
  • facilitating educational reform
  • serving urban and rural communities, particularly diverse students and families
  • integrating interdisciplinary knowledge from the fields of education, business, nursing education (for health-related matters affecting schools) and social work
  • expanding international connections
  • applying emerging technologies
  • using research and data to inform decisions

Candidates are exposed to seminar and internship opportunities that will explore:

  • issues affecting diverse rural and urban communities
  • comparative cultural/international leadership practices
  • local/state/national business leadership exemplars

Candidates will participate in internship opportunities in rural or urban school-districts, at one of our UNCW/WCE partner international educational locations and with selected businesses whose vision and educational practices are most suited for their anticipated future leadership roles.

Coursework includes the following themes:

  • Systemic educational change and reform practices
  • Social, economic, cultural, environmental and political dynamics of southeastern North Carolina
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Recruiting, retaining and supporting teachers and school administrators
  • Supervision theories and applications
  • Accountability from the level of the learner to the level of the organization
  • Social and cultural dynamics of organizations
  • Strategic planning
  • Access to and management of resources including grant writing and funding
  • Local, state and national legislative policies and practices
  • Comparative cultural and international leadership initiatives
  • Interdisciplinary connections with business
  • Family engagement in the educational process
  • Collaboration with community agencies and service providers
  • Diversity awareness and success for all learners
  • Students with exceptionalities including modifications and legal issues
  • Students and families with limited English proficiency
  • Research, evaluation and assessment
  • Finance, law, sociology, public administration and public policy
  • Emerging technologies
  • Leadership dispositions and communication strategies