Professionals who are ready to step onto that highest rung of the educational ladder and earn a doctoral degree have a new online option.
Chaminade University’s new Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Organizational Leadership for Adaptation and Change is for working professionals in industries such as education, business and healthcare. The 60-credit program is being offered for the first time starting in July.
“We developed this program to meet the needs of busy, active, working adults who have careers and families,” says Dr. Dale Fryxell, Dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “An online program lets them fit school into their schedules because they can do the coursework on their own time. It just gives people so much more flexibility. It’s a more efficient way for busy people to get a degree and improve their opportunities as a professional.”
A Doctorate in Education helps people build an impressive skill set and advance their careers. It also generally means a higher pay level.
According to Chaminade President Dr. Lynn Babington, leadership is both an art and a science, and she says the new EdD program has a strong foundation in both.
“Here at Chaminade, we believe that transformational leaders are not born that way but are developed,” she says. “To that end, we designed our new, online EdD program to prepare students to become inspirational leaders who are extremely skilled at adapting to changing conditions and new variables while also motivating people and communities.”
That focus on adaptation and change is one factor that sets Chaminade’s new program apart from other EdD in Organizational Leadership programs. “Educating for adaptation and change” is one of the essential Marianist principles that guide Chaminade University in all its decision-making.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of pivoting and finding creative solutions, being skilled at working with adaptation and change has always been critical in organizational leadership and always will be.
EdD for educators, business professionals and leaders of indigenous-serving organizations
Chaminade’s new EdD program prepares students in organizational transformation for success, growth and positive impact in one of three concentrations—educational leadership, indigenous leadership or organization development.
The educational leadership track primarily targets experienced education professionals—teachers and administrators—who want to develop their leadership skills and advance in their careers. Fryxell says there are many career paths for those with a doctorate in education, including going into post-secondary education and becoming a professor or moving into administrative positions at K-12 or higher education schools. Others may become director of a religious organization or school or move up to a district- or state-level education position.
The educational leadership concentration helps develop action-oriented leaders who are well-equipped to lead person-centered learning communities and promote social justice and positive change. Courses specific to this track include Leadership for Educational Administrators, and School Community Relations.
The indigenous leadership concentration focuses on preparing leaders, especially Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, who work in indigenous cultural organizations.
Fryxell points out there are different indigenous leadership styles and approaches to leading people. A positive aspect of this concentration is what he calls “cross-pollination,” or sharing how different cultural groups approach leadership or create pathways.
Specific courses in the track include Indigenous Leadership and Organizational Management, and Power, Politics and Policy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
There is also an indigenous leaders speakers series, which students in any of the concentrations can attend to learn from indigenous leaders around the world.
Fryxell says it’s common for people on the U.S. mainland to follow the third track, an EdD in organization development, after earning an MBA.
“That’s what a lot of MBAs do,” he says. “They lead organizations. This program is an opportunity for them to focus even more on developing leadership skills, looking at and using data for decision-making and learning how to streamline their organization and make it more effective.”
The organization development track provides an interdisciplinary approach for professionals in the business, healthcare, nonprofit and public sectors who want to drive positive change and transform their organization for success.
Many nurses get an EdD in organization development, says Fryxell, and use that as a springboard into teaching at the college level. This concentration also attracts training and development managers, human resources personnel, nonprofit directors and high-level management staff. Its track-specific courses include Leading Organizational Change, and Consulting Skills.
Mentorship and real-world problem solving
Program directors will work closely with each student, looking at their career goals and aspirations and helping them plan their path through the doctorate.
The fact that the new student-centered Chaminade EdD program is 100 percent online does not constrain its emphasis on mentorship. The program is designed to foster mentor relationships that promote personal growth, critical thinking and robust dialogue. In addition to working online with professors, students are also welcome to meet with them in-person on campus.
Every dissertation committee, chaired by the EdD director, will also consist of a faculty member and someone from the community. “For example, if a student is going to do their dissertation on, say, DOE leadership, they might ask an assistant superintendent to be on their dissertation committee; somebody that’s working in the field and really knows the field to help them through that process,” says Fryxell.
“Then they also have the faculty member who’s going to help them with the academic rigor, the writing process, and the dissertation development process,” he says. “And then the chair, the EdD director, who will shepherd them through the entire dissertation process, keeping them motivated and on target so they can get that dissertation done and finish up the program.”
He says a goal of the EdD program is for students to identify a real-world problem or issue that their organization—whether it’s a school, business or indigenous organization—is currently facing and turn that into a research project. They will determine the problem, come up with a testable hypothesis, research data about the problem and develop a solution. That allows them to come up with innovative solutions in a real-world setting.
“As they go along in leadership positions throughout their careers, they will have to make decisions,” he says. “And looking at an action research process will help them be good users of previous knowledge and data to take their organizations to where they want to lead them.”
All dissertation work happens as part of a student’s coursework, and students can finish the entire EdD program in 36 months.
Fryxell says the program is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to further his or her career and also advance themself as a person.
“I think they’ll be able to take what they learn in this program and make positive changes in everything they do. I think it’s going to be a great program and have a big impact, not only on our students but also on the community and Hawai‘i and across the Pacific.”
Networking and collaboration for resilient leadership
Throughout the EdD program, students will be able to participate in enrichment activities. A virtual brown bag series, for instance, will feature leaders who speak on various topics.
Virtual professional practice writing circles will break classes into small groups that can work together on their writing. “A lot of doctoral work involves writing,” says Fryxell, “and this way students can bounce their ideas and papers off their classmates.”
He stresses the importance of students supporting each other, discussing each other’s ideas, and being resources for each other.
“A lot of being successful throughout a career has to do with networking and your ability to form and keep relationships, so we’re hoping this program will really enhance that,” he says.
An EdD student organization will allow students to coordinate social or community service events, whether in-person when possible or else online. “We’re expecting there will be students from the mainland and from throughout the Pacific, but there will be various ways for them to connect.”
An annual Research Symposium will provide opportunities to participate in local and national conferences, offering more opportunities for students to meet, interact and support one another.
Educating the whole person
While the academics at Chaminade are innovative, modern and up-to-date, it’s never only about academics. A central Chaminade principle, built into every academic program, is to educate the whole person.
“To be a well-rounded person and a good leader,” says Fryxell, “you have to have psychological strength, intellectual strength and certainly moral strength. You have to take care of your body through exercise and diet. With all our programs, we try to help people remember it’s not about any one area of your life. It’s really about improving all areas of your life in order to be a better, more effective person.”
The school’s professors, themselves leaders and experts in their field and the community, aim to develop future leaders who lead with open minds and understanding in their hearts, are part of the solution, and make a difference in their community. Ideally, students not only move their careers forward but also become changemakers.
A Chaminade education is also about values and ethics, including social justice. That’s one of Chaminade’s defined values—educating for service, justice and peace—and it’s an important focus of the EdD program.
“The need for social justice is infused throughout our whole program,” he says, “because no matter what organization you’re working for or what environment you’re in, that’s what you have to keep top-of-mind: What am I doing to help my community? What am I doing to help my workers? How am I contributing to the betterment of mankind?”
Online EdD offers flexibility and access
“If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s how to pivot,” says Fryxell. “How to make things fit into our new lives. How to make it happen.”
As we move forward, he says, organizations also must adapt to new and continually changing environments and situations.
“What we hope to do in this program is really prepare students to be able to make those continuous changes they’re sure to face in their careers,” he says. “I think COVID brought this issue to the forefront—that you have to be adept at changing the way your organization does things, or your organization won’t survive. That’s why the ability to adapt and change is the focus of our entire program. But it’s not only because of COVID. Those abilities were important before the pandemic, and they’ll still be important afterward.”
He predicts we’re going to continue seeing significant changes at all levels of education as technology keeps moving forward.
“I think online programs will continue to grow and develop, and as technology advances and new software comes up, it will be amazing. We can do things online now that you couldn’t do even a year ago. Hardly anybody even knew what Zoom was one year ago.”
He says there’s already been a strong online presence at Chaminade for some time. “So many of our professors, including myself, have been teaching online since the beginning of online education. So with COVID and the forced move to technology, it just really had to do with bringing more people along into a modern online world. It’s something we’re really well-prepared for, and I think it’s going to keep evolving and developing.
“And at Chaminade, we’ll be there continuing to evolve and develop right along with it.”
For more information, see the EdD in Organizational Leadership. Applications for the first online EdD session, which starts on July 6, 2021, are due on June 18.