Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Leadership

Course Descriptions

PhD 701: Advanced Research Colloquium (6 credits)

This initial course for the doctoral program provides an overview of research designs and methodological approaches commonly encountered in research. The course provides a systematic approach to the scientific method as it is used in research in organizations with human participants, including critical reviews of literature, ethics, hypothesis testing, reliability and validity, sampling, research design, observational and self-report methods, and selected issues in data analysis. Note: The Appendix describes the Institutional Review Board and the procedures required for conducting research with human participants.



PhD 704: Quantitative Research - Design and Analysis (3 credits)


A companion to Qualitative Research Methodologies, this course is designed to help students develop proficiency in quantitative analysis for interpreting social and organizational data. Includes experimental, quasi-experimental, and several multivariate designs as well as critical analysis of quantitative studies and an examination of the ethics involved in research. Appropriate statistical techniques are discussed, critiqued, and applied. The course will enable students to develop the ability to recognize valid data and valid evidence within the context of decision making within organizations. 



PhD 706: Leadership - Advanced Systems Theory and Research (3 credits)


The course content includes a critical analysis of the theoretical constructs in contemporary leadership. Attention is devoted to the study of organizational improvement, with an emphasis on the theories regarding how individuals and group skills interact to implement and manage dynamic systemic change. Structural, human resources, political and symbolic perspective on leadership are examined. Theoretical perspectives of leadership are studied in the context of the research from which they emerged.

PhD 709: Organizational Analysis - Culture, Theory and Change Strategies (3 credits) 


This course examines the theories and research regarding organizational cultures and change processes. Students examine organizations using organizational diagnosis and development tools in an effort to support leaders as they transform their organizations into highly performing entities. Students study organizational culture and leader-follower interaction as they develop a change model using constructs from existing, as well as emerging, research to explain the behaviors and events in an organizational setting. Case studies and simulations are included to enhance the analysis of emerging forms of educational, corporate and community development and improvement.



PhD 710: Qualitative Research - Design and Analysis (3 credits)

A companion to Quantitative Research Methodologies, this course is designed to develop proficiency in collecting, analyzing and reporting qualitative data, using a variety of qualitative tools. Included will be ethnography, research interviews, content analysis, and other qualitative research designs. Attention will be given to their history, traditions, conceptual bases and justifications. In addition, the course includes the critical analysis of qualitative studies with an emphasis on ethical considerations and social justice and the political issues that impact research in organizations. Case studies, phenomenological studies, participant observation, unstructured life histories and emerging theories are explored and analyzed.



PhD 711: Moral and Ethical Foundations of Decision Making (3 credits)


A study of the theories of ethical decision making is combined with the critical analysis of case studies that focus on the role that leaders play in shaping the vision, mission, and activities of organizations. Special emphasis is placed on the tactics, techniques, and skills needed to solve problems, as well as to address external threats. Students gain insights about their values and refine their concepts about leadership. The course is also designed to help students study the importance of systematic reform of political, economic, and social services, and society in general.

PhD 724: Theories in Organizational Structure and Strategic Leadership
(3 credits)                 

The course content focuses on economic, political and legislative issues impacting contemporary organizations and their structure. Emphasis is on the organizational level of analysis on topics including job design, organization structure and design, and inter- and intra-organizational processes and influences, as well as the role of the leader as a strategic manager.



PhD 725: Leadership - Diversity and Social Justice in Complex and Global Organizations (3 credits)


This course investigates the increasingly prominent issues surrounding diversity and the cultural, social, economic, and political forces that underlie conflicts in our communities. The course examines the historical experience of women and marginalized groups in the special circumstances they face in modern society, and the impact of government policies on their position. Special emphasis is placed on the role of the leader in organizations that are addressing the needs of a diverse workforce and facing the challenges of a global economy. Strategies for improving interpersonal relationships and developing communities are to be explored.



PhD 727: Developing Human Resources in Organizations (3 credits)


Course content focuses on contemporary research on employment issues as they relate to theories in organizational studies, culture and labor economics. This course analyzes these issues from both the individual and organizational level of analysis. Included is the role of the leader as they influence others—subordinates, peers, superiors, clients, boards, owners, regulators, pressure groups, media and others. Emphasis is placed on addressing the diversity among individuals as well as the legal requirements for promoting equity and building capacity.



PhD 729: Welfare Politics and Leadership with Community Organizations (3 credits)

This course evaluates the impact of the socioeconomic and political environment on formulation and implementation of social welfare policies both past and present. Special interest groups and political movements will also be addressed as they influence the community leader within organizations. The context of political change/political action as well as the changing nature of the concept of welfare for community leaders will be examined. The relationship between policy and leadership will be a focus of this course addressing social injustice in cross-cultural settings.

PhD 731: Advanced Supervision and Leadership Theory (3 credits)

This course is an investigation of the research in the theories, purposes and effects of supervision and evaluation in educational settings. Supervisory models are explored, with a focus on approaches that involve teachers as members of collegial units. Imbedded in the course content will be analysis of leadership styles as related to supervisory practices.



PhD 801: Negotiations and Conflict Resolution for Contemporary Leaders (3 credits)

This course explores the theories, policies and approaches required for conducting successful negotiations and resolving conflicts for education, community and corporate leaders. The content includes legislation, legal issues, and alternatives to litigation. It enhances leaders’ involvement in the dispute resolution process, and facilitates access to justice as central to the role of a contemporary leader. The impact of collective bargaining on negotiations in the public sector is discussed. Current research findings are integrated as support for various approaches in conflict resolution. Students participate in a series of increasingly complex cases in which they assume the roles of arbitrators and key stakeholders.



PhD 803: Leadership and Spirituality (3 credits)


This course is based on the foundation that spiritual development is essential to human development. This course emphasizes the importance of leaders awakening their own spirit in management and leadership. Students will analyze theoretical and philosophical perspectives on spirituality and how those perspectives apply to the workplace.



PhD 805: Development and Evaluation of Organizational Policies and Programs
(3 credits)

This course addresses development, evaluation design, execution, and assessment of policies and programs at federal, state, local and organizational levels. The course focuses on various theories of policy analysis including formative to summative approaches. Policy-making structures will be identified and the underlying influences of socio-economic and political context of policy evaluation. 



PhD 807: Curriculum, Culture and Instructional Leadership (3 credits)


The course content explores the major curriculum theories and their relationship to planning, improvement and evaluation of school programs. The current literature and research on strategies for affecting curriculum innovation and change are examined and analyzed. An examination of the impact of current cultural influences both internal and external to the educational organization will be included.



PhD 814: Seminar in Organizational Law (3 credits)

This course provides an in-depth analysis of the effects of legal forces on the objectives and operations of for profit and nonprofit organizations, churches, schools and businesses. Policies that impact leadership and decision making are analyzed using current case studies. Emphasis is placed on vulnerabilities and the appropriate techniques of managing exposure risks. Contemporary issues relating to governmental regulations, employment issues, and human resources policies faced by leaders in cross-cultural settings are explored.



PhD 815: Economic Development of Organizations (3 credits)


This course explores the application of economic principles to the study of policy and to the solution of economic problems in complex organizations. Included are discussions of the major economic theories and their relationship to leadership decision-making in the corporate, not-for-profit, and public policy arenas. This course is designed to identify and analyze factors that contribute to the successful economic development of organizations. Major topics include risk assessment and management, leadership skills, sources of funding, and the economic policies that enhance the development of organizations. Case studies of successful and unsuccessful economic development of organizations will be analyzed.



PhD 818: Federal, State and Local Relations (3 credits)


Federal, State and Local Relations is designed to help aspiring leaders understand and appreciate the governmental, regulatory and political processes involved in achieving positive relationships and outcomes with federal, state and local agencies and personnel.



PhD 821: Organizational Policy and Finance (3 credits)


This course examines the role of leadership through fiscal policy development. Emphasis is focused on the analysis and development of effective fiscal leadership approaches. Included is an examination of the role of the financial manager in a modern corporate organization. Topics include: time, value of money, financial analysis, risk analysis, financial forecasting, cost of capital, stock and bond valuation modes, capital budgeting, and investment decisions under conditions of uncertainty.



PhD 824: Personnel and Human Resources in Educational Organizations (3 credits)

This is a course designed to provide prospective educational administrators with a broad overview of personnel administration, which is concerned with the employment, staff evaluation, development, utilization and general welfare of professional and non-exempt staff. Examination of diversity among individuals, interpersonal relationships and legal requirements for promoting equity are included in this course.



PhD 825: Educational Policy and Leadership (3 credits)


This course is a critical examination of the current issues in educational policy making. Students explore the role of participants and the procedures used in the development of public policies that effect educational organizations. The course addresses issues such as the rights and responsibilities of teachers, limits of democratic authority, and equality of educational opportunity. Empirical data will be used to review and evaluate the impact of external policies on the educational organization and the role of the leader.



PhD 828: U. S. Presidents as Leaders (3 credits)
 - offered during presidential election year only

In this course, the biographies of four presidents are critiqued with four primary objectives: To appreciate the qualities of observation, reflection and verbal expression that distinguish a biographical account of a leader; to appreciate the elements of bias, mythmaking and unconscious selection that frame our understandings of leaders; to practice the solid empirical research necessary to approach objectivity in analyzing leaders; to discuss the importance of context in making a leader.

PhD 830: Current Issues in Education (3 credits)

The content of this course focuses on the complex political, societal, economic, and global issues that impact schools and districts. Students explore issues such as diversity, federal accountability legislation, inclusion, unions, gender equity, comparative education and social justice. The role and responsibility of the educational institution in promoting equal opportunity will be examined.



PhD 832: Law, Advocacy and the Educational Institution (3 credits)

This course provides an in-depth analysis of the effects of legal forces on the objectives and operations within educational organizations. Policies that impact leadership and decision-making are analyzed using current case studies. Emphasis is placed on vulnerabilities and the appropriate techniques of managing exposure risks. Contemporary issues relating to governmental regulations, employment issues, and human resource policies faced by leaders in cross-cultural settings are explored. Processes for advocacy within the political arena are analyzed and examined.



PhD 851: Instrument Design and Analysis (3 credits)


The course presents the major concepts in evaluating and designing a variety of instruments, including reliability and validity, writing and editing of items, scoring and weighting procedures, and item selection methods. The use of ANOVA, multiple regression, and factor analysis will be included.

PhD 853: Advanced Quantitative Research - Design and Analysis (3 credits)

This course will concentrate on univariate and multivariate analyses, correlation analysis, multiple regression analysis, analysis of covariance and various factorial analysis designs. The general linear model and post hoc analysis will be examined. Focus will be placed on understanding these approaches and how to implement them for individual research questions and problems. 



PhD 855: Advanced Qualitative Research - Design and Analysis (3 credits)


Building upon the knowledge and experience acquired in Qualitative Research: Design and Analysis, this course will prepare students to conduct more advanced qualitative research, including structural analysis, ethnographic interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and the repertory grid.



Seminar with Supervised Field Experience (3 credits)


This is a required seminar and supervised field experience for those individuals seeking principal’s certification. The student will submit to his/her advisor a comprehensive proposal for a unit of work to be done under the supervision of a currently active superintendent. The observation and supervision of employees, along with other selected units of work from such areas as scheduling, budget preparation, staff development, curriculum, community relations, school board relations, extracurricular activities, etc., comprise the list of acceptable projects for interns to complete. All proposals must be approved by the faculty advisor and sanctioned by the central office administration of the school district where the field experience is to occur. In addition to the field experience, seminar meetings are conducted every other week for a period of two hours for all administrative interns for the duration of the semester.



Dissertation (12 credits)


The dissertation is the culmination of the doctoral program and as such must reflect a high degree of scholarly competence for students. Students will be required to first submit and defend their dissertation proposal. Students will advance to full dissertation after they have successfully defended their proposal. The full dissertation must report, in an accepted scholarly style, an original investigation of a research problem or theory of significance in the student’s area of concentration. The final product will demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct original qualitative, quantitative or mixed research design in an area related to leadership in educational, public, or private organizations. The dissertation will take place over a minimum of three semesters. The student will meet periodically with their dissertation committee to obtain feedback and guidance regarding progress throughout the three dissertation semesters.





Ph.D. Student Handbook


PHD Brochure
Click image for a downloadable
student handbook. 




doctor of philosophy (ph.d.) in leadership

1.888.alvernia
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