Frequently Asked Questions

What is an EdD in Leadership at William Paterson University?

This degree is a research-based doctorate that affords students the opportunity to conduct in-depth research on a topic of personal or professional interest, within the realm of leadership and with a specific focus on social justice leadership.  To complete a doctoral program in three years, two years are devoted to coursework and the third year is devoted to working independently on the dissertation.  Students in this program are engaged in full-time study -- seven credits or two courses in each fall and spring semester, and five credits during the summer semester.  To be successful, students must be prepared to devote the time and energy required of doctoral-level study and to commit to the demands of this endeavor.

The fall and spring semesters follow a traditional 14-week semester format, and students take two courses simultaneously. In the summer, the semester is shortened to seven weeks and includes a multi-day residency program.  The courses are taught in a hybrid format: classes meet face-to-face three times each semester, and all of the other coursework is completed online. The workload is intense, so special attention must be paid to the work that is expected for each course.

Doctoral work is the most rigorous, intensive study that one can undertake, but it is also the most rewarding. Not only will students become specialists in the broad area of organizational leadership, but also as experts in a particular field of interest and inquiry. To develop that expertise, students must go beyond readings and activities assigned in class and dive deep into the scholarly research and literature on their area of interest. Program faculty will guide students through this exploration, but the actual work falls to the students.

What differentiates the EdD in Leadership from a traditional EdD in Educational Leadership?

The EdD in Leadership at William Paterson University focuses on leadership as a broad construct, beyond a school or college setting. Students will be engaged in research on leadership from the full spectrum of areas, including but not limited to education, for-profit concerns, social service and health care providers, government, and faith-based initiatives.  The goal of this program is to view leadership from a macro-perspective, whereas a traditional EdD in Educational Leadership tends to focus on school/college leadership from a micro-perspective. We believe that good leadership transcends organizational boundaries, and our graduates will have a broad base of knowledge and skills on which to  draw when they move into executive level positions.

What is social justice leadership, and why is it so important?

By intention and design, the EdD in Leadership has at its core the commitment to promoting equity, fairness, and social justice in the workplace, and by extension, in society. The curriculum is deliberate in its approach to developing social justice leaders who will be change-agents in their respective career fields.

How will social justice leadership be integrated into the coursework and into my dissertation?

From day one of the program, doctoral candidates will engage in guided introspection around their own personal philosophies and beliefs as they relate to leadership -- and the values they bring to the notion of leading others. It is through this introspection that candidates will take the first steps in recognizing both the strengths they bring to leadership positions, but also examine areas that they need to develop in order to become better leaders—and particularly social justice leaders.

It is expected that those who seek admission to this program will articulate a personal area of research interest within the broad umbrella of leadership at time of acceptance. Part of the admission process will focus on that research interest.  Although the dissertation topic may evolve over time, it is important that candidates have thoughtfully considered areas of interest that relate to leadership—and how their research might promote equity and fairness in the workplace.

We also expect doctoral candidates to be active in their communities, to model behaviors and to develop policies and processes that foster social justice outside of their work environments.