University of Colorado - Denver

Name of CPED-Influenced Program: Doctorate of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity

Key Contact Person: 
Sandy Snyder-Mondragon, PhD


Program Description:

This doctor of education degree was developed specifically to meet the needs of practicing professionals who intend to assume leadership roles in P-12, community/ teaching colleges or community-based educational contexts and want to gain a greater understanding of human learning, educational leadership, and the means by which research can be conducted and successfully applied in urban and diverse communities.

To meet the needs of the targeted student population, this EdD degree was built with the understanding that (a) students move through the program in a cohort of about twenty students completing their coursework in three years (b) core and concentration curricula have common syllabi, developed collaboratively by teams of faculty and field-based experts, and with students taking the courses in a specified sequence; (c) courses are offered primarily in weekend, hybrid (part face-to-face and part online instruction), online and summer intensive formats designed for working adults; (d) instructional processes focus on problems of practice in education and community based contexts, problem solving, discussion and small-group work; (e) concentration courses build on and integrate the interdisciplinary knowledge gained from core courses; and (f) students participate in thematic dissertations with each student writing his or her own unique dissertation while working on common themes or education issues and challenges with small groups of students directed by one or two faculty advisors.

Stage in Redesign Process: Experienced with Graduates
Description of each year of the Program: 

Coursework – 54 Credit Hours

  • 6 hours in an equity core
    (two, 3 - credit courses)
  • 6 hours in a leadership and organizational performance core
    (two, 3 - credit courses)
  • 6 hours in learning core
    (two, 3 - credit courses)
  • 12 hours in one of six concentration areas
    (four, 3 - credit courses/experiences)
  • 9 hours in a research core
    (three, 3 - credit courses)
  • 15 hours of completion of a Dissertation in Practice

Concentration Areas

Students in the EdD program select a concentration area from one of the six options: (a) executive leadership, (b) early childhood special education/special education (c) math education, (d) professional learning and technology, (e) science education, and (f) urban ecologies. 

Executive Leadership Concentration Areas (ELP/ALP – ELP/PLP)

This concentration area is designed for professionals in various leadership positions in educational, community and non-profit organizations who wish to acquire learning and experiences related to personnel management, finance, accountability systems and evaluation, community relations, policy development, analysis, and research. This concentration area will support learning activities for individuals who hold or seek to move into senior leadership positions inside school districts, community colleges, higher education policy organizations or community-based education organizations. Roles may include that of a director, deputy, superintendent or president. There are two options within the Executive Leadership Program that provide a path to licensure: (a) Administrative Leadership Program – with option for Administrative Licensure from CDE, and (b) Principal Licensure Program – with option for Principal Licensure from CDE.

Early Childhood Special Education/
Early Childhood Education Concentration Area

This concentration area is designed to introduce students to issues and practices in early childhood special education/early childhood education and to prepare students to provide leadership to improve outcomes for children with disabilities across early childhood settings. The program will prepare students who can act effectively as administrators in districts, agencies and programs to improve outcomes of all children, including children with disabilities.

Mathematics Education Concentration Area

This concentration areas provides learning opportunities for student and faculty focus on teacher learning and professional development experiences. Specifically, projects investigate the ways that particular interventions used in professional development for mathematics teachers impacts their content knowledge and pedagogical practices in their classrooms. Work in this area is framed by a situated perspective of learning and incorporates mixed methods to answer questions around the ways particular interventions support teacher and student learning. Video data is prominent in both the design of professional development interventions as well as a major data source for analyses. Analytic methods vary based on the research question and grain size.

Professional Learning and Technology (PLT) Concentration Area

Professional roles in education are rapidly changing as learners’ needs evolve. This concentration area brings together faculty and students seeking to support working educators in ongoing professional development (PD) and learning activities, helping them become more effective and productive in their jobs. The PLT focus addresses the PD needs of K-12 teachers but also those of higher educators and workplace learners. Applying principles of adult learning, instructional design and change leadership, we use a variety of methods (mentoring, coaching, site-based communities, e-learning resources, workshops etc.) to support professional growth and accountability. The PLT courses in the EdD program prepare you to assume leadership in professional learning programs at all levels (site-based, district- or organization-wide), applying the latest research and best practices of the profession.  For a thorough description of courses, conceptual framework, faculty, and schedule, see our description online.

Science Education Concentration Area

This concentration area prepares students to explore, understand, and think critically about the nature of science and science education from a largely research-oriented perspective. Students may elect to focus on environmental science education as an area of specialization within this concentration area through electives and discipline-specific research agendas.

Urban Ecologies Concentration Area

This concentration brings together several faculty members in the interdisciplinary study of education in urban ecologies. Participating faculty members are aligned with the interdisciplinary concentration area as a whole, rather than specific threads or foci. The philosophical assumptions underlying work in this concentration area are: (a) Cultural groups are not monolithic, (b) Urban life and learning, including Pre-K-20 education, encompass complex phenomena that benefit from the multiple lenses offered by multi-disciplinarity, and (c) Trans-nationalism characterizes the cultural experiences and political/economic realities of many communities in cities and contributes to the hybrid identities of residents. These assumptions contribute to a conceptual frame for investigating diversity within the city that is not focused on specific groups, but rather is concerned with the influence of globalization on communities in general within the city. Experiences of and issues confronting different cultural and ethno-linguistic groups will be the key content of this concentration area.

Program Milestones: 

Students complete a comprehensive exam in which he/she expounds upon and synthesizes knowledge and skills related to their chosen concentration area. Students must pass the comprehensive exam in order to advance to candidacy. All students complete a dissertation in order to graduate from the program.

Graduate Outcomes

The following learner outcomes are expectations for this program.

  • Reflect and act on the intersection of personal, inter-personal, and organizational influences on beliefs, values, policies, practices, and structures that prohibit or advantage educational equity and opportunities for all individuals.
  • Demonstrate leadership that promotes equitable policies, procedures, and systems that enhance learning within P-20 or community-based education organizations.
  • Demonstrate effective collaboration and the ability to lead others to achieve greater levels of collaboration in order to achieve diversity and equity for students.
  • Develop expertise in a primary concentration area.
  • Demonstrate inquiry skills to address contemporary education challenges.

Admission Requirements: 

Minimum requirements:

  • Master's degree in education or related field. Students without appropriate master's level course work in P-20 or community-based education fields may be required to complete additional course work.
  • We recommend a 3.2 GPA in graduate-level course work

The School of Education & Human Development accepts all applications online. Please review the information below to prepare for the application process. Your application will include:

  • Current resume or curriculum vita — Applicants must have and show a minimum of five years of experience in an educational P-20 or community-based context.
  • Written statement — Describe your background, career goals and reasons for applying to the program in 5-7 pages. Delineate a significant problem of practice or pressing question that you hope to explore through inquiry in this program, being sure to specify your preferred area of concentration. Provide a rationale as to why this problem or question is relevant to today's educational contexts. Also, describe and provide examples of the breadth and depth of your relevant P-20 or community-based educational leadership experiences, as they are an important factor in admission decisions. In addition, address how you will make time in your life to meet the time demands of the program (i.e. at least 15 hours of work per week outside of class.)
  • Two or three professional artifacts — Include examples of your work that illuminate your leadership experiences within your most current and/or recent positions. Be sure to explain the role you played in the development of the artifact and the degree to which you were a primary or secondary contributor.
  • Three letters of recommendation - Letters should be from coworkers, former professors, etc. Recommendations should not be more than two years old. The recommenders are sent an email with a link to the recommendation form.  When a recommender submits the form, we receive an email notifying us that a recommendation has been submitted on your behalf. The recommendation includes a space for your recommender to cut and paste their recommendation.
  • One official transcript from every previous college/university attended — Please submit transcripts from (a) institutions granting previous degrees and (b) institutions from which courses have been taken that you wish to transfer into the program. Transcripts should be issued to you, collected by you, and subsequently sent to the School of Education & Human Development in the original, unopened envelopes. Instructions on where to mail transcripts are provided in the application.
  • $50 application fee for domestic students, $75 application fee for international students (paid via credit card, e-check or by mailing in a check).
General Information:
Program Delivery: Hybrid
Average number of students admitted into the EdD program each year: 25
Number of credits in the program (beyond the Masters): 54
Length of Program: Less than 4 years
Are most students part time or full time?: full time
Admissions Cycle: Students are admitted once a year for a summer start.  The deadline to apply is December 1st.
What competencies and/or attributes best characterize graduates of your program?: 

The goal of the Leadership for Educational Equity program is to prepare future leaders for equity in P-20 and community-based education contexts, who can effectively translate research into practice, influence policy, use data effectively in decision- making, and organize individuals and groups to address challenges collaboratively and successfully. 

Through our focus on equity, EdD faculty intend to prepare educational leaders to critically examine the ways in which socio-cultural and political histories of individuals and systems interact to privilege some and marginalize others, resulting in disparate educational opportunities and outcomes for students.  The EdD program’s equity focus equips educational leaders to recognize, identify, and eliminate those systems that create areas of marginality and improve policy, structures and practices to ensure opportunities and participation for all individuals.

Financial aid available to students: In addition to federal financial aid, the school offers a number of scholarships for EdD students.

Core Courses: 

EDFN 7410 – Power and Privilege: The Social Construction of Difference
This course will focus on understanding culture and diversity, recognizing the role of power and privilege in both individual and institutional interactions, and developing a philosophy of social justice and equity.

EDUC 7100 – Leadership in Education
This course orients students to broad periods of administrative science, philosophical and behavioral underpinnings of various models and types of leadership, and develops doctoral-level analysis and writing skills needed to articulate self-knowledge as leader and the application of appropriate leadership practices in context.

EPSY 7712 – Seminar: Learning Theory and Learners
Students apply major issues from learning theories and development to problems of practice related to educational leadership and innovation.

EDUC 7230 – Organizational Performance in Educational Contexts
Explores connections between organizational behaviors and outcomes as well as external and internal factors influencing organizational behavior. The course focuses on how education organizations learn, how they can use that learning to improve performance, and what techniques are available to help understand present performance and affect future performance.

EDFN 7250 – School and Society
Policies and educational reforms affecting the technical core of schooling: curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment, and organization. Students develop research and policy analysis skills and investigate social and political factors affecting what is taught and learned in schools.

INTE 7100 – Professional Learning and Technology
Examines research surrounding the design and delivery of professional development (PD) programs in K20 and workplace settings. Projects and activities address: adult learning; PD models; design and performance support and evaluation; career development and digital presence; and online tools. 

Research Courses:

There are 9 hours of research required for the EdD:

  • Foundations of Evaluation and Action Research
  • Evaluation and Action Research Data Collection Methods
  • Advanced Evaluation and Action Research Analysis

Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)
Headquartered @ The University of Pittsburgh School of Education
5522 Posvar Hall - 230 S. Bouquet Street - Pittsburgh, PA 15260   +1 (412) 648-7428