Western Kentucky University

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

General Overview

WKU established its innovative Educational Leadership Doctoral Program to meet the increasing demand for leadership to take P-20 education to new levels. The doctoral program demonstrates WKU's commitment to provide seamless career development in professional education and is intended to prepare "practitioner-scholars" who will study seminal and current theories in order to translate and apply them in daily practice.

WKU's unique education doctorate addresses the needs of practicing professionals to develop leadership skills in cross-disciplinary settings. The goals of the curriculum are to increase candidates' understanding of human learning, improve the organizations within which candidates work, and teach candidates to conduct career-relevant research, thereby increasing their problem-solving abilities within their varied work settings.

In order to facilitate the connection of theoretical concepts to the real-world needs of practitioners, the WKU doctoral program:

  • encourages participants to become practitioner-scholars by promoting skills and knowledge in real-world practice settings to gain scholarship and experience in applied behaviors;
  • provides doctoral students the opportunity to explore the entire range of career options in various settings so that they can make sound career choices for themselves and their students;
  • is designed with management and oversight structures that encourage inter-program, cross-program, and inter-institutional collaboration;
  • provides participation with leadership capacity to bring about changes that enhance student learning; and
  • provides interdisciplinary research preparation focused on contextually based real-world problems and education that will be central to future global competitiveness.

Four Program Specializations

The specific selection of program strand courses for a student's program will be based on an evaluation of the candidate's background and strengths, as well as on the candidate's professional objectives and needs. With advisor approval, courses will be selected to support intellectual and professional development related to one of the four program specializations:

  • P-12 Administrative Leadership -  designed for individuals desiring to serve or to enhance their capacity to serve as public school/school district administrators;
  • Teacher Leadership - designed for individuals desiring to serve or to enhance their capacity to serve in leadership roles related to areas such as assessment, curriculum, technology, literacy, and classroom teaching;
  • Postsecondary Leadership - designed for individuals desiring to serve or to enhance their capacity to serve in two-year and four-year institutions; or
  • Organizational Leadership - designed for individuals desiring to serve or to enhance their capacity to serve in education-related organizations that are not classified as schools, colleges, or universities.
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 Last Modified 7/22/13