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Ed.D. Design and Program of Study

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.

Design of the Ed.D. Program

Program Design

The program is based on an accelerated, cohort-paced model designed around a rigorous multidisciplinary program of study in executive leadership. Classes 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 leadership standards.

Candidates are organized into teams to develop and complete group projects. Readings are 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 includes professional development opportunities and seminars conducted by local, state, and national experts in the field of leadership. In addition, technology is used to support research, class presentations, course assignments, and other aspects of teaching and learning.

The program begins with a cohort of approximately 20 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.

Curriculum Design

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, history, and law.

Program of Study

The program of study is based on widely accepted state and national standards, competencies, and dispositions that promote effective leadership. The courses, cohort model, field experiences, and dissertation processes integrate theory and practice to ensure that candidates receive a comprehensive, seamless, and high-quality educational experience based on cutting-edge knowledge, current research, and best practices.

The program emphasizes the reflective use of research as the basis for informing practice. Candidates are 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 are assigned faculty advisors and 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 advisor and executive mentor on research or other field-based projects, prepare for the demands of the dissertation, and develop a proposal that supports achievement of the organization's and the candidate’s goals and program outcomes. 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 28 months.

The School District Leader (SDL) Advanced Certificate is an additional program component for qualified individuals interested in school district leadership opportunities.

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 experts with Fisher faculty and field mentors.

Candidates are required to participate actively in class discussions, and they are expected to contribute to, and in certain cases, lead the discussions based on their experiences and research. Each candidate works with a dissertation advisor and committee throughout the dissertation process. Certain aspects of the dissertation development process are integrated into the coursework and field experiences. However, candidates are expected to commit significant time outside of the classroom on dissertation development and refinement to support successful and timely completion of all dissertation requirements.