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Concordia University Irvine

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership

School of Education

Preparing Transformative Leaders

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership is a graduate program designed for working professionals like you who want to advance their careers in education or administrative leadership. Concordia University Irvine’s integrated curriculum offers practical instruction in leadership so that you can guide diverse learning organizations toward continuous improvement and sustained effectiveness. Through your study of theory and applied research, you will come to embody the knowledge, character, and skills needed to be a catalyst for change. Because your lives are busy, our coursework offers flexible and convenient scheduling online, along with an integrated dissertation track, while retaining the benefits of face-to-face interaction. Graduate students choose from three areas of specialization offered within the Doctor of Education in Leadership degree: Educational Administration, Organizational Change or Special Education.

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Program Highlights

  • 3 Areas of Specialization: Graduate students choose from Educational Administration, Organizational Change or Special Education.
  • Blended Delivery Option: Concordia’s Ed.D. provides a flexible delivery system that utilizes face-to-face, on-campus classroom sessions; real-time, online video conferencing; and self-paced learning modules.
  • Fully Online Option: For students who do not live near campus, we offer an online distance learning option that utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous delivery.
  • 3 Years to Complete: The typical length of a term for each course is eight (8) weeks which allows you to graduate in as few as 33 to 36 months.
  • Student Cohorts: You will belong to a small cohort strategically arranged to facilitate interaction and learning among your fellow students and faculty.
  • Integrated Dissertation Track: You will enjoy an individualized learning plan and senior faculty support, designed to guide you through the dissertation process.
  • Fieldwork Experience: Educational trips are embedded within the curriculum to enhance your understanding of how policy, law, and culture affect learning organizations.
  • Experienced Christian Educators: The doctoral program enables frequent real-time interaction with faculty members who are deeply committed to educational and instructional practices that better meet the needs of every learner.
  • Competitive Price per Unit: The Concordia Ed.D. is priced near or below other Ed.D. programs in Southern California and tuition costs are “locked” for three years.
  • Clear Administrative Services Credential Program: Enroll with the Orange County Department of Education at any time and fulfill your coursework requirements through Concordia University Irvine.

Instructional Learning Options: Blended or Fully Online

Blended delivery icon

We believe there is great value in frequent real-time interaction with fellow students and your instructors. Our Doctor of Education program is delivered through either a blended or a fully online instructional approach. This means less or no time on campus, more time online, and the flexibility to fit continuing education into your home, family, and work life.

Our blended delivery option utilizes face-to-face, on-campus classroom sessions; real-time, online (video conferencing) learning sessions; and self-paced learning modules. Our fully online option uses state-of-the art technology to bring students and faculty together on real-time conference calls and 24/7 learning modules. Both options provide students an accommodative learning environment that encourages interaction and learning among students and faculty throughout each academic term.

You will also enjoy the experience of educational travel. The Ed.D. field work is a continuation of your learning, providing a rich context for applying your academic knowledge, a social laboratory to conduct project observation and research, and a setting for establishing and deepening relationships with fellow students in your cohort.

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Cohort Membership to Promote Success

Students in the online doctoral program move through a sequence of courses collectively. The common goal of starting and completing the program together encourages students to work together, which promotes the development of personal relationships and the building of a professional network. Cohort membership enables students to support and learn from other students, raising expectations that all students will strive to complete the program successfully.

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Curriculum and Integrated Dissertation Track

The purpose of the doctoral program is to develop transformative leaders who embody the knowledge, competencies, and skills necessary to guide organizations toward continuous improvement and sustained effectiveness. The program accomplishes this purpose through a rigorous and integrated curriculum focusing on theory and applied research in leadership, with emphasis on systems thinking in the development of analytical skills applicable to dynamic and diverse learning organizations.

The dissertation track is designed to immerse students in research from the beginning through completion of the program. Starting the research process at the beginning of the program allows students to integrate their coursework topics into their study, and allows them to continually progress through the dissertation steps. In addition to a dedicated advisor, and the support of the dissertation committee, research benchmarks are integrated across the curriculum to ensure that you have an appropriate foundation to build upon.

View Core Curriculum and Dissertation Research »

Educational Trips

Concordia’s Ed.D. program integrates two educational trips within the curriculum: a required trip to Washington D.C., and an optional international trip, most recently to the People’s Republic of China.

United States Capital

Washington, D.C.

Concordia University’s doctoral program integrates educational trips within the curriculum to enhance your understanding of how policy, law, and culture affect learning organizations. You will travel to Washington, D.C., and meet with government officials to discuss standards, policies, and entities that presently guide decisions at the national level and how political aspects impact education policy.

Forbidden City

People’s Republic of China

You can also choose to travel to the People’s Republic of China to interact with Chinese colleagues and students to generate a comparative analysis of different educational systems and to identify desirable attributes to integrate within their local educational system. These trips also offer students and faculty the opportunity to build a sense of community and camaraderie within the cohort.

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Ed.D. Spotlight

members of the EdD program talking

Concordia Steps into Major Role to Evaluate California Education Initiative

Concordia's School of Education was selected by the California Department of Education to conduct a major evaluation for a new statewide entity, the California Early Childhood Special Education Network (CalECSE). Concordia received a $150,000 grant to fund the effort which will also scholarship four doctoral students as researchers.

Belinda Dunnick Karge

Belinda Dunnick Karge: Publishing To Improve Mentorship

Belinda Dunnick Karge, PhD, on the doctoral faculty in Concordia University Irvine’s School of Education, has collaborated on a number of recently-published papers, mostly in partnership with Concordia University Irvine doctoral alumni or students. Full Story

Reyes Gauna

Reyes Gauna: From Orchards to Educational Leadership

Dr. Reyes Gauna is the superintendent of Byron Union School District in Northern California. He may have a big title and a ton of responsibilities, but Dr. Gauna says he never forgets his humble beginnings. Dr. Gauna started out as a school custodian in a nearby district. He held that job for four years while he was in college, then worked his way up to campus safety monitor. He was then inspired to become a teacher, and next, an administrator. Full Story

Nnenna Okpara

Nnenna Okpara: Empowering Her Community

Nnenna has been working in Special Education her entire career. In her most recent position as a Program Specialist for a large urban school district, she is actively involved with teachers, administrators, and parents in meeting the needs of children with special needs in her district. Her coursework at Concordia not only gave her the practical skills to support her community but also has helped her to understand the global impact education needs to have. Full Story

Dissertation: A Mixed Methods Study of Charter School Administrators' Perspectives of Effective Inclusion Practices

Vendetta Dozier Brown

Vendetta Dozier Brown: A Passion for Literacy

Long before Concordia, as a teacher and administrator, Vendetta had a passion for being a voice for the children in her school district and was particularly vocal about the fact that the children weren't reading and writing at acceptable levels. Her time at Concordia University Irvine served to deepen her passion with respect to this issue, and has motivated her to continue working in her community to improve literacy. Full Story

Dissertation: Improving Students' Writing Skills in the Age of Common Core: The Effectiveness of Explicit Prewriting Instruction and Teachers' Views, Perceptions, and Concerns Regarding Implementation

Vonda Rogers

Vonda Rogers: Stepping Out in Faith

Most of us cringe when we think of spending a full day with Middle Schoolers, but not Vonda. She has always had a heart for adolescents and a passion for equality and equity. That combination has made this middle school science teacher a powerful force for change on her large urban middle school campus where she is educating her entire community on culture and the need for understanding one another. Full Story

Dissertation: The Relationship Between Spirituality and an Adolescent's Perspectives and Experiences with Peer Victimization

LaVonne Riggs

LaVonne Riggs: Engaging in Restorative Practices

LaVonne has been sticking up for the underdog her whole life. Long before she came to Concordia she was passionate about standing against injustice and standing up for those who don’t have a seat at the table or who have been looked at as “less-than.” She currently works with university students implementing restorative practices in higher education. Full Story

Corinna Lee-Hathuc

Corinna Lee-Hathuc: Impacting Educators

For as long as she can remember Corinna always wanted to be an educator. But growing up as the daughter of a teacher, it wasn’t always easy to distinguish between where her mother’s dream ended and hers began. It wasn’t until she stepped out of classroom teaching and into Administration that this calling became her own. Full Story

William Nelson

William Nelson: Uplifting Students to Reach Their Goals

Will’s goal is to uplift his students, offering them more opportunities than those he was afforded early in his life. He’s a strong believer that a student’s success reaches far beyond the individual student, but also impacts the students’ family and community. The more success a student has in school, the more likely they’ll find success in their adult lives - hopefully a future with less reliance on government resources. Full Story

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Faculty Spotlight

Concordia University has a strong faculty of experienced Christian educators who are faithful to the university’s mission to “empower students. . . for lives of learning, service, and leadership.” Our doctoral program is structured to enable frequent real-time interaction among students and instructors, in both face-to-face and online settings.

About the School of Education at Concordia

The School of Education has a rich tradition of training teachers. We have graduates teaching around the world as a part of our mission to go into the world and serve. Our Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited programs currently serve over one thousand graduate and undergraduate students on campus, online, and in our regional cohorts in Temecula, Orange County, Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire. Concordia graduates are recognized as outstanding in their field.

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