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Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Become an effective organizational leader with your online Ed.D.

Success lies in our ability to change – either by changing ourselves or impacting change around us. When businesses don’t evolve, they lose touch with their customers. Products fall from favor. Services become ineffective. It’s time to make your mark on your organization or your discipline. Whether your goal is to drive your school district to meet critical benchmarks or improve accessibility to higher education. Changing yourself and addressing the challenges around you is your path to professional growth and increased opportunity.

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Program Overview

Propel meaningful change to get results

Our Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership helps you become an impactful leader. With a concentration in Organizational Leadership, PK-12 Leadership or Higher Education Leadership, you will build upon your practical experience with enhanced research and leadership skills, in order to drive transformational change within your organization. 

With Franklin’s applied doctorate in organizational leadership, you will:

  • Apply research in order to impact organizational performance 
  • Use data to drive decisions and influence others
  • Develop the skills to provide effective leadership within complex organizations
  • Differentiate yourself as a top performer or educator

Take an interdisciplinary approach to leadership

As a doctoral student at Franklin, you’ll participate in core research and elective courses with doctoral students in business administration, healthcare administration and instructional design leadership. This interdisciplinary collaboration deepens your learning, informs your thinking and enables you to demonstrate behaviors key to the role of an organizational leader. You’ll benefit from exposure to a broad group of professionals with perspectives rooted in disciplines other than your own and be better prepared to lead and serve diverse organizations and communities. 

In addition to peer-to-peer learning, you and your fellow students will support one another throughout the doctoral experience. After your doctoral studies have concluded, your new-found professional network will endure, as a continued source of support.

Customize your dissertation to suit your professional needs

Different than a Ph.D., which is more theoretical in nature, the Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is a practical degree that enables both subject mastery and in-field application. That means you’ll be prepared to apply doctoral-level research and problem solving to complex, real-world challenges. 

Whether you are a K-12 administrator looking to boost your district’s reading scores, a higher education professional searching for ways to help grant recipients persist, or a military trainer trying to address a pilot retention issue, you’ll develop the skills you need to solve the problem. 

You’ll complete either a dissertation or a dissertation in practice as part of a three-course sequence that comprises your last year in the program. As an opportunity for additional flexibility in completing your dissertation, you can choose to focus on a project you are currently engaged in at your workplace. You’ll use action research to document the current situation and propose an evidence-based solution. 

Build your leadership acumen

Through your core leadership courses, you’ll learn what it takes to lead organizational change, evaluate real-world situations and recommend theory-based management practices to ensure acceptance. You’ll explore, evaluate and interpret concepts for viability and assess the role of the change agent in the process. You’ll also gauge leadership and followership skills and attributes through theory and as applied to institutions. With a focus is on critical thinking, you’ll examine optimal practices for effectively leading institutions, stakeholders and culture. You’ll concentrate on servant-leadership and other leadership competencies necessary for management of resources, projects and performance. You’ll also examine real-world cases that illustrate differing leadership practices, in order to improve the effectiveness of your leadership. 

Focus your learning with a concentration

Build on the five-class leadership core by choosing an area of concentration based on your professional goals. Each concentration consists of two courses. Choose from:

Organizational Leadership: Leading a high performing organization requires vision, passion and skill – whether you are a C-suite exec, a nonprofit manager or a military officer. At Franklin, you’ll find faculty advisors who will mentor you as you refine these leadership essentials throughout your doctoral journey. Earning your Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership at Franklin positions you to benefit from the experience of a university well-known for preparing leaders who excel in a wide variety of industries and organizations around the world.  

You’ll assess your own leadership strengths and weaknesses to develop a plan of action to develop and refine your leadership competencies. You’ll research well-known leadership theories and present-day leadership trends. Upon completion of the course sequence, you’ll use at least one research method to create a research-ready proposal. 

PK-12 Leadership: If you are a principal with aspirations of obtaining a district-level position or an experienced superintendent looking to raise the bar for yourself and those around you, you’ll find the expertise at Franklin to help you achieve your goals. From curriculum development and learning assessment provided through our International Institute for Innovative Instruction to long-standing teacher-preparation programs offered through our College of Education, Franklin’s reputation for creating high-achieving education professionals is reflected throughout the PK-12 concentration. 

Because successful leadership in the PK-12 educational setting requires a solid understanding of labor relations principles, you’ll analyze and evaluate cases studies and publically available collective bargaining agreements. You’ll interview management and union representatives and develop a negotiation for a hypothetical expiring collective bargaining agreement. In the second course, you’ll build on concepts of transformational leadership by applying them to unique scenarios within your own professional situation. 

Higher Education Leadership: Learn to lead and innovate in the increasingly competitive higher education industry. While the reward of working in higher education is undeniable, navigating a multitude of challenges that range from rising tuition costs and lower completion rates to changing instruction models requires new thinking to be successful. As a doctoral student at Franklin, which is well-regarded for its accessibility, adaptability and responsiveness, you’ll gain fresh perspective as you are guided by mentors who have tackled issues similar to those that challenge you. 

You’ll focus on major theories of higher education leadership, in order to develop your own leadership skills. You’ll gain an understanding of various roles, both administrative and academic, with a goal of informing your decision-making process. You’ll also explore critical issues facing higher education in America including access, academic freedom, federal government policy, financial aid, diversity and the influence of business models on institutional strategy and practice. You’ll gain an understanding of the responsibilities facing leaders of community colleges, as well as private and public four-year colleges and universities. 

Differentiate yourself with a widely recognized credential

The Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership is a widely recognized credential that distinguishes you from other high performers. It can open the door to teaching at the university level, as well as a variety of leadership positions. With its broad focus on organizational leadership, the degree also translates to a variety of for-profit and nonprofit industries, as well as the public sector and the military. Graduates of the program are not only good leaders, they are able to coach others into leadership roles as well. 

Get 360-degree support

We’ve taken a comprehensive and systematic approach to our online doctoral program, which includes team-based curriculum development, doctorally qualified faculty, and student-centered activities designed for the working adult. You’ll receive robust academic support from a variety of resources, including a graduate advisor, faculty advisor, personal librarian and peers, as well as Learning Commons staff and your Dissertation Committee members. You’ll also enjoy a cohesive and robust graduate culture and cohort. Together, our practice-minded faculty and your fellow students will support, mentor, encourage and keep you accountable to the program – and to yourself. At Franklin, you’re never alone on your doctoral journey.

Transfer Up to 24 Credit Hours

Want to complete your terminal degree in less than 3 years? Franklin grants up to 24 hours of prior-learning credit for previous doctoral work. We honor your prior learning and make it easier to get credit for what you already know. Transfer credit can help you earn your applied doctorate degree faster, as well as reduce your overall tuition expenses. 

A Unique Dissertation Structure 

If there’s such a thing as a no-fear dissertation process, Franklin has it. We’ve intentionally designed a dissertation structure to help you complete your dissertation step-by-step, beginning with your enrollment in the program. We’ve also built-in faculty mentoring and guidance, and peer-to-peer support so you’re never left to “figure it out” on your own.

Throughout the Ed.D. program, you’ll develop important research skills and the necessary writing prowess to publish a dissertation or complete a dissertation in practice as the culmination of your studies. Your dissertation will showcase your ability to solve a challenge within the workplace using action research. As a part of the dissertation in practice, you will then either test your hypotheses in the real world, or based on your findings, document a process to implement your solution. 

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Curriculum & Course Descriptions

58 Semester Hours
Research Core (16 hours)
ENG 800 - Writing Foundations (3)
This course will orient students to Franklin University, its learning environments and support systems. Students will develop essential skills needed to be successful in a doctoral program. Foundations of theory and practice in doctoral studies will be taught. Students will gain scholarly and professional writing skills in the context of their discipline. Dissertation structure and process will be introduced. Students will also complete their first colloquia as part of the course requirements.
GRAD 888 - Colloquium I (1)
The doctoral colloquium is designed to build a community and ensure that learners have the support, motivation and guidance necessary to succeed in their doctoral programs. This first colloquia will also provide students with an overview of the doctoral program expectations, coursework sequence, doctoral student support services, as well as comprehensive exam and dissertation requirements. The first colloquium is designed to establish a learning community and graduate culture for the doctoral students at Franklin University. The doctoral colloquium will be held at the University's main campus in facilities that provide appropriate online interaction for out-of-state and international students. Please note: A book fee may be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see http://www.franklin.edu/financial-aid/tuition-fees /e-textbooks for specific charges.
GRAD 889 - Colloquium II (1)
The doctoral colloquium is designed to build a community and ensure that learners have the support, motivation and guidance necessary to succeed in their doctoral programs. The second colloquia will aid students in their transition from coursework to doctoral candidacy. Students will be oriented to the process and requirements for the upcoming comprehensive exam. In addition, they will begin to plan how to navigate and fulfill the requirements of the dissertation process. In addition, students will continue to build their learning network and community through this experience. The doctoral colloquium will be held at the University's main campus in facilities that provide appropriate online interaction for out-of-state and international students.
MATH 807 - Introduction to Statistics With SAS (2)
This course will introduce the concepts of descriptive statistics with the use of SAS software. Topics will include basic statistical terminology, statistical graphs, numerical summaries of data, probability concepts and distributions, and sampling distributions. The course is designed to integrate the use of SAS with the aforementioned concepts and to provide opportunities to interpret its outputs.
MATH 810 - Applied Statistics (3)
Applications of statistical techniques and methods will be explored, including fundamental statistical tests for central values, variances and categorical variables; regression analysis and general linear model. The emphasis will be on selecting and applying the appropriate statistical techniques as well as interpretation and reporting of results with the use of a major statistical software. The course is also designed to provide numerous opportunities to critique statistical techniques commonly used in empirical research articles.
MTHD 805 - Research Methods & Design (3)
Students will learn about research methodology, related methods, and how to apply them in valid and reliable research designs. Students will be taught how to construct new theories, connect research theory and design to application and practice in the organization. This course will begin to prepare students to identify a research problem, conduct a literature review, and select appropriate research methodology for their dissertation. Issues of research ethics will be discussed.
MTHD 820 - Advanced Quantitative Research & Design (3)
This is an advanced course in statistics that covers complex analyses used in education and data-driven decision making. The course is designed to broaden and deepen student understanding of advanced statistics in multivariate techniques. The emphasis of the course is on practical application of concepts learnt. To this end, the course is developed to balance theory and application and provides numerous opportunities for application to practical problems. Students will also complete their second colloquia.
OR MTHD 822 - Advanced Qualitative Research & Design (3)
The advanced qualitative research course builds on the knowledge and skills students acquire in GRAD 805. This course leads students on an in depth treatment of qualitative research methodology, exploring its theoretical underpinnings and associated methods for design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of results. Ethics are emphasized for each stage of research. This course will guide students to develop the methodology and data analysis for their dissertation proposal and research. Students will also complete their second colloquia if they had not enrolled in GRAD 820.
Leadership Core (16 hours)
MGMT 875 - Change Mgmt & Organizational Development (4)
This course focuses on research and evaluation of the key theoretical concepts and practices central to the leading of organizational change initiatives. Students will evaluate real-world situations, cases and scenarios in order to recommend and justify theoretically-based change management practices to ensure ongoing organizational acceptance and effectiveness of these programs. Students will conduct scholarly research to explore, evaluate and interpret
IDL 810 - Innovative Learning Environment Design (4)
In this course, students will be exposed to new and innovative approaches for designing effective learning and instruction. This course will equip students with knowledge of applicable frameworks and strategies for implementation at the organizational level. Students will review learning environments such as e-learning, blended and hybrid learning, mobile learning, game-based learning, and informal and social learning, to determine the appropriate learning environment based on the learning and training needs of an organization.
OR IDL 820 - Strategic Assessment & Decision Making (4)
Today's researchers, leaders and managers in the instructional design field must be able to use data to make decisions, as well as to influence others in their organizations. In this course, students will learn how to apply relevant tools, techniques, theories, and principles of strategic assessment and decision-making to address the learning and performance needs to continuous improvement for learning problems or a learning organization.
EDUC 801 - Leadership of Organizational Principles (4)
This core course focuses on leadership and followership skills and attributes through the lens of traditional and 21st century leadership theories, constructs and concepts as applied to institutions. Students will apply transformational and other state-of-the-art leadership theoretical underpinnings to real-world cases, scenarios and situations that involve optimal practices in leading individuals and organizations through leadership challenging scenarios and other situations. The course concentrates on the application of critical thinking to optimal practices in leading institutions, their stakeholders and culture for optimal effectiveness.
EDUC 805 - Leadership of Organizational Resources (4)
This core course focuses on state-of-the-art leadership skills necessary for the effectiveness of today's leaders and managers. The course concentrates on the specific transformational, servant-leadership, and other leadership competencies and skills necessary for providing sound management of institutional resources, projects, and performance. Students will apply leadership theoretical underpinnings to real-world cases, scenarios and situations that involve effective and ineffective resource and performance management practices. The course concentrates on the application of critical thinking and decision-making in optimal practices for providing highly effective leadership in today's organizations.
Focus Area (8 hours)
Organizational Leadership (8 hours)
MGMT 850 - Organizational Leadership (4)
This course addresses historical and current leadership concepts, theories and constructs. An emphasis will be on the application and assessment of transformational, servant and authentic leadership theories for us by both leaders and followers in 21st century business and academic settings. The course will challenge students to assess their own leadership strengths and weaknesses and produce an in-depth plan of action to develop and refine leadership competencies. Students will conduct substantive scholarly research to address and capture relevant and cutting edge leadership theoretical work for application in course assignments.
MGMT 845 - Organizational Behavior, Culture & Effectiveness (4)
This course is an advanced research seminar in the field of organizational culture and behavior. The seminar allows you to begin the process of substantive academic research and formal inquiry into these important theories and the implications of these for managers. The seminar will require the synthesis of critical thinking, analysis, research writing and evaluation. Students will develop a key deliverable that involves a research proposal in the fields of organizational culture and behavior and then conduct substantive research into the literature developed by others. The final project in the seminar is the development of a research ready proposal utilizing at minimum one research methodology.
PK-12 Leadership
EDUC 820 - Navigating Bargaining & Contract Paramet (4)
This course is key for students who have chosen the K-12 leadership focus and aspire to positions of leadership that require a solid understanding of principles of labor relations. After establishing a foundation for the basis of collective bargaining principles, students will be provided with multiple opportunities to analyze and evaluate case studies involving labor negotiations and collective bargaining. Publically available collective bargaining agreements will then be analyzed for language and structural similarities and differences. Grievance and conflict resolution principles will be applied to the analysis of actual issues that are archived within the SERB database structure. A culminating product will be produced that will involve the interview of both management and union representatives to develop a plan for the hypothetical negotiation of an expiring public school collective bargaining agreement.
EDUC 825 - Building & District Leadership Structure (4)
This course is key for students who have chosen the K-12 leadership focus and must develop expertise and practice in navigating the unique aspects of building and district leadership in K-12 structures. Concepts of transformational leadership developed through the Leadership Core will be leveraged in the examination of school level and district level issues. Students will be required to define problems within their unique professional situation and apply recognized leadership structures to promote a shared vision and establishes a professional learning community that focuses on the mission of ensuring that all students learn through the development of a culture of collaboration rooted in data based results.
Higher Education Leadership
EDUC 840 - College & University Leader Structures (4)
This course provides an examination of leadership theories and structures in institutions of higher education. Focusing on major theories of leadership of higher education organizations that inform leadership practices, students will develop skills as practitioners in university leadership. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the structure and function of university leadership structures from multiple theoretical perspectives. Students will gain an understanding of the management, leadership, and administrative roles of academic and student affairs offices in colleges and universities including personnel, program definition, research and teaching issues, and other functions of academic and programing oversight. Additional consideration to the roles, responsibilities, and leadership styles required will be examined for different organizational contexts. Through the linking of theory to practice, the class activities will lead students to develop skills as campus leaders and to empower them to make conscious, deliberate decisions, utilizing multiple, and at times divergent, theoretical frames.
EDUC 845 - Leveraging Pk-12 Business Partnerships (4)
The purpose of this course is to explore critical, challenges facing American higher education. The course explores the history of higher education, with an emphasis on the development of higher education in the United States, to present day challenges facing intuitions. It includes issues of access, accountability, academic freedom, financial aid, state and federal government policy, changing legal structures, teaching and learning in a digital age, student issues, diversity, and the influence of business models and values on institutional strategy and practice. This course also covers different educational systems (Community Colleges, Private Colleges, and Public Colleges) and the critical issues affecting their intuitional type. Students will gain an understanding of their responsibilities, critical thinking, and explore current issues that affect managers in institutions of higher education. This course addresses interdisciplinary influences on leadership practice within learning organizations and focuses on recent developments that have broad implications for research and practice in educational leadership.
Electives (8 hours)

Any two current doctoral courses from the following list:

IDL 800 - Strategic Examination of Trends & Technology (4)
Leaders of instruction and learning must stay abreast of continual changes in technology and leverage them to ensure the competitiveness and health of their organization. However, not all technologies and emerging processes are worth adopting. In this course, students will examine pedagogical trends and emerging technologies. Students will learn how to evaluate theories and incorporate designs, processes, and technologies in strategic and tactical decisions for instruction and learning in the organization.
IDL 810 - Innovative Learning Environment Design (4)
In this course, students will be exposed to new and innovative approaches for designing effective learning and instruction. This course will equip students with knowledge of applicable frameworks and strategies for implementation at the organizational level. Students will review learning environments such as e-learning, blended and hybrid learning, mobile learning, game-based learning, and informal and social learning, to determine the appropriate learning environment based on the learning and training needs of an organization.
IDL 820 - Strategic Assessment & Decision Making (4)
Today's researchers, leaders and managers in the instructional design field must be able to use data to make decisions, as well as to influence others in their organizations. In this course, students will learn how to apply relevant tools, techniques, theories, and principles of strategic assessment and decision-making to address the learning and performance needs to continuous improvement for learning problems or a learning organization.
IDL 830 - Organizational Learning & Knowledge Management (4)
Learning and knowledge management is crucial to the success of organizations. In this course, students will go beyond the design of learning environments and acquire skills to lead and manage the learning organization at a strategic level. Students will be able to recognize and meet the evolving learning needs of an organization within the framework of the organization's strategic goals. Multicultural awareness and how to lead multi-functional and cross-cultural instructional design teams and projects will also be addressed in this course.
IDL 840 - Instructional Design Consulting (4)
Instructional design leaders often work in a consulting role with both internal and external clients and stakeholders. In this course, students will gain consulting skills in instructional design. Major topics of the course include: applying doctoral-level research strategies to analyze and evaluate learning and performance problems; communicating effectively with stakeholders; applying consulting strategies and skills; and creating a consulting professional development plan.
MGMT 840 - Development of Management Theory Practice (4)
The primary objective of this course is to provide a substantive overview of the development of management theory and its applications through the 20th century to date. Managerial concepts and constructs will be researched and applied in a scholar to practitioner modality. The course will focus on the evolution of management thought and the implications of its development for modern managers and leaders.
MGMT 855 - Org Sys Perspect Theory & Application (4)
This course focuses on the theory and practice of organizations as open and adaptive systems. Students will address the implications of systems theory for organizational sense-making, learning, innovation and transformation. The complexity of organizations as integrated participants in while systems will be addressed through research and presentations.
MGMT 860 - Strategic Thinking, Dec. Making/Innov. (4)
This course focuses on advanced research in the fields of organizational strategy and performance. The literature on these disciplines is abundant. A focus of this course is to enable students to develop their own mental map of systems theories and concepts for application in real-world managerial and leadership settings. The course outcomes will add increased depth and breadth to the synthesis of critical thinking, analysis, research writing and evaluation regarding strategy, leadership decision-making and related organizational innovations and competitive advantages. Students will develop a key deliverable that involves a research proposal in these fields by conducting substantive research into the literature developed by others.
MGMT 870 - Ethics & Social Responsbility (4)
This course focuses on the evaluation and analysis of key ethical decision-making theories and constructs and their direct application and integration in 21st century organizational practices. The role of corporate social responsibility will be explored by assessing the role of organizational leaders and stakeholders with improving the quality of life for individuals and the community.
HCM 810 - Organizations, Community & Global Health (4)
This science of epidemiology is essential for projecting the population health needs, and appropriate allocation of public and private resources. This course focuses on the utilization of epidemiologic studies and techniques as a basis for organizational policy and administrative decision-making. Students will examine the connection between organizational leadership and social health. Students will create and recommend organizational strategies that enhance organizational, community, and global health.
HCM 820 - Healthcare Policy, Regulations & Reform (4)
This course will explore various aspects of corporate, state and federal policy making. Students will examine the impact of existing health policies on healthcare organizations, providers and patients. Students will develop skills to influence and change existing healthcare policies. Students will also create and propose a new healthcare policy.
HCM 830 - Healthcare Economics, Resources & Finance (4)
This course will examine the importance of resource and financial management in a healthcare organization. Students will determine the financial status of a healthcare organization and create strategic plans to sustain healthcare services. This course will also explore the various concepts driving healthcare economics. This course will also critique the use of organizational supplies, human resources, and technology.
HCM 840 - Healthcare Quality, Process & Improvement (4)
This course will examine various aspects of patient safety, quality improvement and risk management in healthcare. Students will compare and contrast several process improvement models with the goal of improving organizational efficiency, patient safety, and service quality. Students will also research governmental agencies driving quality improvement in healthcare organizations.
HIM 802 - Advanced Health Information Governance (4)
In this course students will evaluate an organizations current health information governance infra-structure and will make recommendations for improvement that will cover the broad spectrum of strategic issues in healthcare including policies, guidelines, standards, processes and controls required to manage and implement enterprise-level information. Students will research how health data and organizational information systems are utilized as a strategic asset to healthcare organizations, process to manage various risks to the quality of information and ensure its appropriate use.
HIM 810 - Advanced Clinical Workflow & Applications (4)
In this course students will evaluate an organizations existing clinical workflows to include a variety of inpatient, outpatient and emergency healthcare environments. Material in the course covers the documentation, review, mapping and diagramming of clinical workflow information and processes. Students will also assess and make recommendations for improvement of patient care to workflow mapping and change management, as part of evidence based decision making in healthcare.
HIM 861 - Advanced Healthcare Analytics (4)
In this course students will evaluate an organizations existing process of retrieving, analyzing and reporting intelligence to make healthcare decisions. Student will assess and make recommendations for improvement on the techniques of extracting, transforming and loading data from a myriad of operational databases into corporate data warehouses, as well means to ensure that decision making is based on clean and reliable information. Students will also develop skills for reporting the healthcare intelligence gathered.
Doctoral Capstone Project (10 hours)
GRAD 901 - Comprehensive Exam (1)
This course is designed for students to prepare and complete their comprehensive exam. Remedial strategies and actions will also be provided for students who do not successfully pass their comprehensive exam on the first attempt.
GRAD 905 - Dissertation in Practice I (3)
In Dissertation in Practice I, doctoral candidates will complete their project prospectus for approval from their dissertation in practice (DIP) committee and prepare IRB documentation for their research. The emphasis in this course is to complete drafts of chapters one, two, and three of the DIP, with chapter three advanced to point of sufficient detail for the IRB submission.
GRAD 906 - Dissertation in Practice II (3)
In Dissertation in Practice II, doctoral candidates will finalize Part I and II. Candidates will start to write Part III of their DIP -Methodology and collect data upon receiving IRB approval.
GRAD 907 - Dissertation in Practice III (3)
In Dissertation in Practice III, doctoral candidates will complete Part IV and V of the DIP and make any revision necessary to the first three chapters.
GRAD 908 - Defense of Dissertation Or Capstone (0)
As the final step to meet all requirements for earning a doctoral degree, all students will defend their dissertation or capstone project. They will do so working with their Dissertaton Committee or their Capstone Committee. This course will serve as the marker for that successful completion, notifying all internal constituencies that the student has met all requirements for graduation.

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