Earn your Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Higher Education – online
Leveraging dynamic online learning technologies and innovative course design, the online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Higher Education at St. Edward’s University is designed to prepare students for success in the rapidly-changing world of postsecondary 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.
Degree Plan & Courses
The online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Higher Education program 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), 7 research courses (21 credit hours) and 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
- Research Methods I: Introduction to Practice-based Research
- Dissertation Writing Seminar 1: Literature Review
- Research Methods II: Introduction to Qualitative, Quantitative & Mixed Methods Research
- Dissertation Writing Seminar II: Final Methodology Overview
- Research Methods III: Introduction to Analysis & Interpretation
- Dissertation Writing Seminar III: Analysis, Interpretation, Findings
- Dissertation Research: Implementation, Analysis, Defense
Higher Education Concentration
- 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)
Organizational Leadership & Change Concentration
- 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)
Learning Goals & Career Outcomes
Upon completion of the online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Higher Education program, you 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 complex 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 career outlook for postsecondary 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.
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.
Dr. Tom Sechrest is Professor of Human Development & Leadership and Director of the Online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) of Leadership and Higher Education program as well as the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership 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.
Catherine Campbell, PhD, is the Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences. She has been at St. Edward’s University since July 2020. Her doctorate is in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas. She has extensive experience with graduate programs and student research. Her areas of interest include education access, student success, service delivery, and wellness.
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. 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. Mary Edna González has dedicated her life to promoting social change through her community engagement, professional experiences, and academic background. Over the past decade, Mary has helped classrooms, organizations, and companies embrace and understand how to strategically support transformative change.
Mary received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, her Master's Degree from St. Edward's University, and her Doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction- Cultural Studies in Education at UT-Austin.
Previously, she has worked at the National Hispanic Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, and as the Assistant Dean for Student Multicultural Affairs at Southwestern University. Most recently, Dr. González was the Assistant Director for the Partnership for the Future of Learning at the National Public Education Support Fund. Currently, she is the Executive Director for the Mexican American School Board Association, as well as the founder and managing partner at Izel Consulting.
Most recently, Mary was awarded the "Champion for Children" title by the Equity Center, a Texas-based nonprofit organization that strives to create a more equitable public school finance system, as well as the "Leadership Award" by Equality Texas for her leadership advocating for LGBTQ equality. In 2015, she was the youngest inductee into the El Paso Women's Hall of Fame
In her individual capacity as a Texas resident, she serves in the Texas House of Representatives as State Representative for House District 75 (El Paso County). Mary serves as the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, as well as on the Public Education Committee in the Texas House. She is currently serving her second term as Vice Chair for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and the Chair of the new Texas House LGBTQ Caucus. Nationally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, and as Co-Chair for the Board of Latino Legislative Leaders.
Dr. Hunter Keeney serves as Visiting Assistant Professor and Dissertation Facilitator for the Ed.D. Program at St. Edward's University. In addition to teaching research methods courses and writing seminars, his role is heavily focused on directly advising and assisting doctoral candidates throughout the dissertation process. Dr. Keeney has taught science and education courses in higher education for more than 10 years. His research interests center around online learning environments, active learning, critical and contemplative pedagogies, and issues surrounding social equity in education.
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.
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.
George E. Martin, Ph.D., was president of St. Edward's University from 1999 to 2021. During this time, full-time undergraduate enrollment doubled, the university's graduation rate improved by more than 60%, and the university was ranked 8 th in the West by U.S. News & World Report. The university campus was transformed with the construction or total renovation of 27 buildings, the planting of more than 1,000 trees, and the creation of the university commons. Donors responded to the university's vision by investing more than $200 million in St. Edward's, helping the university to more than triple its endowment. St. Edward's was transformed into a global campus, with an international student population that tripled in size and a network of 19 partner universities in Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. Remaining true to its Holy Cross mission, the university founded the Holy Cross Institute and expanded its financial support of low-income students and students of color by reinforcing its commitment to the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and creating its own McNair Scholars Program. Acknowledging the quality of a St. Edward's diploma, the 77 Fulbright awards won since 2010, and 90 Gilman Scholarships won since 2001, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, on October 27, 2021, recognized St. Edward's with two awards, first as one of only 35 national Fulbright HIS Leaders, and second as a Top Producing Institution in the twenty-year history of the Gilman Scholarship program.
Dr. Martin is a leader in American higher education. Currently, he serves on the boards of St. Peter's University and Notre Dame of Maryland University. He chaired the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT), the Texas Campus Compact, and the Heartland Athletic Conference. He was a member of the ACCU Hispanic Initiative Taskforce and Working Group, and the TIAA Diversity Council. He has served on the boards of the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the New American Colleges and Universities (NACU), the Lone Star Conference, the Campus to Community Coalition of Texas (C3), St. Mary's College (South Bend, Indiana), and the Wye Faculty Governing Board. He also chaired the Reauthorization Task Force on Student Financial Aid for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and was a member of the National Science Foundation Hispanic-Serving Institutions Advisory Committee of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, the American Council of Education (ACE) Commission on Higher Education Attainment, and the American Council of Education (ACE) Commission on Effective Leadership.
Dr. Martin is equally dedicated to community development and the arts in Austin. He was a member of the Austin Mayor's Task Force on Institutional Racism & Systemic Inequities, the Ballet Austin Board, the Austin Symphony Honorary Advisory Council, the Caritas Community Advisory Board, the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO), and has served on the United Way Board and the Austin Public Library Foundation Advisory Board.
Dr. Martin has over 50 years of experience in higher education. Earlier in his career, Dr. Martin was a Professor of Political Science and served as a department chair, dean, and academic vice president.
John McCall is the Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller for Texas A&M University and is responsible for leading and directing accounting and financial services. He has placed particular emphasis on identifying, analyzing, and leading key accounting and financial initiatives, operational controls, and accountability measures. In addition, he has established a vision to be a model for accounting and financial services through continuous process improvement, efficiency initiatives, and a culture of collaborative teamwork and delivering results.
John is a native Texan, a graduate of The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, and holds an MBA from UT Dallas.
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. Shelbee NguyenVoges is Associate Professor of Education. 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.
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.) in Leadership and Higher Education program, applicants are required to have a master’s degree from an accredited university. Review application steps and requirements for the program as well as key dates:
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Check Out This Helpful Q&A with Program Director Tom Sechrest
The Doctorate of Education of Leadership and Higher Education prepares the next generation of leaders for the constantly evolving field of postsecondary education. Program director Tom Sechrest explains how this St. Edward’s University program uniquely prepares graduates for future success and impact.