Educational Leadership

The Doctorate of Education (EdD) program in Educational Leadership for Teacher Leaders is designed for experienced teachers, such as classroom teachers, school psychologists, math coaches, or reading interventionists, who have a desire to lead from within and across classrooms to transform education. The EdD program is a three-year, hybrid, low-residency program.

The program aligns with Fairfield’s mission of preparing educators for leadership and service through broad intellectual inquiry, the pursuit of social justice, and cultivation of the whole person. The program is tailored for individuals who have already taken or seek to take on expanded roles and responsibilities in their grade level teams, departments, schools, or districts to influence teaching and learning practices on a greater scale.

One of the core goals of the program is to prepare teacher leaders who are advocates for social justice and anti-racist policies and practices, and who take actions as leaders with and for students, families, communities, and organizations for transformative change.

Educators who pursue the program will gain deeper insights into the theoretical and practical foundations of leadership and the profession. Candidates will learn how knowledge of education theory, inquiry, and data positively impact their teaching and the practices of those around them.

Program Outcomes

The goals of the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership are to prepare teacher leaders who are:

  • Ethical leaders who engage in decision-making driven by principles, justice, honesty, and respect, and work toward the well-being of all learners and the greater school community.
  • Critically reflective scholar-practitioners who use data and co-construct knowledge to address educational challenges and opportunities in order to improve teaching and learning.
  • Advocates for social justice and anti-racist policies and practices who take actions as leaders with and for students, families, communities, and organizations for transformative change.
  • Compassionate relationship-builders who inspire, serve, and lead within learning communities and build capacity to improve educational opportunities for all.
  • Organizational collaborators who forge partnerships that will inspire and motivate key community stakeholders to transform learning experiences for all students.
  • Change agents who address educational issues through multiple perspectives within the social, political, and emotional context of communities.

EDDL 7005 Systems Approach to Innovation and Improvement    3 Credits

This course investigates a systems approach to school innovation and improvement, including the ways in which data are used to identify and investigate contextualized problems of practice. The course will address the processes involved in engaging in a continuous and context-driven cycle of classroom-based reform within an organizational context.

EDDL 7010 Framing and Critical Analysis of Problems of Practice    3 Credits

Prerequisite: EDDL 7005.

In this course, students draw on professional experience, knowledge, and skills to analyze and frame problems of practice. They collaborate with colleagues and key stakeholders to identify problems and data, and identify the gap between organizational goals and current performance.

EDDL 7015 Action Research for Educational Change I    3 Credits

This course introduces candidates to the historical and philosophical underpinnings of critical participatory action research (CPAR). Candidates will examine the strengths and limitations of using CPAR to promote equity in educational institutions. In addition, the frameworks and methods of qualitative and quantitative research will be discussed for candidates to design a CPAR pilot project to study their own institutions to create transformational change.

EDDL 7020 Action Research for Educational Change II    3 Credits

Prerequisite: EDDL 7015.

This course builds on the foundational knowledge and research methods from EDDL 7015. It engages students in the data collection and analysis processes in CPAR as well as writing and presenting reports to affect transformational change in educational institutions. Candidates will conduct a social action project, write a preliminary report, and participate in a poster session to prepare for their doctoral capstone projects.

EDDL 7035 Mission and Values Based Leadership    3 Credits

This foundational course is designed for students to use authoethnography, critical theory (e.g., critical race, queer, feminist, disability studies) and the principles of mission and values-based leadership as a lens to assess their leadership strengths and areas for improvement. This self-assessment will assist students in developing a leadership plan that outlines their personal mission and vision for their role and short-term and long-term goals for leadership development. Furthermore, students will engage in critical dialogue about critical theory, the principles of mission and values-based leadership and their relationship to the Jesuit mission to determine the benefits and challenges of application of each in their chosen context.

EDDL 7040 Power, Privilege, and Identity in Educational Leadership    3 Credits

This course examines the relationship between power, privilege, and identity in educational leadership. Specifically, it aims to help understand how power shapes educators' and learners' identities, that is, the ways and the degree to which these identities intersect to influence teachers' teaching practices and students' learning outcomes. This course goes further to unpack various facets of power and privileges, earned and unearned, examining how they can be used to enhance student learning and build communities, as well as the ways in which they have been utilized to perpetuate inequities in schools and society at large.

EDDL 7045 Moral and Ethical Decision Making    3 Credits

Prerequisites: EDDL 7035, EDDL 7040.

This course surveys current and common ethical dilemmas that arise in classrooms, schools, and school districts. Candidates will apply social justice and equity frameworks to analyze case studies from multiple perspectives with an open invitation to make ethical decisions that center the needs of young people and those who have been historically marginalized. Candidates will reflect on their own positionality within power structures and how their multiple identities might play a role in their decision making process and action-taking when facing ethical dilemmas inside and outside the classroom.

EDDL 7050 Leader as Collaborator and Relationship Builder    3 Credits

Prerequisites: EDDL 7035, EDDL 7040.

This course surveys the centrality of relationship building as the context for effective teacher leadership. It utilizes the evidence in compassion, connectedness, and vulnerability as a means to identify, diagnose, and collaboratively solve educational problems while preserving professional relationships in education. Candidates will engage in critical evaluations of both self and others when exploring educational issues, system dynamics, and communication effectiveness.

EDDL 7055 Leadership for Social Justice in Education    3 Credits

Prerequisites: EDDL 7035, EDDL 7040.

This foundational course is designed to expand students' knowledge of leadership for social justice in education. Multiple theoretical frameworks for educational leadership and social justice will be introduced over the course of the semester. Additionally, students will examine how each theory/model operationalizes social justice in education to understand how each may impact their particular context. These models will be applied to case studies to understand structures that support or impede leadership for social justice.

EDDL 7060 Organizational Change for Social Justice in Education    3 Credits

Prerequisites: EDDL 7035, EDDL 7040.

This course engages students in a range of theories and practices of organizational change and their application in K-12 educational contexts for social justice. Topics of focus include organizational structures, behavior patterns, and cultures; institutional assessment and change strategy and leadership and collaboration for personal, educational, and institutional change; and case studies of educational reform initiatives. Students will be expected to apply theoretical perspectives to organizational analysis of their institutional settings.

EDDL 7065 Contextualizing Legal and Policy Issues in Education    3 Credits

In this course, candidates examine legal issues relating to reforming elementary, secondary, and special education through an analysis of federal and state legislation and court cases. Candidates will identify important federal and state laws, regulations, and policies, and explore how legal precedents could be applied to different school, family, and community situations. This course will also examine the legal and moral aspects of educational leadership, including the historical evolution of major educational laws, ethical spheres of thought, current trends and school law, and critical thinking and problem-solving strategies. Laws, regulations, and judicial decisions relating to the education of students with special needs will be addressed, as well as methods of conflict resolution, mediation, ethical standards, and collaboration with families and other professionals in the school building. Candidates will be required to apply what they learn as they analyze real-life case scenarios while considering state and federal laws.

EDDL 7070 Creating a Culture for Continuous Improvement    3 Credits

This course is designed to introduce school principals, district staff, teachers, and other practitioners to a systems-based approach to promoting sustainable change. Candidates study the core principles of continuous improvement, which include the following: (1) change takes time and involves a collective effort, (2) change is context-specific, and (3) focusing on a series of small changes, combined with ongoing evidence collection and review, can lead to large-scale change. In addition, candidates learn about and implement the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle of continuous improvement to address a wide range of practice problems.

EDDL 7075 Advocacy for Equity and Access    3 Credits

This course emphasizes the belief that all students can and will reach proficiency, without exceptions or excuses, and that schools ought to be organized to advance the equitable learning of all students. This course encourages each participant, through reflective engagement on their specific educational context, to develop their understanding of advocacy leadership. Through this reflection, candidates will develop their ability to conduct equity audits to identify the multiple factors in a specific context that prevent equity and inclusion, develop a plan to address those factors, and develop skills needed to lead multiple stakeholders to effectively implement the plan and improve equity and inclusion for all students.

EDDL 7080 Leveraging Instructional Design for Equitable Outcomes    3 Credits

The base of optimal student learning starts with the instructional design process. Students in this course will learn how to develop as well as lead the process of developing units of learning embedded with strategies for equity to optimize learning for all.

EDDL 7085 Re-Imagining Technology for Social Action    3 Credits

If used correctly, technology can be an empowering tool in the educational space, but all too often it simply reinforces existing biases, economic inequities, and societal privileges. Additionally, its mere deployment is equated with progress and innovation. This course will examine the use of technology in education not merely as a tool for advancing learning outcomes, but in the context of the Jesuit principles: to speak to all people, no matter who they are and where they are in society, to not simply identify and analyze social problems but take action to address them, and to actively build communities and connections between individuals as we critically examine the world in which we all live and learn. In taking this approach, students will explore the ways that technology can be made to increase inclusivity, promote equity, break down barriers, and optimize learning, along with the ways in which it can actively inhibit them as well.

EDDL 7090 Communities of Inquiry: Dissertation in Practice I    3 Credits

Prerequisite: EDDL 7020.

In this course, doctoral candidates will propose and design their doctoral research project. Informed by and moving forward from their action research project designed and implemented in Action Research I and II, candidates will prepare and successfully defend a proposal for their doctoral research project in which they enact, facilitate, and critically examine their identified problem of practice. Candidates will design and complete all necessary preparations (IRB approval, informed consent of participants, measures, etc.) to implement the project.

EDDL 7095 Communities of Inquiry: Dissertation in Practice II    3 Credits

Prerequisite: EDDL 7090.

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor and in collaboration with fellow cohort members, candidates will engage in, analyze, draw conclusions, and disseminate findings of their research on an identified problem of practice. Throughout the seminar, candidates will document and share their work through analytic memos, data analysis, and in-class reflection and problem-solving.

EDDL 7100 Writing for Social Change    3 Credits

Prerequisite: EDDL 7095.

This course introduces students to the various genres of writing for social action. Students examine the writing methods, genres, and audiences of authors who effectively engage in writing to effect social transformation. Students will compose their own writing for social change to disseminate the findings of their dissertation research project.

EDDL 7105 Dissertation Advising    3 Credits

Corequisite: EDDL 7090.

An assigned faculty advisor will provide mentoring and feedback throughout the program to support research and dissertation writing/preparation.