Program Structure

Hybrid Format

We designed this program to ensure that you’re still able to continue full-time employment while pursuing your doctorate. Classes are held online during fall and spring semesters, while summer sessions are offered in a hybrid format (three weeks online and one week of on-campus residency at the George Fox Portland Center in Portland, Oregon).

Program Length

The Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership program is designed to be completed in three years.

students in residency in classroom listen to elder professor

Residency Requirement in Portland, OR

You’ll have an intensive one-week on-campus residency once each summer in Portland, Oregon. During residency, you’ll engage in face-to-face instruction as well as participate in activities that build scholarly engagement in an intellectual community. Residency is a critical experience in which faculty and students get to know one another while growing in academic knowledge.

Cohort Based

The EdD program is designed around a cohort model, meaning you’ll take all of your core classes with the same group of students whether you choose the Administration Concentration or the Instructional Design and Development Concentration. Students build lasting relationships with both faculty and with their cohort members – experienced leaders from all over the country (and sometimes the world).

Course Work

The EdD program contains 56 credit hours of course work. Students will fulfill these requirements by taking:

38 Core Semester Credits

  • Faith and Learning/Ethics – 6 credits
  • Educational Foundations – 3 credits
  • Leadership – 3 credits
  • Teaching and Learning – 3 credits
  • Colloquium – 3 credits
  • Research – 12 credits
  • Dissertation – 8 credits

12 Concentration Credits
6 Elective Credits

2 students look at a pink laptop in a classroom

For more information on course work, see the curriculum sequence for each concentration.

Why Core Curriculum?

Core courses in the EdD program are designed to equip you with foundational knowledge related to your work in education. At the end of your doctorate, you’ll be able to:

  • Reflect critically and ethically on matters of equity and social justice in educational settings
  • Collaborate to solve educational problems and implement strategic actions that reflect justice for all students and stakeholders
  • Apply research-based skills to improve educational practice and student outcomes
  • Provide strategic leadership in educational settings
  • Analyze and apply research-based learning solutions that support schools and educational settings toward improved practice and student outcomes

Doctor of Education (EdD Degree) Requirements

Core Requirements

Complete the following:

This course approaches the study of ethics by examining the teachings of Jesus and contemporary ethical theories and applies them to the dilemmas of leadership within both public and private education in the culturally diverse communities they serve. Additionally, this course will examine theories and practices of educational equity in relation to various forms of social inequality and marginalization in the American context. Close reading and analysis of contemporary educational research will offer students an opportunity to explore how social justice issues play out in contemporary educational contexts and their implications for practice. Meets or is met by ADMN 543.
This course examines how faith, and particularly the Christian faith, can sustain the life of the mind, serving as an energizing and guiding force in the work and life of a scholar-practitioner. We will examine both the positives and challenges of serving a public religion, the shaping influence of denominational beliefs, what might it mean to teach from a Christian perspective, the concerns regarding maintaining distinctiveness yet avoiding proclamation in educational settings, and the characteristics and commitments that make an educational institution truly Christian. Quaker testimonies (values) will also be examined as a case study for the formation of wisdom communities.

Complete the following:

Educators operate in a complex web of political relationships - within schools and universities, between educational institutions and their communities, and across levels of government. This course is designed to enable educators to become more effective and responsible actors within this web of political and social relationships in order to improve, restructure, and transform educational institutions. The following questions are examined: What is power? How is political consciousness formed in children and adults? How do social problems become political issues? How is the political decision-making agenda set? How are policy issues decided? How do policy decisions affect and how are they affected by the organizational structure of institutions? How can educational leaders use political power to transform schools? The issues of change; desegregation; decentralization; equality of educational opportunity; structure of educational organization; teacher/student relationships; reform in education at elementary, secondary, post-secondary levels; and multiculturalism are also examined. Meets or is met by ADMN 542.

Complete the following:

After a survey of contemporary leadership theories, this course will focus on strategies for effective organization change, thoughtful organizational development, and the impact of leadership on institutional vitality – both positive and negative. Leadership will be understood as both an art form open to creativity, passion and care, and a craft requiring disciplined thought and action. Each student will also develop a personal philosophy of leadership. Meets or is met by ADMN 540.

Complete the following:

Analysis and investigation of current research in effective teaching methods as related to specific subject areas, learning styles, and current school reform will be applied.

Complete the following:

One-credit colloquia will be offered at each summer intensive experience in the program. Students must complete 3 credits:
This course is designed to extend and deepen thinking about education, "educational leadership" and inquiry through shared readings, interaction with faculty and local educational leaders, and critical reflective writing and conversation.

Complete the following:

The course will develop knowledge and skills needed for the critical review and consumption of (1) empirical research from the scholarly and professional literature in educational leadership and (2) data generated through and informative of the professional practice in education. The course addresses the question, "How do scholar practitioners discern and interact with scholarly research and organizational data in ways that contribute to improvement in education?"
This course will develop key student skills necessary for dissertation research and completion. Technical skills such as refining inquiry and research questions, writing a literature review, and developing a dissertation proposal will be learned. Soft skills and dispositions researchers need to develop and employ will also be studied and fostered. Students will write a problem, purpose and significance statement using a rationale supported by evidence and reasons, including an ethical justification for the chosen problem of practice. They will also provide a justification for how the scholarly literature supports each of the above elements. The course addresses the question, "How do scholar practitioners prepare and plan to communicate research and scholarship findings through dissertation?" NOTE:**Consult with the Research Director ahead of registering for EDDL 797 to determine the most appropriate track for either the 800-803 or 806-807 sequence; each track requires 8 credits for completion.
This course will examine data analysis techniques - both quantitative and qualitative - that are essential to context-based continuous improvement. Leading practice improvement as scholar practitioners in educational settings requires that data be collected, analyzed, and fashioned as evidence that is accepted in schools, the academy and the community. Analysis techniques will be studied for methodological soundness. The course addresses the question, "How do scholar practitioners analyze data effectively, and use it as evidence in service of context-based leadership and scholarship?"
This course will develop skills and thinking related to continuous improvement in education at an organizational level. Approaches and techniques drawn from improvement science and other continuous improvement systems thinking heuristics will be studied and developed. The course addresses the question, "How do organizational leaders intentionally design and monitor continuous improvement aligned to mission?"

Complete the following:

Within six units of core plus concentration, students take the following options for dissertation courses.

Note:
**Doctoral students may take a maximum of 4 hours of doctoral dissertation research hours in any semester. EDDL 805 is for students who do not finish their dissertation research within the minimum 8 hours, and is repeated until the dissertation is finished. Students who make satisfactory progress each semester on their dissertation will receive a Pass grade until the dissertation is completed. Please consult with the Research Director ahead of registering for EDDL 797 to determine the most appropriate track for either the 800-803 or 806-807 sequence; each track requires 8 credits for completion.

Students are required to take a minimum of 8 semester credits for dissertation work (typically spread across fall/spring semesters of Year 3). If the student has not finished the dissertation in this time frame, the candidate must stay continuously enrolled in dissertation credits (2 credits per semester) until the dissertation is completed. Prerequisites: EDDL 796, 797, 798 and 799.
Students are required to take a minimum of 8 semester credits for dissertation work (typically spread across fall/spring semesters of Year 3). If the student has not finished the dissertation in this timeframe, the candidate must stay continuously enrolled in dissertation credits (2 credits per semester) until the dissertation is completed. Prerequisite: EDDL 800. Can be enrolled concurrently with EDDL 800 with the permission of the Doctor of Education Program director.
Students are required to take a minimum of 8 semester credits for dissertation work (typically spread across fall/spring semesters of Year 3). If the student has not finished the dissertation in this timeframe, the candidate must stay continuously enrolled in dissertation credits (2 credits per semester) until the dissertation is completed. Pre-requisite: EDDL 801
Students are required to take a minimum of 8 semester credits for dissertation work (typically spread across fall/spring semesters of Year 3). If the student has not finished the dissertation in this timeframe, the candidate must stay continuously enrolled in dissertation credits (2 credits per semester) until the dissertation is completed. Pre-Requisite:EDDL 802. Can be enrolled concurrently with EDDL 802 with the permission of the Doctor of Education Program director.
In this course, improvement science dissertation in practice (ISDiP) candidates work with their key organizational stakeholders to determine the fit and feasibility of their improvement science project proposal from their 797 course. Consistent with the plan-do-study-act (PDSA) model, they will lead collaboration with a Networked Improvement Community (NIC), including collecting, analyzing, and acting on necessary data in order to improve outcomes in student learning, staff performance, school processes, or stakeholder perceptions. Expected course deliverables over the 60-90 day cycle include sharing and consistently updating a portfolio of NIC session logistics and outcomes, including relevant analysis of frameworks, systems, causes, measures, and participant knowledge with the 806 ISDiP Director. Prerequisites: EDDL 796, 797, 798 and 799.
ISDiP candidates will write up a formal document that encapsulates the preceding ISDiP research. This document must adhere to the formatting requirements in the EDD Dissertations Handbook. Candidates will then submit the edited draft to the 807 Director. Once approved, the candidate will prepare and record a professional presentation using the Handbook's requirements, which the 807 Director will upload to an EDD YouTube site. This will be shared with the EDD Guild and community, consisting of alumni, faculty, and friends of the GFU community. After a period of 15 days from upload, the candidate will use the presentation feedback to craft a Reflection section that concludes the ISDiP; this is an opportunity to combine the wisdom of the crowd with the candidate's learning journey. Prerequisite: EDDL 806. Can be enrolled concurrently with EDDL 806 with the permission of the Doctor of Education Program director.
Required of doctoral level students who did not complete their dissertation research in EDDL 800-803. Credit hours to be determined by dissertation chair regarding time to completion.

Concentrations (Choose one)

Principal License

27 credits total

Complete the following:

Students participate in discussions and/or activities dealing with site-based management, decision making, mentoring, management of human resources, and issues dealing with professional leadership in education. Meets or is met by EDDL 716.
This course will offer you a picture of the complexities of the principalship. Serving as the leader in a school setting is perhaps the most challenging position in any school system or structure. The immediate demands in any given day can more than fill a month of diary entries with challenges and successes. The challenge of responding to the immediate, while intentionally charting and leading teams on a course to continuous improvement for all students, fills the "To Do List' to overflowing each and every day.
This course focuses on legal issues that arise in elementary, secondary, and collegiate institutions. The course provides educators with knowledge and analytic skills needed to apply legal frameworks to educational policy including the statutes regulating financial policy. The course investigates creative ways in which law can be used to help address current problems in schools, and helps educators think through questions of ethics and policy that legal disputes raise but do not resolve. Meets or is met by EDDL 710.
This course examines how belief structures undergird the methods educators use to motivate people to learn. Through the light of ethical theory, students examine how organizational leaders respond to the situations they face. Students also reflect on and apply their own values and ethical understanding to shed light on case studies that represent situations they often face as educational leaders. Meets or is met by EDDL 700.
This course is designed to help educational leaders understand key ideas central to ongoing research on teaching and learning to establish educational policy and transform educational practice at their institutions. The course emphasizes ways in which cultural, social, and organizational contexts influence learning. Students will learn to use the clinical supervision model and other tools for supervising and evaluating teacher performance based on best practices. The course will examine the leader's role in establishing and maintaining an environment that is conducive to student and adult learning.
This course will call on you to go beyond traditional notions of how schools and the larger communities in which they are set engage and strengthen each other. Schools are increasingly called on to do more than present students with opportunities to learn core subject areas. Indeed, they are often the hubs of any community, urban and rural and everything in between. The challenge of a broadened call upon schools to serve as a partner in the community is at times daunting, but one that can and should be viewed as an incredible opportunity to partner to do more for all, both inside and outside the walls of the school house.
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the importance of a framework for continuous school improvement that is aligned to the mission, goals and values of a school and district. Getting better at getting better is the underlying work of continuous improvement systems models that serve as the engine to ongoing improvement in a school. Concepts such as alignment and cohesion to mission, values, resource investment, data priorities and communications will be explored.

Elective Coursework (6 hours required)

Students may complete any combination of courses drawn from the Instructional Design and Development concentration, P-12 Administration concentration, and/or Reading Endorsement (READ), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement (ESOL) and Special Education Endorsement (SPED).
This option satisfies the track plus substitutes for EDDL 700, 710 and 716 from the doctoral core.

TSPC Information

6 additional practicum credits are required to meet TSPC licensure.

Professional Administrator License

18 credits total

Complete the following:

This is a core requirement of the Professional Administrative Licensure program and requires admission to the doctoral program, the Professional Administrative Licensure program, or specific advisor approval. This course focuses on district-level leadership roles and the importance of shared vision. Participants will assess their management styles in light of the requirements of various upper-level management positions in a variety of educational organizations. The class will examine how education districts of various sizes organize to maximize learning and to perform necessary functions as required by state and national mandates. Topics include establishing a vision for the organization, empowering others to lead, human resource selection and development, working with other leaders, making public presentations, and dealing with hostile constituents.
This is a core requirement of the Professional Administrative Licensure program and requires admission to the doctoral program, the Professional Administrative Licensure program, or specific advisor approval. This course focuses on leadership responsibilities of specialized programs. The class will examine how educators can navigate federal mandates for special programs using Oregon's statutes, administrative rules, and agencies as a model. Participants will be involved through discussions, simulations, and presentations utilizing materials and personnel from a variety of educational organizations. Course topics include: administrating special programs (e.g., special education, talented and gifted, English as a second language); dealing with curricular and legal issues encountered in delivering these services to children; and developing strategies to improve the academic performance of students through special programs. Additional emphasis will be placed on emerging leadership strategies to address the needs of alternative education students.
This is a core requirement of the Professional Administrative Licensure program and requires admission to the doctoral program, the Professional Administrative Licensure program, or specific advisor approval. The role of the school superintendent is increasingly challenging and requires specialized knowledge and skills to avoid common pitfalls. This course provides practical knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the superintendent role focusing on school board relations and communication, facility development, collective bargaining, grievance resolution, board meeting management, board member development, and advanced personnel issues such as dismissal and sexual harassment investigation.
This is a core requirement of the Professional Administrative Licensure program and requires admission to the doctoral program, the Professional Administrative Licensure program, or specific advisor approval. This course surveys the principles and practices useful to the evaluation of organizational programs and policies. Participants examine the models and tools used in informing educational and other leaders as to evaluation purpose, design, and methods for understanding the role of evaluation in program planning, implementation, and accountability. The course focuses on understanding: the purposes of evaluation, the role of the evaluator, evaluation designs and analysis, presentation of evaluation results, and the role of evaluation conclusions in organizational decision making.
This is a core requirement of the Professional Administrative Licensure program and requires admission to the doctoral program, the Professional Administrative Licensure program, or specific advisor approval. Educational leaders must balance the allocation of scarce resources among competing interests while managing the organizational structure and empowering those who support the organizational mission. This course prepares educators to address the value tensions inherent in the allocation of resources and the educational consequences linked to those fiscal decisions. Issues of efficiency, equity, adequacy, and control in educational finance will be specifically addressed from historical, economic, moral, legal, and political perspectives. The course also provides a critical analysis of organizations, how they function, why people in organizations behave as they do, and examines the formal and informal decision-making structures that affect educational organizations.

Elective Coursework (3 hours required)

Students may complete any combination of courses drawn from the Instructional Design and Development concentration, P-12 Administration concentration, and/or Reading Endorsement (READ), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement (ESOL) and Special Education Endorsement (SPED).

TSPC Information:

3 additional practicum credits and 3 years on a Principal License are required to meet TSPC licensure.

Complete the following:

In this class, candidates will gain advanced knowledge of curriculum theory, policy, models and practice. They will learn to lead curriculum development and assessment projects, and explore research-based instruction and assessment to support curriculum development.
This course examines the adult learner and principles of effective professional development.
Bringing about change in organizations requires a unique set of leadership skills. Those charged with leadership responsibilities need knowledge and skill to lead people and teams in productive ways. This course explores emerging theories related to leading people.
This course will lead students to reflect and act on the intersection of personal, interpersonal, and organizational influences on beliefs, values, policies, practices, and structures. They will examine the ways these influences prohibit or advantage educational equity and opportunity for all individuals. Students will explore leadership that promotes equitable policies, procedures, and systems to enhance learning within P-20 or community-based educational organizations.

Elective Coursework (6 hours required)

These courses are developed to provide the educator with in-depth knowledge on educational issues of importance to the field.
This course examines the idea of the university since its beginning in medieval times, paying particular attention to thinkers in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The intent is to provide the student with a philosophical orientation and perspective on recurring contemporary issues related to HE, helping to guide decision making at all levels of the institution in order to provide wise care of the structures, values, practices, and persons who live and work in institutions of higher education.
In this course, teacher leaders will explore and practice processes that help educators to make informed data driven decisions related to classroom and school-wide outcomes. Advanced work with formative and summative assessment prepares teacher leaders to direct building initiatives.
This course focuses on the real-world issues of planning for, implementing, sustaining, and institutionalizing the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning throughout an educational organization.
Education is ever on the agenda of national governments. What role is education expected to play in national development? In this course students will examine the varied ways by which different nations tackle issues such as equity, efficiency, and quality in education. The course will also examine the conceptual and methodological questions underlying the field of comparative education. Particular attention is given to types of social and political analysis that may be applied to comparative and cross-national studies in education.
1, 2, or 3 credits: This internship provides apprenticeship-learning opportunities alongside EdD professors, with a focus on developing and applying knowledge for educational practice. Students may demonstrate proficiency in program evaluation as part of the internship. Internships provide students with in-depth learning experiences in settings outside the university classroom. Opportunities include research-based partnerships with EdD professors or other possible educational partners. All internships are planned and completed under the guidance of a university faculty member. Students in the EdD program should consider internships as elective options to enrich their program of study. Please contact an individual faculty member for each internship experience at least one semester prior to enrolling.
Research, theory and effective practice is explored in this course on mentoring in educational settings.
This course is designed for students who wish to delve more deeply into a specific area of study relevant to their doctoral concentration, and to write about that subject in a scholarly manner, producing material worthy of publication. In partnership with the professor of record, students will construct a list of scholarly publications and resources to engage, and a writing schedule with content criteria, submission due dates, and desired outcomes for the seminar.
1, 2, or 3 hours: This internship provides apprenticeship alongside GFU professors teaching undergrad or graduate teacher education courses in the student’s field of study. Emphasis is on developing thoughtful and informed pedagogy in online, hybrid, or face-to-face learning environments. Internships provide students with in-depth learning experiences in settings outside the university classroom. Opportunities include teaching-based partnerships with EdD professors. All internships are planned and completed under the guidance of a university faculty member. Students in the EdD program should consider internships as elective options to enrich their program of study. Please contact the individual faculty member for each internship experience at least one semester prior to enrolling.

Choose 18 credits from the following

Students may complete any combination of courses drawn from the Instructional Design and Development concentration, P-12 Administration concentrations, and/or English Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement (ESOL), Reading Interventionist Endorsement (READ),  and Special Education Endorsement (SPED)

TSPC Information

ESOL Endorsement: Complete 18 credits of ESOL courses, plus 2 additional practicum credits.
Reading Interventionist Endorsement: Complete 18 credits of READ courses, plus 2 additional practicum credits.
Special Education Endorsement: Complete 20 credits of SPED courses, plus one SPED special study and 4 additional practicum credits.