PhD Educational Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum

Program Description

The nature of education today defies the neat borders and boundaries that have historically characterized many education doctoral programs. Educational policy and politics are centered on changing the status quo as schools increasingly work collaboratively with families, non-profits, and civil society organizations. Activism and entrepreneurship are taking on new forms in the ever-shifting world of education. Thus, we offer an integrated approach that embraces these new worlds of education so that leaders are prepared to meet the needs of diverse student populations and communities through an array of educational institutions and programs. 

The guiding mission of our doctoral program is to prepare educational leaders and scholars who are attuned to culture-based leadership and who are critically aware, politically and ethically discerning, and policy fluent.  Our Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership with a focus in Leadership, Culture, and Curriculum integrates the fields of educational administration, leadership, and curriculum with an emphasis on educational equity. The program is flexible enough to allow room for students to build expertise in their areas of interest, or to complete the requirements for an administrative license.  We approach leadership from a cultural perspective that seeks to prepare leaders for various educational institutions. Our core classes employ culture-based theories to examine the interplay and struggles of various groups within societies. We ask students to understand both how schools as organizations are presently constructed, as well as to deeply understand how education for the purpose of social justice might require fundamental shifts in thinking about students, families, neighborhoods and nation. 

We believe that a doctoral program in educational leadership that starts with questions of culture is far better equipped to help its graduates work for more socially just educational institutions and spaces. Grounding our efforts in cultural theories helps to explain the differentials of wealth and status that strongly shape educational outcomes in our society. Moreover, it enables educational leaders to more easily frame questions of democratic purpose and moral value within the educational contexts in which they are working. The seven principles orienting our department’s work root the Educational Leadership doctoral program curriculum within a substantive ethical vision of schooling appropriate for a diverse democratic society.

Course Requirements