Missouri Baptist University 2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin 
    Jan 17, 2021  
Missouri Baptist University 2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Higher Education Leadership

Mission Statement

The Ed.D. program is an outgrowth of the University’s mission of “preparing students to serve in a global and culturally diverse society” and the Education Division’s mission of developing “reflective, problem-solving professional educators of excellence.” The Ed.D. program is a natural extension of academic programs, projects, and community activities that are already in progress.

Overview – Higher Education Leadership

The Ed.D. program in Higher Education Leadership focuses on the knowledge and practical skills needed for effective instructional and administrative leadership in the higher education setting. The program addresses the issues of concern for educational leaders, including the instructional leadership needed to work toward the elimination of achievement gaps and the administrative leadership required to focus on student learning outcomes. Students in the program engage in course-embedded field-based inquiry, internships, and applied doctoral research to investigate these issues. Students conduct applied research in an attempt to solve practical problems in the higher education arena. Research includes assessment of student learning outcomes, evaluation of programs and services, identification of community educational needs, and other investigations providing information higher education leaders need in the decision-making process.

Primary Audience

The target audience for the program includes individuals who aspire to or currently work in higher education and want a program that provides the expertise needed to move into administrative and instructional leadership positions in these institutions.


The Ed.D. program emphasizes the needs of leaders within the following themes:

  • Leadership in teaching and learning (as a lens through which decisions are made and problems are solved).
  • Applied field research (a component of individual courses as well as the dissertation).
  • Diversity (diverse experiences working with diverse populations).
  • Technology (the sophisticated use of all forms of technology in data collection and analysis in research and in delivery of instruction).
  • Service to the community (following the mission of the University “to prepare students to serve in a global and culturally diverse society”).
  • Reflective practice (the core of the Education Division’s Conceptual Framework).

These themes reflect the goals of the Ed.D. program. The program prepares leaders in teaching and learning who are aware of increased diversity in classrooms, of greater expectations for student learning, and of new opportunities to use technology.


Students in the Ed.D. program will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in original, field-based inquiry and research related to pedagogy, pedagogical content knowledge, and/or strategies for improving teaching and learning in complex and diverse settings.
  • Engage in moral and ethical decision-making using analytical and interdisciplinary methods for assessing the complicated financial, political, and cultural issues and dilemmas facing higher education.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use sophisticated technological tools for the collection and evaluation of data to make strategic decisions and changes in policies and processes related to teaching and learning.
  • Demonstrate critical reflection in analyzing multi-faceted problems at the higher education level and developing creative solutions for resolving these problems.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills in assessment, problemsolving, and both short-term and long-term strategic planning related to teaching and learning.

Continuous Enrollment

Students will enter the Ed.D. program as a cohort group and move through the program with their assigned group. Students will enroll in each 12-week term until the end of the coursework and the end of the dissertation study.

Course Load and Timeline

The load for students enrolled in the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership program will be one or two three-hour courses every twelve weeks. The timeline for completion of the entire program for most students is projected to be two and a half years, although some students may take longer to complete the dissertation. It is expected students will begin the process of the dissertation with the appointment of a Doctoral Committee Chair near the end of the second quarter in the program.

Field-Based Experience

The course in Higher Education Leadership and Strategic Planning includes a field-based research project. These field experiences will be action research projects requiring students to (a) identify a problem within a higher education setting, (b) obtain the permissions and approvals necessary to engage in research, and (c) use appropriate research methods for collecting and evaluating data.


HEDD 773 Higher Education Internship provides opportunities for students to participate in supervised, professional settings in institutions of higher education. These experiences promote the integration and application of theory and methods gained through the formal program of study, allowing development of competencies that enhance personal and professional growth. The internship also provides on-the-job experiences of reasonable depth and length to strengthen qualifications while broadening the range of career alternatives for the student.

Research Methods Class

The course in Advanced Research Methods prepares students for the Dissertation with an understanding of both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

  • Students develop a working knowledge of (a) the key statistical techniques required for various quantitative research designs, (b) the interpretation and reporting of research findings, and (c) the necessary analysis required for completing a quantitative research study.
  • Students practice formulating qualitative questions related to problems in the field of education and identify appropriate qualitative procedures. Students construct data collection protocols for interviews and observations, design questionnaires, practice document analysis, and apply coding and classification techniques for organizing and interpreting data.

It is expected that individuals completing the Ed.D. degree will continue to engage in applied research at the higher education level as leaders in the process of teaching and learning.


Assessment of the growth of the Ed.D. student will be ongoing, multi-faceted, and in the form of course-embedded assessments, field-based research evaluations, and Doctoral Dissertation/oral defense requirements.

Course-Embedded Assessments

Assessments embedded in the Ed.D. courses include case studies, surveys, professor-made examinations, and projects as well as formative and summative evaluations. These will be based on both program and course objectives and will be reflected in the syllabi of the courses.


Students must complete a dissertation using either quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research. Requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • An “original” research design and proposal related to a problem in the area of Higher Education Leadership.
  • A comprehensive review of seminal historic and current literature on the problem, beginning with a broad background of research and culminating with literature that most specifically relates to the proposal.
  • A high level of conceptual complexity and critical analysis of the problem
  • A scholarly quantitative, qualitative, or mixed research project approved by the student’s Doctoral Dissertation Committee, the Proposal Research Committee, and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and conducted appropriately.
  • Appropriate interpretation of research findings and conclusions drawn from those findings.
  • Articulation and defense of the dissertation in an open presentation before the Doctoral Dissertation Committee, faculty, and other graduate students.
  • Publication of the dissertation through ProQuest.

The Doctoral Dissertation is expected to be at least 100 pages with no less than 50 references, unless otherwise directed by the Doctoral Dissertation Committee. The writing style of the American Psychological Association (APA), Sixth Edition, will be followed. The study must include a well-formulated statement ofthe rationale for the study and research methodology; a thorough and analytic review of related research; a concise explanation of the research design; and appropriate analysis of results and  conclusions.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee approves the dissertation proposal and the Proposal Research Application before it goes to the Proposal Research Committee and the IRB application before it goes to the IRB and assists the student in the research and writing of the study. The committee consists of three members: a committee chair and two committee members. The chair of the committee should be selected from the listing of Graduate Faculty designated as eligible to chair committees. Selection of the chair is an interactive process involving both the student and desired chair from among faculty with compatible research interests and experience. Formal dialogue about the student’s study can begin as soon as the chair has been approved by the Vice President for Graduate Studies or his/her designee. The full committee is selected by the end of the third quarter. Normally, all three members will have completed an earned Ed.D. or Ph.D. Occasionally, however, one of the three may not have completed an earned doctorate, but be an individual who has documented special expertise germane to the proposed study. One external committee member may be selected, assuming such individuals meet the requirements for working with doctoral-level students. The committee chair and committee members must be approved in advance by the Vice President for Graduate Studies or his/her designee. Normally, the student’s study has received approval of the committee and the IRB no later than the end of the sixth quarter in the program. Specific work on the study, beyond definition, development of the proposed research design, and the review and analysis of relevant historic and contemporary research and scholarship, may NOT begin until the IRB has approved the research study.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

The IRB consists of faculty and qualified staff from MBU’s graduate program. This board is responsible for ensuring that all MBU research complies with University and federal guidelines. The IRB reviews all proposed research studies in the Ed.D. program for compliance with the ethical standards of human research. IRB approval is required before collection of any data.

Doctoral Dissertation/Oral Defense Requirements

The Doctoral Dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to engage in independent research by identifying a significant problem or question, developing a sophisticated methodology for analyzing the problem, and subsequently identifying the findings and drawing conclusions related to leadership in teaching and learning.

After completing the dissertation, submitting the final written paper, and gaining final approval of the study from the committee, and final readers, the student will defend the study and conclusions before the research committee, faculty, and other graduate students. The oral defense will be scored based on thefollowing expectations:

  • The breadth and depth of the review of literature related to the study
  • The validity of the methodology used in the study
  • The level of critical reasoning used in drawing the conclusions of the research
  • The complexity of arguments used to defend the study
  • The impact of the study on the field of leadership in teaching and learning

Based on the oral defense, additional revisions to the study may be required, and the chair of the committee will provide stipulations for the suggested changes. The final approved draft will be submitted to the Vice President for Graduate Studies for final administrative approval, and, if approved, the student will receive notification from the Vice President indicating completion of the Ed.D. program. The student will then prepare the dissertation for publication.

Summary of the Doctor of Education Degree Process

To earn the Ed.D. degree in Higher Education Leadership, a student must complete each of the following steps:

  1. The student must follow a comprehensive plan of study assigned by the Doctor of Education Office.
  2. The student must complete all coursework included in the plan of study.
  3. The student must successfully present his/her doctoral dissertation to colleagues and faculty as scheduled.
  4. An Application for Graduation, signed by the student, Director of Ed.D. program, and Vice President for Graduate Studies, must be filed with the Graduate Office and the Records Office in the semester prior to the term in which the student intends to graduate.
  5. Students must pay the required graduation fee. Students are encouraged to participate in the graduation ceremony scheduled the first Tuesday evening after the last Saturday in April of each academic year. Students must notify the Vice President for Graduate Studies and the Director of Records if they choose not to participate. Students must pay the graduation fee whether they attend commencement or not.
  6. All graduate students must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in order to graduate from the program.

Transfer Students/Transfer Credit

Missouri Baptist University will accept up to six (6) transfer credits from another regionally accredited college or university for students entering the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Leadership degree program. Transfer credits must have been earned within the seven (7) years prior to entry into the Ed.D. Higher Education Leadership Program. Transfer credits must be approved by the Director of the Doctor of Education Program and must have grades of A, B, S, CR, or P.

Directed Studies

Courses in the Doctor of Education program are not available by directed study, as specified in the course description.

Grade Requirements

Doctoral level graduate students must earn a grade of B or better in doctoral level courses in order to continue in the Doctor of Education program. A student who receives a grade lower than B will be asked to withdraw from the doctoral program.

Research Requirements must comply with each course syllabus expectation along with the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Programs of Study

Doctor of Education