Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership for Changing Populations


Degrees offered



The online Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership for Changing Populations prepares effective leaders for increasingly diverse populations in higher education. The curriculum provides hands-on experience with education practice and policy with a focus on organizational management.


Changing Populations Course Courses

EDU-615 Educator as a Change Leader (3)
EDU-672 Changing Populations in Historical Perspective (3)
EDU-675 Democracy and Education: Three Philosophical Perspectives (3)
EDU-698 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity (3)

Higher Education Courses

EDU-622 Education and Policy Analysis (3)
EDU-802 Organization and Governance in Higher Education (3)
EDU-803 Assessment, Evaluation, and Accreditation (3)
EDU-804 Finance, Philanthropy, Budget, and the Strategic Planning Process in Higher Education (3)
EDU-805 Curriculum Development for Changing Populations (3)
EDU-806 Internship (3)

Research Core Courses

EDU-695 Research Design (3)
EDU-701 Methods of Quantitative Research (3)
EDU-703 Methods of Qualitative Research (3)

Dissertation Courses

EDU-705 Dissertation Seminar (3)
EDU-706 Dissertation Methodology (3)
EDU-801 Dissertation (6)

Comprehensive Examinations

Prior to undertaking the dissertation, candidates must pass oral and written comprehensive examinations demonstrating knowledge both of the broad conceptual and procedural aspects of instruction for changing populations and in-depth knowledge in the area of specialization in which the candidate proposes to undertake the investigations that will result in the doctoral dissertation.

The comprehensive exam experience requires students to write essay answers demonstrating proficiency in writing, critical thinking, and holistic perspectives, and to demonstrate their ability to articulate their perceived roles as agents of change in education.


The dissertation is the culmination of the candidate’s doctoral studies. In this extended work of original and independent research, the candidate addresses a problem or issue relevant to education, conducts research that is quantitative or qualitative (depending on the chosen subject), and develops a dissertation that adds to knowledge in the field. After identifying the research topic and receiving approval from the dean of education, the candidate works closely with a dissertation advisor to complete each stage of the dissertation process. The candidate defends the dissertation before a committee formed by the dean of education in consultation with the advisor and the candidate. The committee includes faculty from the School of Education. Where relevant to the student’s research topic, the committee may also include a faculty member from a complementary discipline.


EDU-615 Educator As a Change Leader

Explores the dynamics of innovation and change in organizations and institutions, the conceptualization, planning, and management of innovation and change, and various decision-making and problem-solving strategies. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-622 Education and Policy Analysis For Changing Schools

Creates awareness of recurring issues and tensions inherent in providing educational opportunities in a democratic society. Examples are: impact of linguistic and cultural diversity on equity, ethical issues confronting teachers and policy-makers, tensions between individual and collective interests, limits of democratic authority and equality of educational opportunity in a democratic society. This course introduces the process by which such policies are accomplished: identifying context and relevant antecedents, framing of problems and solutions within policies, policy implementation and anticipating and responding to policy consequences. The course includes theoretical and applied readings on state and national policy issues as they affect the educational environment and the learning needs of mainstream and non-mainstream students. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-672 Changing School Population in Historical Perspective

Considers the immigrant experience as integral to major developments in the history of American education. The United States has been called "a nation of immigrants," and John Dewey has defined the school as a society in miniature. This course traces the influence waves of immigration have had on American attitudes and institutions of education from colonial times to the present as successive generations have responded to the pedagogical, economic and political implications inherent in the changing demographics of American schools. The course provides insights into the aims, challenges and priorities for curriculum and instruction as A merican schools have confronted such issues as learning differences, gender, race, ethnicity and social structures in changing populations of learners. The course traces the history of complex interactions as multicultural and multilingual students, teachers, staff, parents, community leaders and others have sought to create schools as learning communities. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-675 Democracy and Education: Philosophical Perspectives

Analyzes the major philosophical perspectives that have formed and continue to inf luence American attitudes toward the enterprise of schooling and toward the roles and responsibilities of schools in the United States. Selections address education both as a public responsibility and as an individual pursuit. Students also examine the unique moral, ethical and educational issues raised by the linguistically and culturally pluralistic nature of society in the United States. Through reading, study, analytic discussion and reflection students identify more clearly their own philosophies of education with regard to serving non-mainstream learners and the ethical principles that guide their professional decisions. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-695 Research Design

Examines and analyzes principles of research design in education. This will include a review of research tools and resources and an overview of quantitative and qualitative approaches as applied to educational issues. Students will be expected to identify elements of exemplary research models and to present a sample design in one of these modes. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-698 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity

Assists educators in better understanding the nature of language and language acquisition in the context of their relevance for education. First and second language acquisition will be studied in detail, primarily from a cognitive perspective with emphasis on the analysis of the diverse variables that play a role in language acquisition and how these affect literacy development. The focus of this course will be on the study of language development of K-12 students who are linguistic minority students, including those for whom Standard English is a second dialect and those for whom it is a second language. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-701 Methods of Quantitative Research

Introduces the student to statistics and statistical reasoning, uses of location and dispersion measures, regression and correlation, formation of hypotheses tests and analyses of variance and contingency tables. Applies statistical concepts to research design and educational measures including description statistics, presentations of data, estimation and hypothesis testing. Practice entering, analyzing, and interpreting data using statistical software, such as SPSS, is integrated throughout the semester. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-703 Methods of Qualitative Research

Explores qualitative methods currently used in educational research. Students examine the paradigms drawn from philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology and comparative studies as they rely on narrative rather than quantitative ordering of data. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-705 Dissertation Seminar

Supports each degree candidate in identifying a dissertation topic, conducting a comprehensive review of the literature relevant to the topic, and developing the dissertation proposal. The proposal presents the formal plan for research and includes an introduction, review of the literature and research methodology. In this collegial setting, seminar members present their findings, share research data and dilemmas, and participate in critically examining and analyzing their own and one another's progress. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-706 Dissertation Seminar: Methodology

The overall goal of this course is to provide the student with the opportunity to extend skills learned in prior coursework in the dissertation program, and their prior experiential learning, leading to the development of a dissertation proposal. Student will extend prior coursework in theory, skills at developing literature reviews, and the appropriate use of research designs to develop a research design assessing the efficacy of an educational or educationally related project targeted to the student's substantive question of inquiry. Attention will be focused upon developing the skills and knowledge needed to formulate dissertation research questions in order to design a piece of research that is original, credible and important to the field. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-801 Dissertation

Students are required to submit a dissertation that gives evidence of original, independent research and critical thinking on a topic in the field of instruction for changing populations. The dissertation demonstrates the candidate's proficiency in conducting original, in-depth research; subjecting this research to critical analyses; and presenting this research in a dissertation that makes a substantive contribution to the field. The dissertation is expected to be an intensive, deeply researched, sharply focused, original study that will add to the knowledge in the field rather than to the solution of a problem for a specific, practical application. The dissertation defense is presented before a committee of a minimum of five, including faculty from the Education Department as well as from academic disciplines relevant to the candidate's topic. [ 6 credits ] NOTE: Prior to undertaking the dissertation, candidates must pass oral and written comprehensive examinations demonstrating knowledge both of the broad conceptual and procedural aspects of instruction for changing populations and in-depth knowledge in the area of specialization in which the candidate proposes to undertake the investigations that will result in the doctoral dissertation.

EDU-802 Organization and Governance in Higher Education

EDU-803 Assessment, Evaluation and Accreditation

EDU-804 Finance, Philanthropy, Budget and the Strategic Planning Process in Higher Education

EDU-805 Curriculum for Changing Populations

This course focuses first on the changing student population entering higher education today. More than ever, students represent a broad diversity on campuses, and the learning environment must respond to meet their needs and promote their success. The course then explores various curricular models that constitute best practice, from identifying learning outcomes to mapping curriculum to achieve them, from effective teaching strategies to assessment practices that enhance learning. A variety of curricular models, like case studies, problem-based learning, online, integrative learning, and team-based learning will demonstrate the pros and cons of various delivery modes. Critical to creating a successful learning environment is promoting intellectual engagement outside as well as inside the classroom. Service learning, internships, student organizations, and other forms of experiential learning will be explored. [ 3 credits ]

EDU-806 Internship