The mission of the Doctor of Education program is to provide a pathway for students to develop the skills to contribute to improvement and growth in education by identifying issues/problems, utilizing existing literature and research that contributes meaningful information to the analysis of the issues/problem, classifying all stakeholders and their role related to the issue or process, and developing research-based proposals which communicate the findings to stakeholders in the process with the intent to gain support for a means to address the identified issue/problem.
The Doctor of Education program requires successful completion of 90 quarter credit hours. Core courses are supplemented by courses in the specialty area chosen. The courses for this program are conducted in an online delivery format through a competency-based education (CBE) approach. A faculty model is utilized designed for a 1:1 faculty/student relationship that promotes and involves substantive faculty/student interaction. The faculty engage students through a variety of multimedia presentations, conversations, and qualitative and quantitative feedback.
Students complete coursework that supports a strong understanding of the skills required to identify an issue pertinent to their field and determine the existing data and prior research findings that illuminate potential implementations. The primary focus is on identifying and analyzing the value of existing data with a critical lens on both the methodology used in the data collection and the subject matter expertise of the researcher in the student’s field. This process provides the student with the experience of vetting existing data on a broad, potentially international scale, rather than devoting energy to conducting research on a smaller scale due to the constraints of time, location, and availability of subjects.
After completing an initial review of the existing data and developing a preliminary analysis within the first courses, students move on to creating a formal literature review and identification of stakeholders to ensure that the research addresses multiple perspectives. This supports the move from review to analysis and toward the final portion of the dissertation in practice. The final stage will include the student’s findings based upon the analysis of the research and a resulting proposal for implementation commensurate with the industry standards for the field being addressed. As a part of the presentation of the dissertation, the student includes a description or model of how the recommended proposal will be shared with the community or population it is intended to support.
Students are empowered within this learning model to apply their learning in practice each term, demonstrating their understanding by creating a portfolio of work. The guiding principle is for students to collaborate with their instructors and create a learning plan that individualizes each demonstration of mastery specific to their field, rather than a predetermined theoretical application. Each course has a set of competencies that can be demonstrated through application of the topic in the students’ field. To that end, the courses are written to address the competency, not a specific subject matter. Each student chooses a focus for the doctoral program that serves as a basis for the individualization.
Overviews of the Specialty Areas are as follows:
Organizational Leadership is designed to enlighten, equip, and empower students to pursue personal and professional goals within their organizations. The focus of the specialty area ensures that students have a mastery of knowledge and skills to make leadership decisions, influence others and the organizations in which they work, and to lead and navigate organizational changes. The specialty area explores how culture, change, communications, diversity, and strategy impact an organization through research-based practices. Additional focus points are centered around executive leadership, leading across cultures, building organizational capacity, and leading as a coach/consultant.
Adult Learning and Development is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the areas of teaching adults, instructional design, workforce development, and program management within organizations and institutions. Heavily grounded in Knowles theory of andragogy, learners benefit from instructional practices built around the adult-learner are modeled and included in the instructional resources. An additional area of focus includes infusing technology within the learning environment and organizational curriculum mapping.
Teaching and Learning is designed for current educators, both K-12 educators and college/university faculty members that are practitioners within their field. Specific focal points include the areas of research, instructional theories and strategies, and emerging technologies within the field. The Teaching and Learning specialty area gives specific focus to curriculum mapping, designing of curriculum, and assessments to promote student-centered learning opportunities in the K-12 environment.
Higher Education Leadership is designed for current or future employees within a higher education institution. The goal is to develop future leaders in the higher education system through a mastery of the knowledge and skills to make or support leadership decisions, effectively interact with the many areas in the higher educational organization, and to participate in organizational changes. Specific topics of learning are focused on the complexities in the ever-changing world of higher education, analyzing and utilizing data to drive institutional improvement, leadership in diverse cultures, assessment and accreditation efforts, and theoretical practices within the field of education.
Educational Leadership is designed for current or future educators and school administrators, who desire to effectively lead and manage within school, school districts, and other educational institutions. The goal will be to develop future educational leaders that will help drive positive change and impact within their organizations, specifically the K12 sector. Specific focal points will be in the areas of research, leadership theories, and leading within culturally diverse environments.
Instructional Design and Technology focuses on designing, developing, and delivering effective and engaging learning experiences using technology. This specialization prepares students to design, develop, and implement effective and engaging learning experiences that leverage technology to enhance learning outcomes. It combines the best practices from education and technology to create innovative and dynamic learning environments that meet the needs of diverse learners. Students also learn about the latest trends and best practices in online learning, educational technology, and instructional systems design. Graduates may work in various settings, including corporate training departments, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. They may serve as instructional designers, e-learning developers, training managers, or learning consultants. Some graduates may also choose to pursue careers in academia, conducting research on how technology can enhance learning and teaching.
This program is not designed to lead to licensure or certification. Individuals interested in seeking acknowledgement of the degree in their school system or by their home state’s Department of Education for applicable requirements such as compensation increases, should contact the appropriate organization before beginning the program. Students are responsible for determining whether the South College program will meet their home states’ requirements for any such acknowledgement.
Graduates of the program will demonstrate the following:
- Goal I: Ability to interpret research, theoretical concepts, and cultural and organizational roles, and relate and apply them to organizational and higher educational leadership.
- Goal II: Effective oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
- Gal III: Demonstrated research knowledge and skills in the broad field of learning.
- Goal IV: Ability to engage in and conduct a deep analysis from research and with existing data sets to formulate strategic improvement plans.
- Goal V: Understanding of theories in andragogy as it relates to organizational and institutional learning.
Applicants interested in the Doctor of Education programs are required to meet individually either in person or via telephone with an admissions representative and program faculty to discuss the program and all requirements.
Applicants must provide a completed South College application for admission and application to the program. Those selected for admission will provide evidence of completion of a master’s degree (related master’s preferred) from an accredited institution of higher education with a minimum grade point average of 2.75.
Academic Participation and Withdrawal
Administrative Withdrawal Policy
If at the end of a term, the student has not completed at least 50% of one course and has been inactive for more than 60 days, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the program. If a student, who was administratively withdrawn (due to non-participation), wishes to continue with the program, the student must formally re-apply through standard admissions process. The request for readmission must be submitted to the Vice President for Competency-Based Education. Since such student did not complete at least one course within a 6-month term, if granted readmission, the student will be placed on academic probation upon re-entry into the program.
Withdrawal Policy (within the term)
If a student withdraws after the end of the 4th month of any 6-month term, the student will be issued a W grade for any uncompleted courses, unless the student was on academic probation for not completing a course the prior term. In this case, the student will receive a letter grade of F for the course.
If a student withdraws after the 5th month of any 6-month term, any course that is not completed will receive the letter grade of F.
Academic Standards, Candidate Progress, and Grading
Upon entering the graduate program, students are encouraged to confer with their Advisor as needed. Students’ academic progress is monitored each 6 month term to ensure satisfactory progression which is considered mastery of at least one course per term after one term of probation. Students not eligible for progression to the next term will be notified of dismissal. If a student is dismissed or voluntarily withdraws from the program, a formal application for re-entry is required and program requirements in effect at that time must be met.
Student deficiencies that may impact academic standing, which may include warning, probation, or dismissal from the program, are monitored by the Advisor.
Categories of Academic Standing for EdD Candidates are:
- Good Standing: Status of a student who has met academic requirements in a satisfactory manner.
- Warning: Status of a student whose academic performance places him/her in jeopardy of falling below the minimum stated grade required or progression.
- Probation: Status of a student who has failed to receive master in at least one course within a 6-month term. Following a term of probation, the student will either return to Good Standing by satisfactorily completing at least one course in the subsequent term or be dismissed from the program. A student who is dismissed must seek readmission to the program. A student is allowed only one readmission to the EdD program.
- Dismissal: Action whereby a student is dismissed from the program due to failure to adhere to academic and program requirements and/or policies or procedures as specified in the South College Catalog, the South College Student Handbook, and/or the Graduate Program Handbook. The EdD Program Director recommends dismissal and forwards the recommendation to the SOE Dean who after approval forwards the recommendation to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness.
Course Instructors determine mastery of competencies and the resulting final grade in all courses. The requirements of each course are found in the course syllabus.
Percentage Score Range
Students are encouraged to discuss any concern with their advisor. If satisfaction cannot be attained at this level, and the students wants to make his/her concern official at the SOE level, the student must complete a Grievance Form. Every effort will be made to resolve the concern at the SOE level. If the grievance cannot be resolved at the SOE level, the students should then follow the College’s grievance process outlined in the current South College Student Handbook Catalog and Student Handbook available on the institutional website and on the student portal.
For a student to graduate from the Doctor of Education program, the student must be in a good academic and professional standing, have had satisfactory progress in all quarters of the academic program, and satisfactorily complete the following:
- Successfully complete the required quarter credit hours of academic coursework.
- Evidence a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above for the required coursework.
- Achieve a designation of “mastery” for all course competencies.
- Achieve a successful “Pass” for the dissertation.
- Complete all required South College and Program documents in preparation for graduation.
- Honor all professional and financial obligations to South College.