Fielding Graduate University


Fielding Graduate University – Doctor of Education – Community College Leadership and Change Concentration

 Community College Leadership & Change

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) expects a large turnover in leadership positions at community colleges. According to the American School Boards Association, 51% of Boards of Education at the community college level prefer hiring leaders with advanced degrees. With the Community College Leadership for Change concentration, you can focus your EdD on preparing for 21st century leadership roles in the unique community college environment.

This concentration addresses the most current issues in community colleges and builds your knowledge and skills as a scholar-practitioner. It allows you to position yourself as a credentialed community college leader based on the AACC leadership competencies.

Benefits of the Fielding program:
  • Complete the EdD and concentration within 3 years
  • Develop community college leadership skills and competencies
  • Learn from the experiences of others
  • Work in collaboration with faculty mentors and colleagues

The School of Educational Leadership for Change (ELC) is rooted in Fielding’s core values of reflective practice, scholarship, diversity, ethical conduct, social and economic justice, and collaboration to guide theory and practice. The goals of the Community College Leadership concentration are to prepare professionals of competence, conscience, and compassion, and to promote the common good as our students and alumni transform lives, colleges and communities.

Program Objectives:
  • Implement the leadership competencies as set by AACC.
  • Prepare professionals to work with those who have a variety of strengths, experiences, and challenges—those with diverse background and those in greatest need.
  • Engage in critical reflection and develop positive habits of mind.
  • Demonstrate mastery-level knowledge and skills in teaching, learning, and leadership.
  • Educate leaders sensitive to the ethical and social consequences of their decisions.
  • Promote social and economic justice in all programs and course work.

In addition to the required courses within the degree curriculum, the Community College Leadership for Change concentration curriculum consists of the following requirements:

  • ELC 747 The Community College
  • 4 additional electives with a focus on community college change or leadership topics
First Year Suggested Curriculum
  • ELC 699 Foundations of Doctoral Study, 4 credits
  • ELC 721 Critical Reading and Writing, 4 credits
  • ELC 722 Oral and Digital Communications, 4 credits
  • ELC 723 Writing Workshop, 4 credits
  • ELC 724 Systems Thinking, 4 credits
  • ELC 725 Structural Inequality and Diversity, 4 credits
  • ELC 727 Action Research Methods, 4 credits
  • ELC 728 Intro to Leadership for Change, 2 credits
  • ELC 729 Praxis, 8 credits
  • ELC 794 Dissertation in Progress, 0 credits
Second Year Suggested Curriculum
  • ELC 726 Theories of Change, 4 credits
  • ELC 747 The Community College, 4 credits
  • ELC 729 Praxis, 6 credits
  • 16 credits of electives from list below
Third Year Suggested Curriculum
  • ELC 795 Final Oral Review, 0 credits
  • ELC 799 Dissertation Completion, 16 credits

To view course descriptions, click on the hyperlinked course number/title below. Printing the page will print all course descriptions.

Required Courses

ELC-699 Foundations of Doctoral Study, 4 semester credits
New student orientation to the ELC doctoral program is an in-person session between in-coming classes and doctoral program faculty. At the orientation, the faculty works with you to: assess your academic readiness; evaluate your research, personal skills and learning resources; facilitate your understanding of Fielding's learning model and delivery method, set your academic and professional goals; and develop your support group of faculty and peers. At orientation, students choose a faculty mentor and begin work on their learning plan - a personal map through the learning process. The learning plan takes into account each student's previous academic accomplishments as well as personal, professional, and academic goals. It includes a preliminary outline for the action- oriented research project that will ultimately become a dissertation. The learning plan should be submitted for approval within 30 days after the conclusion of the in-person orientation. However, the learning plan is a living document that students and their faculty mentors review on a regular basis.
ELC-721 Critical Reading and Writing, 4 semester credits
Critical Reading and Writing is the first of three courses in the Effective Communications area. This course builds on your powers of observation, discernment, and intuition as existing competencies that can be used to help build bridges to new competencies necessary to your Fielding journey. Some of the new competencies include learning to write critical reviews, literature reviews, and argumentative essays. Maintaining and developing your voice as a scholar-practitioner who can effectively communicate with various audiences is a foundational goal for this course.
ELC-722 Oral and Digital Communications, 4 semester credits
Oral And Digital Communication is the second of the three courses in the Effective Communications Learning Area. The overall goal for this course is to use your existing communication skills to help you make effective presentations. We will do this by helping you identify your strengths as a communicator and by helping you identify your learning style(s). These two activities will be a basis to select authoring software to make effective presentations. Our focus on presentations is intended to move you more fully into the realm of being an authentic information and knowledge producer as opposed to being only or primarily an information consumer.
ELC-723 Writing Workshop, 4 semester credits
The Writing Workshop is the third of the three courses in the Effective Communication area. Through your work in Critical Reading and Writing and in Oral and Digital, you have had an opportunity to identify and build on your strengths as an effective communicator. The Writing Workshop provides you an opportunity to focus those strengths to develop an effective dissertation proposal. The Writing Workshop does not take the place of your dissertation committee.
ELC-724 Systems Thinking, 4 semester credits
The Systems Thinking course is one of the four required courses in the Approaches to Inquiry Learning Area. Systems Thinking is the process of understanding how things influence each other within a whole. This definition allows us to see System Thinking as both a common-sense proposition that we all employ in our day-to-day lives, and it also suggests how Systems Thinking can help us understand and change complicated systems such as classrooms, schools, business, community, and political organizations. This course explores key Systems Thinking principles, approaches, and theorists. You will also be introduced to examples of how Systems Thinking has been applied by some organizations and individuals to make change.
ELC-725 Structural Inequality and Diversity, 4 semester credits
Structural Inequality and Diversity (SID) is one of the four courses in the Approaches to Inquiry Learning Area. This course introduces you to various schools of thought on issues concerning race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, language, class, and other forms of difference that have been reified as structures of inequality. The focus of this course is on how systems of oppression have been created, how they work to be self-perpetuating, and how some members of historically marginalized groups have proposed ending structural inequalities.
ELC-726 Theories of Change, 4 semester credits
Theories of Change is one of the four courses in the Approaches to Inquiry Learning Area. This course introduces you to ways to understand “change” as a dynamic process that results from both planned and unplanned activity. With this framework in mind, our focus will be to explore how change unfolds in a variety of institutional expressions like education, the media, community, and political organizations, as well as other behavior shaping institutions. Still within this framework, an organizing focus of our work together will be to explore the role of leadership in creating effective change.
ELC-727 Overview of Action Research Methods, 4 semester credits
Overview of Action Research Methods is one of the four courses in the Approaches to Inquiry Learning Area. This course is an introduction to the assumptions of qualitative, quantitative, and other research methods that are intended to support effective change. The overriding purpose of this course is to help you see relationships between the kind of research and/or change question you pose and the kind of method(s) you choose to answer that question and / or to arrive at a formula for change.
ELC-728 Introduction to Leadership for Change, 2 semester credits
In this seminar, you will review the intended outcomes for the Leadership for Change portion of the doctoral curriculum. You will be introduced to available communities of practice, and you will have the opportunity to investigate and propose additional communities that match your interests and goals. You will read some foundational texts, self-assess your level of skill in key areas, and develop a plan of action for moving forward to critique with your Mentor. This introductory seminar is a prerequisite for any further work in the Leadership for Change Praxis courses.
ELC-729 Leadership for Change Praxis, 1-10 semester credits
This part of the curriculum affords you the opportunity to extend and deepen involvement in one or more change efforts as well as reflecting upon your experiences more deeply so as to increase your effectiveness. You may do work which involves face-to-face work in a setting or in virtual communities. You may involve yourself in existing and ongoing projects or organize something new. You may wish to coordinate work for this course with elective or required courses or to align it with your dissertation plans. The projects in which you get involved are opportunities for you: to develop new skills, to deepen current skills, to test out theories which you are exploring, to develop new theories out of the experiences you are having, to collaborate with others within and outside of ELC and Fielding, and to make a difference in the environments that matter to you about the issues that concern you most. Provided that you have completed the Introductory Seminar, you may complete this work at any point in your program. This is a repeatable course.
Pre-requisites: ELC-728
ELC-747 The Community College, 4 semester credits
Study of community colleges as a major segment of American and global higher education. The study of the community college covers reflective study of its history, evolution, context and leadership, including the study of the vision. This includes understanding local environments, open access to diverse populations, the nature of associate degrees, certificates, occupational education and community service. Also, the study of the community college includes examining the nature of its national network, the nature of this uniquely American contribution to higher education, its governance, administrative, curricular, professional, and programmatic dimensions, including best practices, concepts and trends.
ELC-794 Dissertation in Progress, Credit/No Credit, 0 semester credits
This course signifies the student has begun work on the dissertation, including an approved concept paper and full committee membership.
ELC-795 Final Oral Review of Dissertation, Credit/No Credit, 0 semester credits
Signifies completion of the public defense of the dissertation.
ELC-799 Dissertation Completion, 16 semester credits
Completion of this course signifies the student has submitted a final copy of the approved dissertation for proofreading.

Elective Courses

ELC-730 Area of Specialization, 4 semester credits
Students designate an area in which they have a special interest or expertise for this course. It can be used to acquire new knowledge or to deepen existing knowledge in a specific area in which students expect to build or advance professional careers.
ELC-731 Area of Research Specialization, 4 semester credits
Students designate a specific research practice (culture and methodology) as a topic they wish to study. A faculty member with expertise in the chosen methodology works with the student to design a full course of study including overview, depth and applied sections guiding the student to explore and practice the research methodology chosen.
ELC-741 Ethics, Education, and Law, 4 semester credits
Educational law and morality. This course examines theories of law and its relationship to social and ethical values. Students explore how leaders can help others working through moral dilemmas associated with the law.
ELC-743 Public Policy and Practice, 4 semester credits
Understanding literature that focuses on public policy, pedagogy, and leadership. This course covers contemporary urban educational reform movements, related policy issues, and the role of major players in setting policy. Students evaluate the effects of policy on change in public education and other settings.
ELC-746 Budget and Finance, 4 semester credits
Students learn how to lead educational financing and understand budgets at every level: department, school, district/institution and state/federal. This course includes school finance, aspects of school business administration and legal issues.
ELC-787 Redefining Curriculum, 4 semester credits
Curriculum planning, implementation and evaluation. This course explores how to meet the needs of a diverse learning community. Students become familiar with current movements in curriculum; appropriate use of technology; hands-on and theoretical aspects of redefining curriculum; and the roles of staff, parents, students and community.
Harriett J. Robles

What are people saying?

"California’s community college system is among the largest systems of public higher education in the world. Add to that figure the community colleges in other states—and now in other countries—and it is apparent that community colleges are key to the goal of accessible higher education for all students. Providing leadership to these incredibly diverse and complex institutions is an enormous challenge and requires knowledge and a skill set that reflects the unique mission of community colleges."

-Harriett J. Robles, EdD, Alumna
President Emeritus
Mission College

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