Understand how to contribute more significantly to your profession in our collaborative learning environment.
There is an increasing emphasis on doctoral programs that leverage learning related to actual work activities, and practitioner expertise in the specific situations of employees and organizations. If you are an advanced practitioner currently working in a nonprofit, public sector or service organizations, or in higher education (teaching or administration), and seek to develop skill sets that will help to prepare you for a new or expanded role in that field, this program may be for you. Our degree will help to prepare you to contribute more broadly to your profession — in theory and in practice — with special attention to making a significant contributions to advancing your field, leveraging both your substantive professional experience and your eagerness to learn and grow as a professional.
The program is organized around a core of leadership and research courses in your concentration, serving professionals the nonprofit, and public sectors or governmental organizations, and in higher education administration and student services It is geared toward those interested in the nonprofit, and public sectors or governmental organizations, and in higher education administration and student services.
We employ a student-centered, inquiry-driven, and problem-oriented approach.
Student-Centered: Learners bring to the program a general area of interest in which to ground their studies. We work with individuals to shape and examine a particular interest as it relates to organizational leadership in one’s life.
Inquiry-Driven: Learners are expected to use a learning model that emphasizes question-asking and synthesis rather than knowledge acquisition and the mere accumulation of facts. The topic of interest brought to the program is explored systematically, thoughtfully, and deeply under the guidance of faculty members who share a vision of graduate education.
Problem-Oriented: Topics are typically grounded in the lived experiences of real people in a real place. We do not ask the learner to apply theory to cases alone, but to the lived experience as well. Success in this approach to learning is established early with the idea that problems are opportunities where learning can occur. In this sense, a problem is the difference between what is and what should be.
Learn More About This Program
Shenandoah University seeks to create and leverage an intentional learning community. The cohort functions as an intellectual collaborative vs. a task-oriented work group. In our program, diversity and divergence of composition and perspective is critical to developing the ability to think well about problems, issues and theories. The university values the process of instruction (learning to learn) over the end product of education (learning facts). We implement the standards for professional practice in a learner-centered environment research has identified to be successful.
Shenandoah University's School of Education & Human Development prepares practitioner-leaders by offering programs of study that conform to the following principles: practicing in a spirit of collaboration; thoughtful examination of the foundations, current contexts and future possibilities of the fields of study; encouraging proactive, problem-centered philosophies of educational and professional practice; producing graduates who will be knowledge-driven, competent decision-makers whose thinking is informed by reflective practice; and preparing caring, capable and reflective teachers, administrators, human services and public sectors practitioners.
Career and Salary Possibilities
Outcomes may include contributing to projects that have a direct impact on identifying emerging issues in the profession, issues of policy and programming, and the skills to develop change initiatives, find solutions to workplace problems and the needs to shift organizational strategy.
Most of our students come from human services, public sector, higher education student services, public safety/security, and nontraditional developmental programs and organizations. Our ability to draw from a range of courses from all academic units within the university allows us to frame a body of knowledge that is inter- and trans-disciplinary, leading to unique approaches to programming and organizing services in nonprofit and public sector organizations.
Our program prepares you to develop innovative approaches to achieving the missions of your workplace, and enabling thoughtful responses to social change in innovative ways.
Our program is unique in providing direct benefits to both employees and organizations.
The design flexibility in your concentration courses allows for optimal learning in your specific area of interest, leveraging your professional expertise to encourage linkages to theory and reflective practice.
You will be well prepared across essential skill s expected of those studying at the doctoral level, within a chosen field of practice. You will advance your knowledge on a foundation of critical thinking, social analysis, evidence-based practices, professional and social ethics and organizational and leadership theory. With research and structured learning as defining characteristics of the program, you will have the knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, authoritative judgment, adaptability and responsiveness in your professional practice.
Our cohort program is designed to help you to make significant contribution to your profession: you can serve others by sharing your professional experiences and perspectives wit others, while tying those experiences to theory and scholarship in areas relevant to advanced study in ethical leadership (not “management”) and scholarly inquiry into the relationships among human, social, and structural aspects of the organizational environment and to policy and decision-making. We encourage you to create original knowledge for professional use through research and projects undertaken during the program.
The dissertation is theory-driven and is expected to contribute broadly and significantly to your profession both in theory and practice. The dissertation reflects the application of theory to practice at a level expected of an academic doctoral program.
The Doctor of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership is a 66-credit program.
Leadership: Theory and Application Societal Factors
Organizational Theory and Behavior
Governance & Public Policy Contemporary Issues
Introduction to Research Literacy Advanced Research Methods
Quantitative Research Design and Data Analysis Advanced Quantitative Research Design and Data Analysis
Quantitative Proposal & Pilot
Qualitative Proposal & Pilot
Individualized Concentration (18 credits total)
Electives (12 credits)
Directed Study (6 credits)
Dissertation (15 credits minimum)
Our accomplished and caring faculty serve as mentors beyond the classroom. As a team, they prepare you to serve as a compassionate educator, critical thinker and ethical leader. You’ll benefit from small class sizes that enable faculty members to provide individualized attention and nurture your academic and professional development.