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Doctorate of Education in Leadership Studies

The Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies is designed as a 2-year program relevant to working professionals from a variety of fields such as education, non-profits, government, etc.  The inaugural cohort will enroll in May 2024.  The program emphasizes fairness, diversity, and social justice with threads related to these concepts embedded in the content coursework. 
 
The WVSU Department of Leadership Studies is excited to offer the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership Studies program.  This innovative and online program is aligned with the WVSU Mission, Vision, and Core Values.  Graduates of the program will contribute to societial needs of the state and nation through researching complex challenges in organizations.  The program is designed for working adults and will continue WVSU's long history of being student-centered.  In keeping with the institution's heritage as an HBCU, the EdD program emphasizes fairness, diversity, and social justice with threads related to these concepts embedded in the content coursework. Cohorts of students will progress through the program in two years, culminating in an action-research based dissertation.  
Students in the WVSU Ed.D. in Leadership Studies will understand and critique organizational scholarship, design and conduct their own field-based inquiries with practitioners in their field. The goal of this approach is to enhance organizational practice and to effect profound change in organizations  The program consists of a minimum of 16 3-hour courses.  Twelve courses, 36 hours, are content coursework, with the remaining 4 courses (12 hours) dedicated to the research project and presentation.  Students may exceed 48 hours of coursework in the event that additional hours are needed in order to complete the research project and presentation.  The WVSU EdD program emphasizes fairness, diversity, and social justice with threads related to these concepts embedded in the content coursework.  In this practitioner model, students will work throughout the program to consider the needs of an organization of their choosing.  As the program progresses, students will develop a research project related to their organization.  The culminating experience will consist of a dissertation based on an action research project.   Students will start considering research needs of their chosen organization from the beginning of the program.  Work on the research project will be partially housed within the classes and beyond that, students will choose a dissertation chairperson and work with a dissertation committee. 


Admission Requirements
The application for admission is available in the "Forms" section.  Completed applications including the application fee are due March 7. 

The following materials are required for application to the Ed.D. program:
  • APPLICATION FORM: Complete the Application for Admission.
  • APPLICATION FEE: An application fee of $50 (resident) or $75 (non-resident) must accompany each application for admission. The application fee cannot be waived or deferred and is not refundable.
  • TRANSCRIPTS: Provide an official transcript from each college or university attended and degrees earned. Graduates of West Virginia State University must provide official WVSU transcripts. Transcripts must be sent directly from the institution to the EdD Program Director.
  • MASTERS DEGREE:  An earned Master’s degree, with a GPA of 3.25 or above, is a prerequisite for admission to the program.  Please provide proof of program completion.
  • STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Complete a 3-5-page Statement of Purpose, describing your professional work history, personal qualities, pertinent life experiences, aspirations, and awards/recognitions.  Please consider the foundational tenets of the EdD in Leadership Studies program including fairness, diversity, and social justice as they relate to the Statement of Purpose criteria.
  • RESUME/CURRICULUM VITAE:  Submit resume or vitae documenting successful professional and educational experiences, community service and professional development. You are to include contact information, at least three personal references, and a detailed work history.
  • LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Three letters of recommendation are to be included with the application. At least two of the letters are to be professional affiliates and no more than one letter is of a personal relationship (family, clergy, community member, etc).
  • TEST SCORESIf applicable, TOEFL scores will be submitted. 
  • Interviews are planned during the admissions process.  A department member will contact you with interview parameters and possible dates and times.


Tuition and Fees
The cost per credit hour will be the same as the university cost for graduate students for in-state and out-of-state students.  For example, current (2023-2024) costs per credit hour is $476 for in-state students and $1,109 for out-of-state students.  Students will also pay the literacy (library) fee and the College of Professional Studies program fee.  Current cost for fees is approximately $300 per semester.  
 
LS 800. Organizational Analysis for Effective Leadership
Students will identify and explore a variety of organizational methods and strategies related to an organization’s goals. Students will identify organizational theories, apply them to a specific organization and prescribe circumstances affecting the organization. This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course.
LS 810. Principles of Leadership
Students will identify and explore leadership approaches, methods, and strategies related to an existing organization’s leaders, their styles and actions. This course will serve as an overview of leadership theories and their application in the interest of organizational improvement. Students will identify organizational strategies that have been implemented towards the achievement of an identified goal(s).  Students will theorize a new process to enhance a current goal or propose a new goal and create a process of implementation. This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course. (Prerequisites:  LS 800 and LS 830)
LS 820. Legal & Ethical Issues for Effective Leadership
Students will research State and Federal Laws and related court cases that pertain to the operation of their specifically identified organization.  Students will also identify local policies and procedures prescribed by governing bodies not included by State or Federal laws.  Students in this course will review and assess historical and contemporary laws, policies, and court cases and identify the impact on the organization's effectiveness, with specific attention to organizational leadership.  The course will explore the relationship of law, policies, and court cases to goal achievement and development of effective practices.  This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course. (Prerequisites:  LS 810 and LS 880)
LS 830. Equity and Leadership with Diverse Communities
Students will examine research on how leadership styles, strategies and practices affect the goals of the organization.  Students will identify the various communities within an organization based on a variety of factors including race, gender, age, socio-economic levels, gender identifications, etc.  Students will also identify external communities within the range of the organization’s influence.  Students will examine how current organizational functions and actions affect the identified communities and apply this information to their proposed research in research coursework.  This is a three credit course. 
LS 840 Communications, Technology & Media for Effective Leadership
Students will examine a variety of communications strategies for internal and external outreach activities of the organization. In incorporating specific technologies, students will identify possible communication outlets for presenting their messaging.  This may include but not be restricted to traditional media, electronic media, and community programs.  Students are to review positive and negative aspects of each proposal and communication type and apply specifically to proposals of research coursework.  Activities may include crafting of press releases, role play of various media and building a network of messaging resources within the reach of the organization. This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course. (Prerequisites:  LS 810 and LS 880)
LS 815. Understanding and Conducting Research for Organizational Improvement 
This course will provide students with an understanding of qualitative and qualitative research methods. Students will be expected to identify components of both approaches as well as methods of combining the two for a mixed method approach.  Students will apply research concerning the effectiveness of all approaches to the proposed research activities for the culminating research project of the program.  This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course. (Prerequisite:  LS 805)
LS 825. Statistical Methods
This course includes the planning, designing, data-collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting of findings and data with regard to completing action research.  Students will review a variety of action research studies, focusing on methodology.  This work will be incorporated with the culminating activity based on requirements of Chapters Three, Four, and Five of an action research dissertation. This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course.  (Prerequisite:  LS 835)
LS 835. Qualitative Methods
Students in the course will identify qualitative methods of research including, but not limited to individual interviews, participant observations, and focus groups, and will incorporate a variety of qualitative methods such as narrative research, case studies, ethnographies, grounded theory research and phenomenology.  Students will apply research concerning the effectiveness of all approaches to their proposed research activity for the culminating research project of the program.  This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course.  (Prerequisite:  LS 815)
LS 850. Organizational Literacy for Effective Leaders
Students will research the role of life-long learning on leadership and how to extend this concept to those in the organization.  Students will evaluate the importance of a literate workforce and community and how to promote these concepts and assess their effectiveness.  Students will learn basic literacy concepts, assess their own skills, and utilize how to incorporate literacy into their own research project.  Students will also identify literacy groups available to their identified organization and assess their application to the organization.  This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course.  (Prerequisites:  LS 860 and LS 825)
LS 860. Sociology of Institutions for Leaders
Students will identify formal and informal rules and regulations that maintain social interaction and regulate behaviors of individuals within and outside of the identified organization. This will include institutions formal and informal that attempt to exert discipline and formulate emotions and behaviors.  Students will identify the types of influencing social institutions that exist internally and externally to the identified organization.  They will assess both the organization’s and leader’s approaches to identifying, cooperating, influencing and working with the institutions for goal achievement. This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course. (Prerequisites:  LS 820 and LS 840)
LS 870 Politics in Leadership
Students will identify formal and informal leaders in the organization and the sphere of each individual’s influence.  Students will classify leaders at their respective levels and identify how they exert or display their influence.  Students will research the roles of policy and law these individuals have imposed on the effectiveness of the organization and how that influence will affect the proposed research activity of the student.  Students will propose a variety of strategies for dealing with these individuals and assessment may include presentations, role play and narrative proposals. Students will explore the role external politics pays on organizations.  This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and beyond and is a three credit course. (Prerequisites:  LS 860 and LS 825)
LS 880. Systems for Change
This course will provide students with theories on institutional and personal change.  Activities will include creating measurable goals, assessment activities, and evaluations of change.  Research of change strategies will be explored and assessed for their application to the culminating research activity.  This work will be incorporated with the learning activities of research coursework and is a three credit course.  (Prerequisites:  LS 800 and LS 830)
LS 805. Needs Analysis and Program Evaluation
Students will identify and explore a variety of information gathering sources related to an organization or specific program or circumstances affecting the organization. They will identify effective practices to address needs using measurable and quantifiable methods.  Students will collate analytical and evaluative materials and strategies to apply, identify, understand, and utilize the components of action-based research.   Students will collect data to examine and address the needs of the organization and/or program for improvement including incorporating diverse communities in formal and systematic methods of recognizing and evaluating strategies that can be applied to meet the needs of employees and/or clientele. This is a three credit course.
LS 845. Advanced Research I
Students will continue the work of LS 805 to identify research methods and strategies through a systematic process to find answers and solutions to questions of organizational performance. During the coursework, students will complete Chapter One of a proposed thesis-based approach to identifying organizational issues, performance and solutions based on pre-existing research. Students will create a pathway to measure the issue, identify a process of reaching conclusions and creating opportunities for additional research. This is a three credit course.  (Prerequisites:  LS 805, 815, 825, 835, Approved Proposal)
LS 855. Advanced Research II
Students will incorporate the information and process material of LS 805 and 845 to create an introduction to the research topic. The introduction will include research questions to be answered and involve detailed research related to the information in Chapter One.  This research will include questions the student wants to answer, a detailed synopsis of literature that establishes the relevance of the problem, summaries of previous studies, and the relevance of the study.  Completion of the course will be achieved by finalizing an approved Chapter Two of a research thesis. This is a three credit course which may be extended depending on student progress.  (Prerequisite:  LS 845)
LS 865. Advanced Research III
Students will propose and implement a research-based activity focusing on measuring, assessing, and improving a current or new organizational activity.  This will be a culminating activity based on requirements of Chapters Three to Five of a doctoral thesis.  The activity must be approved by a University based group assigned specifically to the student for this purpose.  At the end of the research activity, the student will present and defend findings in a public forum. This course consists of three to twelve-hour course hours depending on student progress and committee approval. The student will be allowed no more than four semesters (LS 845, 855, and 865, repeat 865 if needed) to complete the approved project and defense unless an extension is approved.  (Prerequisite:  LS 855)
The program will develop students’ professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions so they may demonstrate their ability to:
  1. Identify and implement components of organizational analysis for improvement, principles of leadership, and equity and leadership with diverse communities. (LS 800, LS 810, and LS 830)
  2. Implement action-based opportunities for measurable organizational improvement with a focus on equitable practices, incorporated into the completion of a terminal degree. (LS 805, LS 815)
  3. Evaluate knowledge base of current research related to leadership. (LS 815)
  4. Identify local, state, and federal laws, rights, and policies related to organizations/institutions and act in accordance within ethical bounds in leadership. (LS 820)
  5. Discern appropriate research approaches (including statistical methods and qualitative methods) and programmatic measures related to their work environment.  (LS 825, LS 835)
  6. Show organizational leadership skills in communications that follow ethical and professional norms, including understanding of backgrounds and cultures and responsiveness to the needs of a variety of audiences. (LS 840) 
  7. Incorporate literacy to constituents of the organization. (LS 850)
  8. Integrate historical, legal, developmental, sociological research, and systems theories to allow students to meet the students’ personal and organizational goals and objectives. (LS 860, LS 870, LS 880)
  9. Apply cultural responsiveness in leadership to ensure equity in organizations and for all constituents. (LS 830, LS 840, LS 860, and LS 870)
  10. Design, develop, conduct, evaluate, and share findings from research projects that allow program participants to meet their organization and/or personal needs.  Shared findings will include presentation and/or publication of results (LS 805, LS 845, LS 855, LS 865)
The Doctoral Program utilizes a cohort model, in which a group of students moves through the program together, taking all classes in sequence as a group. Cohorts offer mutual academic, emotional, and logistical support and provide opportunities for members to learn from and study with one another. The camaraderie that develops helps with stressful times in the program. Study groups, team projects and other experiences within the cohort nurture the skills and dispositions of collaboration that are critical to organizational leadership.  Cohorts establish personal and professional ties that often last beyond the Doctoral Program itself. Such networks are valuable for career development, professional growth and support, as well as future collaborative projects and initiatives across organizations. 

Once admitted to the program, students will be enrolled in the courses for Semester 1.  In subsequent semesters, eiligible students will be automatically enrolled in the next semester of coursework.  Courses in the program are scheduled to be delivered as follows:
Semester 1 (Summer):  LS 800 and LS 815
Semester 2 (Fall):  LS 810, LS 830, and LS 805
Semester 3 (Spring):  LS 820, LS 880, and LS 835
Semester 4 (Summer):  LS 825 and LS 845
Semester 5 (Fall):  LS 860, LS 850, and LS 855
Semester 6 (Spring):  LS 840, LS 870, and LS 865
Please submit completed applications to:
Dr. Emily Waugh, Department of Leadership Studies
West Virginia State University
928C Wallace Hall
PO Box 1000
Institute, WV 25112

Completed applications including the application fee are due March 7. 

You can find the application for admission here: EdD Application



For additional program information, please consult the Ed.D. Student Handbook

Program Forms:
These forms will be used by students who are accepted into the program.  Further guidance will be provided during coursework.

Committee Approval Form

Research Proposal Guidelines

Research Proposal Application

Our Team

Dr. Emily H.
Dr. Emily H. Waugh
Director of Leadership Studies
(304) 766-5192
ewaugh@wvstateu.edu
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