Earn your Doctorate of Education of Leadership & Higher Education – online
Leveraging dynamic online learning technologies and innovative course design, the online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) of Leadership & Higher Education at St. Edward’s University is designed to prepare students for success in the rapidly-changing world of post-secondary education. Completed in as little as 39 months, students in this program gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities to identify critical issues challenging all aspects of post-secondary education and to examine and define approaches to creatively and comprehensively address those challenges. Students complete a series of Core, Research and Concentration courses in an accelerated format.
The unique curriculum allows students to conduct practice-based dissertation research while completing their coursework.
For more information, please call 512.387.3110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing the Program Leadership
Dr. Tom Sechrest is Professor of Human Development & Leadership and Director of the Ed.D. Program as well as the Master of Science in Leadership & Change Program. He has had a long career in leadership development as an entrepreneur, in the public sector, in the private sector, in the non-profit sector, and in higher education. He started his career as an entrepreneur in educational & industrial television, creating training films, documentaries, commercials, and music videos for Don Kirshner's Rock Concerts. He then worked as a television producer for the U.S. Department of Labor and led a national leadership development project there. He worked in corporate leadership & succession planning for AMD, then served as Faculty Chair for Leadership Austin before joining the faculty at St. Edward's.
Dean, Behavioral Sciences
All graduates of the St. Edward’s University Ed.D Program will be able to:
- Critically examine innovative ways to lead within the context of post-secondary education
- Use data analytics in a leadership capacity in order to inform resolution of complex issues facing organizations
- Demonstrate capacity to lead complex adaptive systems in a constantly-changing world
- Provide theoretically-informed recommendations for organizational issues through the lens of social justice
- Develop strategies that address real-world issues through practice-based research
- Demonstrate both oral and written communication skills sufficient to be recognized as a competent leader in organizations
The online Ed.D. of Leadership and Higher Education is a 60-credit hour program, designed to be completed in 39 months while working full time. The program allows students to start two times a year, in the Fall or Spring.
The program curriculum includes:
- 8 CORE courses (24 credit hours)
- 6 RESEARCH courses (21 credit hours)
- 5 CONCENTRATION courses (15 credit hours) in one of two concentration areas: Higher Education or Organizational Leadership & Change.
Courses are offered in a 7-week accelerated format, with two 7-week terms roughly equaling the length of a traditional semester.
- Leadership in the 21st Century: Current Trends, Emerging Possibilities
- Demystifying Doctoral Research & Writing
- Introduction to Digital Learning Environments
- Discerning the Past & Leading the Future of Education
- Ethical Decision-making: Global Issues, Frameworks & Approaches
- Managing Resources: Economic & Financial Issues
- Socially-Conscious Leadership
- Predictive Analytics in Higher Education & Leadership
- Practice-based Research: Preparing & Proposing the Culminating Experience
- Empirical Methods: Introduction to Statistics for Research
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Mixed Methods Application of Research Methodologies
- Dissertation Writing Seminar
- Dissertation Research: Implementation, Analysis, Defense
Concentration Courses - Higher Education
- Design Thinking: Creativity & Innovation
- Leading Strategically in Higher Education
- Systemic Inquiry: Leading in Crisis & Complexity
- The Legal, Ethical & Moral Responsibilities of Universities
- Conflict Analysis & Resolution
- Special Topics (when need or opportunity arises)
Concentration Courses - Leadership & Change
- Design Thinking: Creativity & Innovation
- Principles & Practices of Organizational Change
- Systemic Inquiry: Leading in Crisis & Complexity
- Mentoring & Coaching for Leadership Success
- Conflict Analysis & Resolution
- Special Topics (when need or opportunity arises)
The career outlook for post-secondary education administrators is strong, with a national median salary of $97,500 (BLS, 2020).
The Ed.D. degree allows higher education administrators, change management experts, training professionals, and all those who straddle the worlds of teaching and training to specialize in Leadership & Higher Education to broaden their knowledge, increase the scope of their skills and expand their professional network.
Meet the Faculty
An experienced team of educators with many years of post-secondary leadership and teaching knowledge each bring their unique perspectives to the classroom as the faculty for this Program.
Clay Avery, JD is licensed to practice law in Texas, but believes in focusing on using mediation as a primary means for conflict resolution. With over 100+ hours of mediation experience, Clay is a strong believer in the Community-Based approach to collaborative problem-solving. He is an active volunteer mediator at the Austin Dispute Resolution Center in addition to coaching future mediators during the Center's 40-hour basic mediator trainings. In 2018, Clay helped implement the first online dispute resolution system used in a Travis County court. Clay currently holds a "Credentialed Mediator" designation from the Texas Mediators Credentialing Association. A member of the Texas Association of Mediators and the Austin Mediators Association, he currently serves on the AMA Board as its Treasurer. He is also a member of the State Bar of Texas and the SBOT’s Alternative Dispute Resolution section. Clay holds a BBA from Texas Christian University and a JD from the University of Texas School of Law.
Dr. Marco Clark is the Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute, headquartered at St. Edward’s University, as well as an Assistant Professor of Education. Clark is a veteran of Catholic education, having served as President and CEO of Bishop McNamara High School, a school founded and sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross, for many years. The role of executive director of HCI aligns with his experience and professional goals.
“Throughout my 30-years in Catholic education, I have been committed to leadership development with the aim to empower future leaders for the Church, our schools and for society,” Clark said.
The Holy Cross Institute is responsible for strengthening and assuring the Holy Cross character and identity of the secondary schools, colleges and universities sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross. The institute provides resources, programs and events that educate administrators, faculty, board members and students on the unique educational legacy of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Clark earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and his Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from Bowie State University in Maryland. He received his Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dr. Rebecca Frost Davis is the Associate Vice President for Digital Learning at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX whose works focuses on the intersections of digital pedagogy and liberal education. She teaches about digital learning environments in the university's Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) of Leadership in Higher Education.
Dr. Sara Gibson specialized in the tax and accounting aspects of retirement plans and worked in several venues such as bank trust departments and accounting firms including eight years with Ernst & Young. Sara completed her PhD in human and organizational systems in 2011. Her dissertation research focused on the psychology of adult learners and a group process known as Action Learning. She has taught a number of university-level courses over the last several years including Career Development, Principles of Ethics, Human Resources Management, Building Ethical Organizations, Critical Thinking, Design and Delivery of Training, Strategic Planning, Adult Development, Organizational Communication, Global Ethics and Responsibility, Leadership and Team Development, and Creativity and Innovation.
Dr. Ralph Gohring has over 35 years of experience consulting with executives, managers, and work groups at all levels on strategic, business and operational planning. He has extensive experience in the leadership and management of organization development functional areas and of organization development programs at major universities, a Fortune 500 company, a 12,000-employee public-sector organization, and as an independent performance consultant.
Dr. Harold Hardaway is a speaker and thought leader on corporate communications and culture. He believes everyone should “Chase the Good” and centers his work on helping organizations create spaces where that’s possible. He is currently the Executive Director of Internal Communications for athenahealth. Previous roles include Co-Founder & CEO of Cardigan—an employer branding and internal communications consultancy—and Director of Corporate Communications and Culture for H-E-B. He was previously an adjunct professor of Organizational Behavior at Texas State University and The University of the Incarnate Word where he received his PhD in Organizational Leadership.
Harold currently serves on the Board of Directors for Leadership Austin and Creative Action.
Dr. Lisa Kirkpatrick is Vice President for Student Affairs. She reports to the university president and serves on the president’s cabinet, while providing supervision to the associate vice president and director for Athletics, associate vice president for Student Affairs, directors of Residential Education and Housing, director of Health & Counseling Center, and Dean of Students. Additional areas in her portfolio include Student Activities, Student Transitions and Family Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, and Recreation & Wellness. She served in the Associate Vice President role since 2008, Dean of Students since 1998, and continues to serve as Title IX Coordinator since 2012.
Dr. Kimberly Kvaal, Ed.D. is the Vice President for Finance & Administration at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas since August 2014 and has over 24 years of experience in the higher education industry at two previous institutions. Her areas of responsibility include finance, facilities, human resources, auxiliaries, campus safety, and compliance and risk management. She serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and is responsible for an annual operating budget of approximately $110M and an endowment of $115M.
Leslie Loughmiller, Ed.D. is the Dissertation Coordinator for the Doctorate of Leadership and Higher Education program and the Department Chair and Associate Professor of Education for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at St. Edward’s University.
Leslie holds a bachelors degree in special education from Texas Tech University, a Masters Degree in Special Education Diagnostician from Texas State University, and a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University of Florida.
Leslie has been an educator for over 25 years in the areas of special education, elementary education, early childhood, elementary curriculum development, higher education leadership and adult education. Her time and service in higher education has been spent teaching and mentoring pre-service teachers and graduate students as well as developing programs and courses for university programs.
In addition, Leslie provides service to her profession as one of the members of the editorial review board for a researched based journal in special education, the Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, serves on pre-k through 12 education and educational leadership research dissertation committees and has served on the school board for many years for a private school for special needs adolescents in the Austin area.
Lori McNabb, Ph.D. is the Senior Strategic Consultant at Civitas Learning. In that role, she provides planning, facilitation, and training services for higher education leadership, staff, and faculty members who are working to integrate analytics’ technologies and predictive data into their student retention decision-making and support processes.
Prior to joining Civitas Learning, Lori was Associate Director for Academic Initiatives in the Department of Computer Science at UT Austin. There, she managed student engagement, community outreach, and recruiting programs. From 2000 until 2010, Lori was a leader within the University of Texas System TeleCampus, where she coordinated a team that created and managed student services and supports for students learning entirely online, and also faculty development and support for faculty members teaching online courses at any of the 15 universities within the System. She also served as the Alumni Director at St. Edward’s University.
Lori’s K-12 experiences include coordinating curriculum development for UT Austin’s Institute for Public School Initiatives, managing the school-community partnership program at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, and supporting in-school volunteers for Junior Achievement.
Lori holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from UT Austin. She earned an M.S. in Organizational Leadership and Ethics and B.A. in Economics from St. Edward’s University.
Dr. Ellen Melton is the Director of Graduate and Professional Studies, and an Assistant Professor of Counseling. Ellen has been a professor in psychology and counselor educator for over 20 years. She is a Psychologist, a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor. Ellen maintains a private practice where she sees clients with a wide range of psychological and emotional issues and concerns. In addition, she also supervises LPC-Interns during the completion of their licensing journey.
Dr. Ted Middelberg has over thirty years of business experience, including executive-level positions, along with fifteen years of experience developing leaders and teams. Ted adapts to the needs and issues of each client by using systems-level thinking and attuned interpersonal skills. He has a track record of bringing out the best in individual leaders, teams, and organizations.
He has worked with a distinguished list of executive clients, at firms such as AT&T and ExxonMobil, and across a wide range of industries. He also works with aspiring executives. While at IBM, he created the widely acclaimed Global Executive Program that enabled great senior managers to become successful executives.
Ted has a BA in Economics from Brown University and an MBA in Finance from The Ohio State University. By the time he reached the VP of Finance level, Ted came to appreciate his passion for developing leaders and retooled by obtaining a doctorate in Human Resource Development and Leadership from the University of Texas – Austin. He is a Certified Executive Coach.
Ted has served on the Board of Directors for a number of professional and non-profit organizations. He stays fresh through active membership in professional organizations, by serving as the master coach to other executive coaches, and by guiding aspiring leaders as an adjunct professor at St. Edward’s University.
Dr. Jane Milman is a psychologist who teaches and conducts grief research at St Edward's University. She also teaches Mixed Methods Research in the Ed.D. Program at St. Edward’s. She is also a faculty member at the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition and adjunct assistant professor with the National Crime Victims Treatment and Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Milman publishes research examining how making meaning of difficult life experiences influences mental health following grief, trauma and other stressful events. She also actively practices psychology and has published novel grief therapy techniques, assessment tools, and treatment protocols, including authoring chapters for the Hospice Foundation of America and for each edition of the acclaimed Routledge series Techniques of Grief Therapy. These publications focus on how to support the bereft in living meaningfully after a loss while maintaining a life-affirming connection with the deceased. Dr. Milman is a content expert and writer for the Canadian Virtual Hospice, currently developing online grief support resources for Canadian veterans and their families. Dr. Milman is proud to serve as the chair of the Distance and Online Education committee at the Association for Death Education and Counseling where she coordinates continuing education in grief and end-of-life therapy. Currently, Dr. Milman is collaborating with Drs. Edith Steffen and Robert Neimeyer to develop the Handbook of Grief Therapies for Sage Publications. Dr. Milman presents internationally on the topic of grief, trauma and meaning making, offering workshops, webinars, and research presentations at conferences, in clinical settings, and for media outlets.
Dr. Shelbee NguyenVoges is Associate Professor of Education and the Director of the Master of Arts Program in Educational Innovation. She has more than ten years of teaching experience in adult and higher education contexts. Her research explores the practice of adult learning theory targeting experiential learning, narrative, critical reflection, and sociocultural influences on study abroad participation.
Rob Robinson, Ph.D. is a Senior Director at Blackboard, an educational technology company. In this role, Rob works directly with colleges and universities on strategic issues. In addition, he is a primary contributor to their Center for Advancing Learning, a policy and analysis hub.
From 2012 to 2021 he was Senior Principal Strategy Consultant at Civitas Learning where he worked with colleges and universities to help them leverage data analytics to further their mission of student success, with a specific focus on change management and institutional culture.
Before joining Civitas Learning, Rob was a Principal Strategist at Blackboard, a position in which he provided strategic consulting services to higher education clients in the US and abroad.
Between 2010 and 2012, Rob served as Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Technology at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he led online and hybrid course development and supported faculty and staff across the institution. From 1999 until 2010, Rob was a key leader with the University of Texas System TeleCampus, a large-scale, System-wide organization supporting fully online degree programs, many of which were inter-institutional collaborative programs. Prior to that, Rob spent many years working in various technology roles within higher education institutions.
Rob holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and B.S. from UT Austin, and earned his M.B.A. at St. Edward’s University. He previously was Chair and President of the Board of Directors of the United States Distance Learning Association and is a Trustee of La Roche University in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Tom Sechrest is Professor of Human Development & Leadership and Director of the Ed.D. Program as well as the Master of Science in Leadership & Change Program. He has had a long career as an entrepreneur in educational & industrial television, creating training films, documentaries, commercials, and music videos for Don Kirshner's Rock Concerts. He then worked as a television producer for the U.S. Department of Labor and led a national leadership development project. He worked in corporate leadership & succession planning for AMD, then served as Faculty Chair for Leadership Austin before joining the faculty at St. Edward's, where he has served as Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the Business School, and Director of the Master’s Program in Leadership & Change.
Dr. Kris Sloan is Professor of Education at St. Edward’s University, where he teaches courses on culture, curriculum, pedagogy, leadership, ethics, and educational policy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Sloan has published works on anti-oppressive pedagogy, educational policy, teacher education and assessment literacy. He has worked as a professional curriculum designer and has taught in the United States and abroad.
How to Apply
To apply for the online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) of Leadership and Higher Education program, students are required to have a master’s degree from an accredited university and completion/submission of the following application materials.
1. St. Edward’s University application for admission
The admissions application for the online Doctorate (Ed.D.) of Education of Leadership and Higher Education program can be completed online HERE. You will need to create and validate an account, before beginning the application.
2. A nonrefundable application fee, or fee waiver
Note there is a $50 application fee to apply.
3. Official transcripts from all institutions attended
St. Edward’s University prefers transcripts submitted electronically. If your undergraduate institution does not provide electronic transcripts, please have official transcripts mailed to:
St. Edward’s University
Office of Admissions
3001 South Congress
Austin, TX 78704-6489
4. A resume or C.V.
5. A letter of intent
The applicant is to write a 2-3 page document that clearly describes the following:
- Why you want this degree
- What background experiences, knowledge, skills, etc. you will bring to the program and your studies
- Why our program
- How we will experience you as a student
6. Two letters of recommendation
The applicant must secure and have sent to the admissions staff two (2) letters of recommendation from professional references. It is advised that these letters address academic prowess, professionalism, leadership, and research/writing skills. These letters must be from professionals who have worked with the applicant within the last three years and are not family or friends.
7. A writing sample (please see instructions below)
The applicant is to submit a 6-8 page academic paper on one of the following topics:
- Current issues in post-baccalaureate higher education leadership
- Current issues in leadership and change in a diverse world
- Challenges and solutions to leading future leaders
- Using social justice as the means by which to lead
8. A copy of a government issued ID
- Driver’s License
- State ID
Additional Requirements for International Students or permanent resident applicants
- Official foreign credential evaluation of foreign credits.
- TOEFL score of at least 79 or an IELTS score of 6.0
- Copy of Permanent Resident Card (if applicable)
Once this information is submitted, St. Edward’s University uses a rolling admissions process to evaluate each candidate. Prospective students should expect to be contacted within two business days of their finalized application regarding next steps. After that, the application will be presented to the Admissions Committee, and students should expect to hear back within two weeks on their acceptance to online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) of Leadership and Higher Education program.
Are you interested in speaking with an enrollment counselor to find out more about the online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) of Leadership and Higher Education program?