Doctor of Education
Please refer to “The Graduate Admissions Process” section for general graduate admission information. For admission to the Doctor of Education program, applicants must satisfactorily complete credential screening and a committee interview, including a team exercise, and written component. All applicants must also submit the following:
1. Completed graduate (Ed.D.) application accompanied by a non-refundable application fee. Incomplete files will not be reviewed.
2. Official transcripts from a regionally accredited college or university verifying completion of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Send official transcript(s) directly to Wilmington University Graduate Admissions Office from the identified college or university. Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for consideration. With official transcripts, submit a copy of your Immunization Records.
3. Three letters of recommendation including at least one (1) letter of recommendation from a current/recent supervisor that can attest to the applicant’s organizational leadership experience, others can be from professional colleagues or academic professors. All must be written within the last calendar year. Letters must address your capacity for doctoral level work at Wilmington University.
4. Résumé that demonstrates 3-5 years leadership/managerial experience in adult learning in an organizational context.
5. Written statement of intent that specifies professional and academic interests. It must:
All of the above documents should be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Office.
Learning is key to continually improving performance, motivating stakeholders and igniting innovation in organizations.
The Organizational Leadership-Learning and Innovation program (OLI) aims to develop leaders who are equipped to face the dual challenge of managing operational excellence through continuous improvement and change, while at the same time inspiring stakeholders to help create the organization’s future through innovation. The OLI program facilitates the leadership development of those interested in inspiring proactive stakeholder responses to the changing socio-economic, political and technological environment in all types of organizations including business, nonprofit and the government. Positions held by past graduates include, but are not limited to, presidents of organizations, chief learning officers, corporate trainers, principles of consulting firms and HR executives.
The program is grounded in experiential learning and prepares today’s leaders by combining theory, practice, and research. The OLI program features a cohort model in which students engage with one another and faculty in course work, consulting experiences, building professional portfolios, summer institutes and applied dissertation research projects. A unique feature of the program is its three concentrations, which provide doctoral students the flexibility of choice in creating a doctoral learning experience to meet their unique needs. The three tracks are: (1) Strategic Leadership, (2) Workplace Learning and Talent Development and (3) a Student Designed Learning Pathway.
The OLI program is offered in both face-to-face and online formats that allow for completion of program requirements in as little as three years. Both formats take advantage of technology to facilitate instruction and collaboration, with those choosing the face-to-face option having the opportunity to meet one weeknight in most classes. Most of the online courses require at least one synchronous meeting a week to be decided by the cohort. Courses are taught by full-time and adjunct faculty members who are subject-matter experts with extensive experience in applying creative, leading-edge practices to help organizations learn, innovate and be more effective.
Graduates of the Ed.D. Organizational Leadership-Learning and Innovation program are expected to demonstrate program competencies through attainment of specific course objectives aligned with the following program standards:
1. Personal Mastery—Engages in thoughtful reflection, assessment, and on-going personal and professional development.
2. Leadership--Vision, Mission and Strategic Direction for Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management—Envisions, initiates, develops, communicates, and implements a shared vision of organizational learning that aligns with the strategic direction of the organization.
3. Learning Organization Culture, Structures and Processes—Creates, sustains and changes organizational culture, structures, and processes that support learning, change and innovation.
4. Talent Engagement, Development and Management—Fosters learning and growth among organizational members and engages them in high performance behaviors that create value for themselves and the organization.
5. Organizational Performance Improvement and Innovation—Generates and supports continual improvement in current organizational performance, while at the same time promoting the innovation that with will enable the organization to flourish in the future.
6. Stakeholder Communication, Consultation and Collaboration—Proactively communicates with all organizational stakeholders in a manner that appreciates and values different perspectives and fosters information/ knowledge sharing and collaboration in achieving results that benefit all organizational stakeholders.
7. Ethics, Citizenship, and Social Responsibility—Promotes organizational citizenship and social responsibility in an ethical manner that embraces integrity and accountability in all workplace practices.
8. Assessment, Evaluation, and Research—Accesses, generates, interprets and manages the data necessary to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of organizational learning, the quality of organizational performance, and the need for innovation to meet changing client/customer needs or challenges in the competitive environment.
9. Contextual and Organizational Acumen-Monitors and understands the social, political, economic, legal and technological forces that may impact organizational purpose and results. Uses that information to generate new strategies for learning that support the strategic plans of the organization.
Students are expected to create a portfolio that contains evidence of their competence across all program standards. Evidence may consist of leadership development plans and reflections, relevant papers from coursework, consulting project contracts and reports, dissertation research publication, and outside activities that demonstrate competence on one or more program standards.
The Organizational Leadership-Learning and Innovation (OLI) program combines theory, real-world practice, and inquiry to enhance students’ skills in leading learning and innovation at the individual, team and organizational levels. Four program components are integrated in a manner that allows program completion in three years.
The coursework component includes core courses and three concentrations. The core includes 27 credit hours spread across 9 courses and is designed to lay a strong theoretical and research foundation. The concentrations include: (1) Strategic Leadership; (2) Workplace Learning and Talent Development; and (3) a Student Designed Learning Pathway. The Strategic Leadership concentration is for experienced students seeking to enhance the strategic value of learning in improving organizational performance and creating an organization’s future through innovation. The Workplace Learning and Talent Development concentration will appeal to students more interested in the nuts and bolts of designing, providing, and evaluating workplace learning opportunities for organizational employees. The Student Designed Learning Pathway is for students who have clearly identified learning goals and are willing to take an active role in designing their own learning experiences. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the flexibility in coursework offerings to create a learning experience best suited to their individual needs.
The second program component is the consulting field experience project consisting of two courses for six credit hours. This project links coursework to a mentor guided project that can be individual or collaborative but must addresses a practice-based problem related to learning, change, leadership or innovation. Students are expected to initiate a consulting project, contract with the cooperating organization and complete this project over course of the program with the guidance of a field mentor. The consulting field experience results in a written and oral report presented to the cooperating organization. The consulting project report is included in the students’ portfolio along with a detailed reflection on this learning experience.
The applied dissertation research project is the third program component and serves as the culminating learning activity for students. A total of six credits are earned in the dissertation research project which should demonstrate the student’s research and analytical skills as well as the student’s ability to write for publication and to orally present for a professional audience.
The creation of a professional portfolio and participation in the weekend Summer Institutes is the final component of the program. In addition to leadership development plans and reflections for each of the three years in the program, students are expected to demonstrate how their leadership experiences, coursework, consulting experience and applied research project address the program standards. Weekend Summer Institutes will take place each year to provide opportunities for F-2-F and Distance Learners across active cohorts to engage with one another, OLI faculty, and guest speakers. The focus of the institute varies with cohort year and will include learning activities, collaboration and research project guidance.
Students are expected to successfully complete the six following program phases:
Admission (completion of the application process)
Course Completion including Concentrations (completing a minimum of 42 credits hours with a B or better average)
Consulting Field Experience (approved project for a minimum of 6 credit hours)
Degree Candidacy (completion of Phases II & III, portfolio presentation and candidacy meeting with faculty advisors)
Applied Dissertation Research Project (Written and Oral Presentation – 6 credit hours)
Year 1 - Orientation
Year 2 - Decisions about course work for second half of program
Year 3 - Celebration—Consulting Project & Dissertation Reporting
OLI 7100 Personal Mastery and Communities of Practice
OLI 7102 Organizational Learning Theory, Culture and Practice
OLI 7103 Teams, Teaming and Knowledge Management
OLI 7104 Talent Development and Workplace Learning
OLI 7105 Technology and Organizational Learning
OLI 7101 Disciplined Inquiry and Writing
OLI 7106 Assessment and Evaluation Methods
OLI 7201 Problem Centered Research in Organizational Learning
OLI 7202 Problem Centered Research in Organizational Learning-II
OLI 7301 Leading Organizational Improvement and Innovation
OLI 7302 Leadership Communication
OLI 7303 The Strategic Role of Employee Engagement & Workplace Satisfaction
OLI 7304 Business Acumen and Strategic Leadership of Learning, Improvement and Innovation
OLI 7305 Ethics, Organizational Citizenship and Social Responsibility
OLI 7401 Universal Design for Learning
OLI 7402 Facilitating Adult Learning
OLI 7403 Workforce Trends and Leading Talent Development
OLI 7404 Addressing Diversity in Workplace Learning
OLI 7405 Motivating Employee Engagement in Workplace Learning and Professional Development
A combination of 15 credits selected by student from either OLI concentration, courses in other WU doctoral programs, student or faculty suggested courses.
OLI 7500-7504 Special Topics Courses
OLI 7600-7604 Guided Study Courses
OLI 8001 Internal and External Organizational Consulting
OLI 8002 Consulting Project Execution and Reporting
OLI 9000 Applied Research Dissertation Project I
OLI 9001 Applied Research Dissertation Project II
EDD 9004: Applied Dissertation Research Sustaining (if needed – 0 credits, ½ tuition). Must maintain continuous enrollment until Dissertation research is completed.
Applied Dissertation Research Project
The dissertation research project is supervised by a committee mutually agreed upon by the student and his or her dissertation advisor (6 credits). Students can choose from a variety of project formats. However, projects are expected to focus on "applied" research, i.e., a solution to a "problem of practice" in the workplace. Students do have the liberty to choose other options provided they have approval from the OLI program chair and their dissertation committee chair.
Qualifications for Degree
To qualify for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree, a student must complete the prescribed 54-credit hour program with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. A culminating applied dissertation research project presented for written publication and orally to the dissertation committee is required. The dissertation presentation is open to the public. In addition, candidates are required to complete a consulting project and a reflective portfolio of development activities that demonstrates competency across the OLI program standards. Successful presentation of the portfolio advances the student to candidacy. While students can complete the program in just three years, the entire program must be completed within seven years. If the program is not completed within a seven-year period, a petition for reinstatement is necessary. Students will need to formally reapply to the program if they have taken a leave of absence for more than a year. Students may need to re-take two of the research courses to be reinstated if they have more than a two-year leave of absence.