Missouri Baptist University 2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin 
    Sep 21, 2021  
Missouri Baptist University 2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Higher Education Leadership, Ed.D.

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CIP Code: 13.0406

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 School of Education’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 primary audience for the Ed.D. program consists of educational professionals who aspire to be or who are already serving as vice presidents, deans, department chairs, faculty, and administrative staff, although there may be some interest from other staff as well.  These individuals must have completed a master’s degree. 


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

  • Leadership in higher education 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 culminating 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 School of Education’s Conceptual Framework).

These themes reflect the goals of the Ed.D. program. The program prepares leaders 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, problem-solving, 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.

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. Students who take longer than two and a half years will be required to enroll in a zero credit hour extenstion with a fee the equivalent to one credit hour for each 12-week term beyond the tenth quarter in the program.  It is expected students will begin the process of the dissertation with the appointment of a Doctoral Committee Chair near the end of the third quarter in the program.  The study must be completed within five years after admission into the program.  


Students are required to attend one 3-day professional residency on Missouri Baptist University’s main campus in St. Louis, MO.  The purpose of the residency is to provide doctoral students with supported and continued participation with cohort members and faculty in activities that drive intellectual and creative inquiry.  An expected outcome of the residency is that students will acquire new skills and knowledge to refine their dissertation design, strengthen their research techniques, and develop their leadership principles. 


Assessment of the growth of the Ed.D. student will be ongoing, multi-faceted, and in the form of course-embedded assessments 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 Application 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 normally 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), Seventh Edition, will be followed. The research study must include a well-formulated statement of the 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.

If students are not able to complete the dissertation within the coursework, students will be given two free research terms that run consecutively. If the dissertation is still not completed after the two free research terms, the student will enroll in a zero credit hour extension each quarter with a fee equivalent to no credit hour.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee approves the dissertation proposal and the Proposal Research Application before it goes to the Proposal Research Application 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 two members: a committee chair and one committee member. 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 Associate Vice President for Graduate Affairs or his/her designee. The full committee is selected by the end of the third quarter. The committee members will have completed an earned Ed.D. or Ph.D.  One external committee member may be selected, assuming such individuals meet the requirements for working with doctoral-level students. The committee chair and committee member must be approved in advance by the Associate Vice President for Graduate Affairs 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.

After completing the dissertation, submitting the final written paper, and gaining final approval of the study from the dissertation committee, and final readers, the student will defend the research study and conclusions before the dissertation 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 higher education leadership.

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. If the oral defense is approved, the Committee signs the Report of the Dissertation Defense form.  If the oral defense is not approved, the student will continue to work with the Committee and may schedule a second and final Oral Defense. The final approved draft will be submitted to the Associate Vice President for Graduate Affairs for final administrative approval, and, if approved, the student will receive notification from the Associate 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 Associate Vice President for Graduate Affairs, 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. For doctoral students to be considered eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies, the student must submit the committee approved final dissertation to the Ed.D. office by January 31, to start the final steps of the dissertation.
  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 Associate Vice President for Graduate Affairs 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).

Program Requirements

The Ed.D. program in Higher Education Leadership requires a total of 45 hours beyond the master’s degree. This includes Statistics and Methods I  or its equivalent, if taken within the last seven years. This prerequisite may be met by an equivalent course at another institution.



†Most students will be able to satisfy the requirement for Methods of Inquiry I with previous coursework.

Total: 42-45 Hours

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