Curriculum & Learning Environment
Through a comprehensive curriculum and applied research, Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to identify and pose evidence-based solutions to complex organizational and societal problems. The Walker School of Education’s EdD program develops leaders who communicate, collaborate, and innovate to drive positive systemic change.
Coursework (54 Credits)
This course is designed to introduce students to multiple theories of leadership with a focus on practical applications in professional settings. Students apply a variety of leadership theories to real-world organizational case studies and reflect upon how leadership theory may impact the way in which they develop leadership capacity in themselves and others. Students incorporate practical knowledge, self-reflection, theory, and research to develop their own philosophy of leadership, and a corresponding leadership lens statement that aids in promoting the success of individuals, organizations, and communities.
This course provides students with an understanding of the fundamental resources, knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to be successful in their doctoral program. The concept of systemic inquiry as an approach to enhancing practice and policy is presented. Students develop their doctoral-level writing skills through a series of activities focused on critically analyzing literature, and merging professional experience with literature to contextualize a Problem of Practice, which may serve as the foundation of students’ Dissertation in Practice.
This course is framed around questions of diversity, equity, and justice to bring about solutions to complex challenges within and across organizations. The overarching objective of this course is to prepare students to effectively lead diverse organizations and to foster cultures of inclusion in a meaningful and strategic way. Throughout their coursework and in discussions, students engage in activities that increase their awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and they consider social justice elements that may impact their Problem of Practice. Students investigate historical and current social justice challenges for individuals, organizations, and communities.
Students explore multiple theoretical perspectives of teaching and learning (e.g., behaviorism, cognitive, constructivist, social cognitive, sociocultural, transformative) and evaluate the usefulness of these theories in professional practice. They continue to contextualize their Problem of Practice through a teaching and learning lens. Through critical reflection and an analysis of literature, students have the opportunity to propose teaching and learning strategies to enhance innovation, and to develop a plan to enhance teaching and learning practices related to their area(s) of interest.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research concerning organizational theory and behavior and to develop an understanding of what makes organizations effective. Students uncover how people, structures, technology, and the external environment affect organizations, and they develop strategies to respond to these behaviors. Students explore the broad political, economic, social, cultural, and policy contexts of their organization. Management of change in organizations is an area of focus in this course, as students investigate strategies for restructuring, organizational development, and developing and implementing systems and processes to achieve sustainable organizational success. Finally, students explore how applied research can support organizational effectiveness and continuous improvement.
This course serves as an introduction to qualitative research methods. Students are introduced to primary qualitative designs and their corresponding design elements. Students apply their knowledge of qualitative research methods by determining if or how a qualitative methodology is appropriate to explore their Problem of Practice. They continue to deeply explore existing research, resources, and organizational and stakeholder needs to refine their Problem of Practice, thus contextualizing and clarifying factors that contribute to their Problem of Practice.
Students expand their understanding of research methods by examining common quantitative and mixed-methods designs. There is a special focus on how an understanding of statistical analysis aids scholar-practitioners in clarifying problems of practice, implementing change efforts, and using data to drive decision-making. Students continue to explore additional research and available data to clarify their Problem of Practice.
During this eight-week session, students revise and refine their Problem of Practice. They focus on exploring and synthesizing additional literature, publicly and organizationally available data, and stakeholder input to contextualize their Problem of Practice.
The goal for human resources (HR) personnel is ultimately to identify, develop, manage, and utilize the abilities of employees to meet organizational goals and to promote organizational growth. Therefore, in this course, students examine strategies that high performing organizations use to recruit, retain, engage, and develop employees. Students apply their knowledge of effective HR processes to scrutinize the strengths and needs of HR practices in a series of case studies and in their own organizations. Special attention is given to ethics and social justice considerations in HR-related decisions and strategies to enhance a culture of inclusivity in the workplace.
This course focuses on ways in which leaders use strategic design to promote optimal learning and engagement within and across organizations. In this project-based course, students incorporate foundational knowledge acquired throughout their program of study and collaborate with organizational stakeholders to develop an organizational improvement goal, propose potential strategies for change, and select a change idea to implement for the purpose of one’s Dissertation in Practice.
Students learn about the role of assessment to support the continuous improvement of organizations. This course also examines how to use practical measurement to determine whether or not a chosen improvement effort is working. Students examine the power of data-driven decision making to promote positive systemic change across organizations and communities.
Modern organizations are facing unprecedented levels of employee attrition due to a lack of career/professional advancement opportunities, poor workplace culture, and a lack of administrative support, among other factors. Many organizations recognize that mentorship is a powerful tool to proactively combat these attrition factors and to develop leadership skills in employees. However, many organizations do not have formal processes in place to develop or retain strong employees and leaders. This course introduces students to historical and modern perspectives on mentorship with a focus on how to use mentoring to promote long-term development of employees within organizations. Students consider the role of mentorship as it relates to their Problem of Practice and select evidence-based strategies to support an effective mentoring model in their place of employment.
Until this point in the program, students have defined an actionable Problem of Practice; engaged literature; collaborated with stakeholders impacted by the Problem of Practice; developed a Theory of Improvement to impact systems-level change; and decided upon measures to assess the impact of a proposed improvement effort. In this course, students work with a dedicated faculty advisor to solidify their Research Action Plan. Students review, revise, and refine their Research Action Plan, which must be submitted to and approved by Midland University’s IRB prior to collecting data for their Dissertation in Practice.
Applied ethics provides students with an introduction to ethical principles of leadership, ethical decision-making frameworks, and practical applications of these topics. The concept of ethical leadership and its impact on individuals, organizations, and communities is explored. Students learn about theories and frameworks for ethical decision-making and practice their ethical decision-making skills through a series of applied activities. In addition to established ethical decision-making frameworks, students apply their knowledge of Midland’s values to propose solutions to a variety of ethical dilemmas.
In this course, students work with their faculty advisor to implement and collect data on their change idea. They will begin to answer the question, “Was the change an improvement?” Students will continue to engage with their advisor and classmates to discuss their processes, outcomes, insights, and challenges, as appropriate.
This course explores key issues in public policy and administration. Students are introduced to the policy process and examine factors that influence policy at local and national levels. Students research and evaluate policies pertinent to their professional fields and apply their knowledge of the policy process by composing a policy brief related to their Problem of Practice or professional setting.
In this course, students combine practical knowledge, inquiry, research, and theory to make suggestions to enhance practice and/or policy. They study the data resulting from their change idea and take actionable steps to continue, revise, or refine their improvement effort(s). This course has a focus on how to lead and collaborate with stakeholders of an organization and/or within the community to create effective processes for continuous improvement.
This course marks the final phase in the Dissertation in Practice research process. Students review, revise, hone, defend, and disseminate the results of their Dissertation in Practice.
Flexible Class Structure
Designed around a student’s demanding schedule, the Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation can be completed entirely online. With the help of our program, students can immediately apply what they are learning to their profession each day because of our flexible class structures.
Online Class Schedule
To meet the needs of professional students from across the country, our all-online programs allow students to jump in from anywhere, yet still be part of the connected and personal Midland community. The online network encourages collaboration with peers from across the country, and from multiple professional fields, to learn first-hand new approaches in leadership and innovation through a robust knowledge-sharing network.
All online courses are asynchronous in delivery, meaning students don’t have to log in at any specific time, but rather keep up with homework on their own schedule. Modules run on a schedule of Monday through Sunday, with the bulk of assignments due on Sunday.