EdD/PhD in Leadership: Educational Leadership Specialization

Concordia University Chicago

Program Description

EdD/PhD in Leadership: Educational Leadership Specialization

Concordia University Chicago

Are you looking to pursue a doctoral program that can assist you in analyzing the leadership challenges facing schools and educational settings today? Join us for a close and personal online EdD/ Ph.D. program at Concordia University Chicago. With approximately three years of online coursework, plus the successful completion of comprehensive exams and doctoral dissertation, you can earn a doctoral degree that broadens your potential to advance your career.

Concordia University Chicago's doctoral program in leadership with a specialization in teacher leadership is designed for graduate students who would like to continue their careers as facilitators, instructional coaches, curriculum specialists, coordinators of district initiatives, trainers and building- and district-level teacher leaders in various educational settings. The teacher leadership doctoral program focuses on the fostering instructional improvement for increased student achievement, promoting teacher and staff development and growth, organizational change and school cultures and outreach to families and communities.

This doctoral program encourages students to draw and build upon knowledge and experiences related to their professional work, while also requiring students to develop strong research skills and a familiarity with data, school and instructional improvement, adult growth and development and evidence-based decision-making. While grounded in topics related to teacher leadership, this program also provides opportunities to explore teacher and instructional leadership in various education settings: pre-K-12 education, non-profit organizations, corporations, and agencies.

Program Outcomes

The doctorate in teacher leadership is designed to enable students to:

  • Understand the complexities of educational settings in relation to adult learning and development, culture and organizational change, student achievement, assessment and data-driven decision making, and community outreach and collaboration.
  • Apply and analyze learning solutions that support and drive schools and educational settings for improved student achievement and success.
  • Strategically support the various stakeholders with informed and judicious decisions.
  • Identify and integrate leadership orientations that align with school improvement practices.
  • Exercise professional ethical behavior that supports the institutional mission and allocation of resources to support and achieve institutional objectives.

Learning Objectives

In addition to the overall objectives of the Leadership department and its programs, students will acquire the following knowledge, skills, and competencies in the teacher leadership program:

Support and Facilitate Adult Learning

Competency: Understand adults as learners to support professional learning communities.


  • Candidates facilitate group processes to manage growth, conflict, and change.
  • Candidates model listening, presenting and leading collaborative discussions.
  • Candidates build facilitation skills that foster trust, collective wisdom, the social construction of knowledge and build ownership and action.
  • Candidates create inclusive cohorts of colleagues as professional learners.
  • Candidates promote the use of technology for learning communities.

Research-based Curriculum and Instructional Improvement

Competency: Use research to improve practice and student achievement.


  • Candidates work with others to articulate student learning issues and opportunities.
  • Candidates assist colleagues in accessing research, student learning data.
  • Candidates guide colleagues in selecting research-based strategies, designing action research and measuring results.
  • Candidates facilitate analysis of student learning data and application of findings to revise instructional strategies.
  • Candidates encourage collaboration with higher education and other community-based organizations.
  • Candidates work with colleagues to interpret, communicate and disseminate findings of research related to student learning.

Promote Professional Learning

Competency: Promote professional learning for continuous improvement.


  • Candidates assess colleagues’ learning needs and work with the administration to ensure appropriate PD.
  • Candidates promote a variety of professional learning.
  • Candidates use technology to promote collaborative and differentiated professional learning.
  • Candidates prepare colleagues to analyze and use student achievement data and other data to improve instruction and analyze the impact of instructional interventions.
  • Candidates provide feedback to colleagues to strengthen teaching practice.
  • Candidates work with colleagues to collect, analyze and disseminate data relating to the impact of learning.

Leading Initiatives in Student Achievement

Competency: Facilitating improvements in instruction and student learning.


  • Candidates facilitate collection and analysis of classroom- and school-based data to identify areas to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
  • Candidates engage in reflective dialogue with colleagues based on observations and student work and assessments.
  • Candidates serve as a mentor, coach, content facilitator, critical friend or peer evaluator.
  • Candidates serve as team leader to harness skills and knowledge of colleagues to address curricular student learning needs.
  • Candidates promote instructional strategies that address diversity and equity.

Lead Data-Driven Instructional Improvements

Competency: Using assessments and data for school and district improvement.


  • Candidates increase colleagues’ capacity to access resources and expertise to use appropriate assessment instruments aligned to standards.
  • Candidates facilitate teams of teachers in designing and implementing class-based formative assessments, scoring, interpreting student work and applying findings to improve education practice (DDI).
  • Candidates engage colleagues in collaborative conversations about student learning data and instructional practice, challenge them to develop solutions, foster a climate of trust and critical reflection.
  • Candidates work with colleagues to use findings to recommend organizational changes in structure or practice to enhance student achievement.

Lead Outreach to Communities and Families

Competency: Improving outreach and collaboration with families and community.


  • Candidates promote effective interactions among colleagues, families and larger community.
  • Candidates model effective communication with families and other stakeholders focused on improving outcomes.
  • Candidates facilitate colleagues’ examination of their own understandings of community and diversity and use this to enrich experiences of students.
  • Candidates develop shared understanding among colleagues of child/adolescent development and conditions in the home and community.
  • Candidates guide colleagues in identifying and assessing resources from community-based organizations that support student learning.
  • Candidates develop comprehensive strategies with colleagues to engage families and community members as partners in education.

Advocate for the Profession

Competency: Advocating for student learning and the profession.


  • Candidates share information regarding how state and national policies impact classroom practice and expectations for student learning.
  • Candidates work with colleagues to use research to advocate for teaching and learning processes that meet the needs of all students.
  • Candidates collaborate with colleagues to select opportunities to advocate for the rights/needs of students, securing additional resources.
  • Candidates advocate for professional resources, financial, human and other resources that allow colleagues to spend significant time learning about effective practices.
  • Candidates represent and advocate for the profession in contexts outside of the classroom.


Illinois Teacher Leader endorsement courses are noted with an (*) asterisk.

*INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: In addition to the base program curriculum listed below, international students attending face-to-face classes on the CUC campus are required to take the Seminar in Higher Education, a 3-credit course.

Doctoral Specialization: Teacher Leadership

  • Schools, Families, and Community Partnerships*
  • Teacher Leader Practicum*
  • Strategies for Educational Leadership*
  • Research-Based Decision Making*
  • Supervisory Theory and Practice*
  • School/District Improvement Data Analysis*
  • Providing Instructional Support
  • Leading School-Based Professional Learning Communities*
  • Curriculum Theory and Design
  • Instructional Coaching for Effective Teaching


  • Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge (Ph.D. only)
  • Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Education (EdD only)
  • Organizational Change
  • Policy Analysis
  • Ethics for Educational Leaders

Research and Statistics for EdD, Practitioner Track

  • Research Design

Select two:

  • Survey Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Methods of Action Research Inquiry
  • Quantitative Research

Research and Statistics for Ph.D., Researcher Track

  • Research Design
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quantitative Research
  • Mixed Methods Research

Select one:

  • Survey Research
  • Advanced Topics in Statistics
  • Advanced Topics in Qualitative Analysis

Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation

  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Supervision

*Please note, Concordia University Chicago does not offer full or partial scholarships or tuition to any interested student or applicant.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated June 13, 2018
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