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Department of Educational Administration

Ed.D. in K-12 Administration


K-12 Educational Administration adopts Michigan State University’s core institutional values as central to the Doctor of Educational Leadership: quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity. We apply these values to the design and implementation of the program itself, seeking to be recognized as the program of choice for advanced educational leadership preparation (quality), seeking to enroll diverse students, particularly those representing under-served communities, with a passion for improving the life chances of young people and bringing new spirit to communities (inclusiveness), and seeking to convene and facilitate deliberative democratic conversations among Michigan citizenry (connectivity) about matters of common interest. Additionally, the program will prepare students to embed these values in their own organizations – that is, specific policies and processes for insuring that quality, inclusivity, and connectivity become lived rather than espoused values.

We aim to cultivate in our students the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that help educators navigate the practical demands of leading effective schools and education systems. Key objectives have guided development of the Doctor of Educational Leadership program. These are:

  1. to prepare educational leaders to lead excellent, equitable, and responsive    educational systems;
  2. to qualify graduates for the Michigan Central Office Administrator certification;
  3. to provide intellectual leadership around educational issues for school leaders, policy makers, politicians, community leaders, and other interested stakeholders;
  4. to convene forums for democratic deliberation of educational, social, and economic issues so as to play an active role in redevelopment efforts in Michigan while also preparing students to be agents for change within their own districts or areas;
  5. to support high caliber collaborative action research that puts innovative solutions to work while advancing outreach, engagement, and economic development and strengthening linkages to other MSU units and to external partners.

Program Structure and Content


*Year one cohort classes, Ed.D. and Ph.D., meet on Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm

Offered Course Title Credits Dates
Fall EAD 920* Political Economy of Schooling 3 8/24/13 – 11/09/13
Winter EAD 922* Analyzing Educational Systems 3 1/16/13 – 02/15/14
Spring EAD 923* Organizing for Learning 3 02/22/14 – 05/10/14
Fall - Spring EAD 921 Leadership and Transformation (online) 3 09/02/13 – 05/02/14
Summer EAD 980 Engaged Leadership and Summer Forum 3 05/12/14 – 08/15/14
Summer EAD 991A Human Resources Special Topics 3 06/26/14 – 08/15/14


Offered Course Title Credits Dates
Fall EAD 924 Data and Decisions 3 08/27/14 – 12/12/14
Spring EAD 926 Finance and Operations 3 01/05/15 – 05/01/15
Fall - Spring EAD 991A Social Justice Issues (online) 3 08/27/14 – 05/01/15
Summer EAD 980 Engaged Leadership and Summer Forum 3 05/11/15 – 08/14/15
Summer EAD 929 Collaborative Inquiry 3 05/11/15 – 08/14/15


Offered Course Title Credits Dates
Fall EAD 981A Capstone Project I (with Coach) 4 08/26/15 – 12/11/15
Fall EAD 982A Capstone Seminar I (with Faculty) 2 08/26/15 – 12/11/15
Spring EAD 981B Capstone Project II (with Coach) 4 01/11/16 – 05/01/16
Spring EAD 982B Capstone Seminar II (with Faculty) 2 01/11/16 - 05/01/16

The Doctor of Educational Leadership (DEL) is a three year, summer-intensive program, designed for working professionals.

The first year of the program focuses on core knowledge required by educational leaders, policy makers, and researchers. Classes in this first year follow a calendar that differs from the regular MSU academic calendar. Three of the Year I core classes (EAD 920 Political Economy of Schooling, EAD 922 Analyzing Educational Systems, and 923 Organizing for Learning) meet on Saturdays for 11 weeks, one after the other over the academic year. During this first academic year, DEL students also take EAD 921 Leadership for Transformation, their professional seminar. The seminar meets online, once every two weeks, throughout the first academic year. By the end of spring term of the first year, students will submit at least three performance assessments aligned to the MI School Administrator Standards for Part I of the Comprehensive Examination.

During the Year I Summer session, students take EAD 980 Engaged Leadership for the first time. This course integrates with the Summer Forum, which is conceived as a public arena for consideration of educational and community development issues. (See Summer Forum.) In the second summer session, students participate in a highly experiential course on topics of labor law, negotiation, and performance evaluation taught by faculty in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations. 

The Year II schedule deepens students' core knowledge of leadership. EAD 924 Data and Decisions explores ways to capitalize on the data streams in educational environments and EAD 926 Finance and Operations focuses on administrative systems, both courses operating on the regular MSU semester course schedule. EAD 991A Social Justice Issues (like EAD 921 in Year 1) stretches across both semesters. By the end of spring term of the second year, students will submit the remaining three performance assessments aligned to the MI School Administrator Standards for Part II of the Comprehensive Examination.

The Year II Summer session includes EAD 980 Engaged Leadership for a second time, along with EAD 929 Collaborative Inquiry. By the end of the second summer, Capstone teams and projects need to be well specified and teams present their project proposals to a panel of faculty and partners for approval.

Year III is dedicated to completion of Capstone Projects. Students register for two courses each semester, giving them two kinds of support for their work. Capstone projects are team projects, and each team has the support of a clinical coach through EAD 981A and 981B Capstone Project. Teams also benefit from guidance of a faculty member through EAD 982A and 982B Capstone Seminar. 

At the end of the final spring semester, teams present and defend their Capstone Project to a faculty / stakeholder panel, submitting an extensive account of their work. Each DEL student also submits the complete portfolio of performance assessments aligned to the MI Central Office Administrator Standards, as demonstrations of leadership, including the assessments documenting individual contribution to the group Capstone.