Be the person others look to for ideas, insights, and solutions.

When you know something well, you’re one of many. When you know something inside and out, like the back of your hand—you’re the one people think of first. But that only matters if the guidance you provide comes from a place of confidence, compassion, and conviction. For a principal, a superintendent, or even a leader in non-educational settings, one of the most esteemed and effective ways to strengthen the skills you already have and be a leader who can genuinely connect with others is to earn an EdD in Administrative Leadership.

Concordia’s EdD specialization in Administrative Leadership is designed to provide current administrators with additional knowledge and expertise to positively impact the school, district, or organization in which they work. In addition to developing their executive leadership traits in critical thinking, informed decision-making, and more, candidates are charged with applying innovation to sustained critical issues and completing dissertations that directly relate to their careers.

Through intensive curricula, scholarly discussions, and a nurturing faculty of highly regarded instructors, our EdD program produces leaders who inspire ethical change. Each of our five fully online, leadership-focused specializations incorporates a unique Virtual Residency component, follows a four-phase schedule of eight-week classes and is limited in class size to support quality and collaboration. Accredited, nonprofit, and private, Concordia has been developing leaders since 1905.


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100% online
100% online with a Virtual Residency
Innovative four-phase schedule with built-in breaks
Updated curriculum
Current and relevant curriculum
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Concordia is one of the most respected names in learning today
Time to completion
42-month time to completion (minimum)
10,000 alumni
Over 10,000 College of Education alumni
Faith-based university
Nonprofit, private, and faith-based university


EdD in Administrative Leadership Specialization Objectives

In addition to meeting the goals and objectives set forth for Concordia’s doctoral program, the Administrative Leadership specialization develops transformative leaders who:

  • Exhibit executive leadership traits like critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and informed decision-making
  • Understand the principles of effectively leading a learning community across diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and linguistic barriers
  • Demonstrate an ability to embrace the often chaotic nature of education management and discover solutions “in the whitewater”
  • Engage in democratic participation to reframe the discourse and forces that influence the policies and practices of the American education
  • Translate scholarly research and analysis into meaningful action
  • Foster an organizational culture of accountability and transparency that encourages curiosity, creativity, and entrepreneurship at every level

The Administrative Leadership specialization is ideal for:

Chief executives, superintendents, high-level non-school managers, supervisors, owners of NGOs, leaders of organizations formed to administer school functions, program administrators, organizational officers, department heads, law enforcement administrators, health care administrators, and certainly experienced and licensed principals with at least 3 years administrative experience.

The EdD in Administrative Leadership follows a four-phase schedule.

Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Core Courses
EDDC 600 A&B / EDDC 602 A&B / EDDC 603 A&B (0.5)
Nine Lives of Scholarly Writing I, II, III

This course provides opportunities for doctoral candidates to develop and refine their scholarly writing during the first year of the education doctorate in order to become stronger writers during and beyond their academic career. Writing craft development occurs through peer writing groups, close study of published texts, and interaction with faculty writers. Course topics include writing article abstracts and analyses, critiques, and literature surveys. Strategies for reading critically, organizing and developing thoughts, choosing appropriate vocabulary, and revising one's own writing are also covered. Candidates write and revise various genre of scholarly writing throughout the year-long series, culminating in a revised draft of the first Comprehensive Connection Paper.

EDDC 605 (3)
Transformational Learning
Based on the view that an individual's beliefs influence his or her actions in powerful ways, this course encourages candidates to reframe their world-view to move away from knowledge transmission towards transformational learning. Candidates will deconstruct conformity to social and cultural canons which have permeated U.S. public schools to a negative effect. They will examine theories that are meant to catalyze social transformation and individual change, and develop their own theory and practice of transformative learning for social change.
EDDC 608 (3)
Quantitative Research Methods
This course helps beginning educational researchers balance the competing demands of formal experimental and survey design principles with the ever-present practical constraints of the real world so that they can conduct sound quantitative research. Emphasis will be placed on formulating research questions, identifying relevant target populations, selecting respondents for study, refining definitions of the effects of interest, identifying relevant comparisons, selecting appropriate measures, including descriptive, inferential, and probability statistics, determining how many subjects to study, taking advantage of the results of previous research and pilot studies, and anticipating the unanticipated. The quantitative research designs of survey, correlation, causal-comparative, and comparative will be examined.
EDDC 611 (3)
Qualitative Research Methods
The goal of this course is to examine inquiry from a relativistic, but systematic, way of knowing. Candidates will apply qualitative research principles through coherent study of the established methodological designs of narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study. The issues of alternative knowledge claims, validity or trustworthiness, in-depth field work, and data collection and analysis will be examined through these six strategies of inquiry.
EDDC 615 (3)
The Ethical Educator

This course is grounded in the belief that it is the responsibility of educators to employ ethical practice in the daily activities of their personal and professional lives. Educators must also ensure that the institutional policies and practices of their school or organization adhere to the application of ethical practice throughout the workplace. The course will emphasize human subjects research issues of harm and deception. This study of the use of ethical principles in an educational context will include an examination of the underlying assumptions and implicit or explicit policies that can support or erode ethical practice. As a result of the activities and discussions completed in this course, candidates will have the opportunity to transform their personal and professional ethical lives and priorities.

EDDC 618 (3)
Leading Organizational Change
This course focuses on helping learners internalize the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values necessary for facilitating organizational improvement in schools and colleges. In particular, it zeros in on the theory and technology of Organizational Development (OD), and the "what, why, and how" of planned change in diverse educational settings from pre-school to graduate school. Additionally, the course content is undergirded by person-centered values, democratic leadership skills, as well as the ideology of service-management, and is aimed at facilitating excellence in student-centered teaching and learning.
EDDC 620 (3)
Creativity, Inquiry, and Innovation
This course emphasizes the need for organizations to foster an environment where creativity, inventiveness, and entrepreneurship are expectations in the culture. Topics are investigated through popular literature and case studies of individuals who have made significant break-through contributions in the areas of science, music, art, and business. The course will address such questions as "What is the essence of creative work? Can creativity be learned? How critical is it for organizations and leaders to innovate? What conditions are necessary in the workplace to foster an environment where creativity, experimentation, and innovation are welcomed? Who determines what is creative and what is not? Why is innovation more likely found in the commercial and nonprofit sector rather than schools?" Lastly, the course hopes to tap the creative potential within all of us and illustrate its value for our own growth as well as the health of the organization.
EDDT 653 (4)
Religion and Dense Meaning: Parables
This course explores the nature of sacred texts used by practitioners of religion. Because most sacred texts were developed prior to widespread literacy and printing technologies, they require specific reading skills, particularly in extracting practical meaning from densely written texts. Focusing on the Parables of Christ, this course both explores the content of these parables and appropriate reading/ interpretation of these foundational texts.
EDDT 654 (4)
Religion and Extremism
Throughout history, religion has motivated self-sacrifice on behalf of a greater cause. In this course, candidates will study the scriptures, doctrines, and historical contexts that have inspired such movements and actions of extremism and gain an understanding of the power of religion. They will also develop skills in helping students recognize and deal with these influences in their lives and communities.
EDDT 652 (4)
Religion in the Modern World

This seminar investigates the interface of religion and contemporary society through fundamental questions about the meaning of life, the reality of God, and truth and values to live by in a postmodern context. The candidate will examine critically his/her own beliefs and values in the light of popular assumptions and prevalent attitudes in our time, and the deeper questions of life that are addressed by various religious approaches.

EDDR 610 & 619 (2)
Scholars Before Researchers I & II

Scholars Before Researchers I and II are courses taken back-to-back in Phase III. The classes are devoted to researching and drafting Chapter Two of the dissertation proposal. Course topics include an overview of the literature review process, advanced library research techniques, and methods of organizing and managing the literature. Students will leave the course with a completed draft of their dissertation literature review. The course is taught by the Faculty Chair who is involved in the process from topic formulation to proposal defense.

EDDR 620 & 621 (2)
Intense Research Module I & II

The Intense Research Module (IRM) I and II courses assist the candidate in developing the research design and the methods that are employed in the Phase IV research field experience. One intense research module content area is completed in each course to support the development of the dissertation’s research design.

Prerequisites: EDDR 610 & EDDR 619 with grade of P

Content Areas:

  • Case Study, Narrative, and Action Research
  • Correlational, Causal-Comparative, Including Ex Post Facto Research
  • Descriptive or Survey Research
  • Experimental Research
  • Phenomenological and Ethnographic Research
  • Policy Research
  • Program Evaluation Research
EDDR 697 (2)
Proposal Development

This course is designed to assist doctoral candidates in completing their dissertation proposals and prepares candidates to defend a dissertation proposal before their dissertation committee. The course continues the Phase III emphasis on developing Scholars Before Researchers by guiding candidates to develop professional writing, research, and presentation skills. Candidates’ Faculty Chairs will instruct, mentor, and advise candidates as they: revise Chapters 2 and 3 of the proposal, write the Chapter 1: Introduction, and then synthesize the full proposal in order to ensure it is defense-worthy. The full dissertation committee will provide input, critique, and support during the development and defense process.

EdD - Administrative Leadership Courses
18 credits
EDDA 615 (3)
Global Issues in Policy, Planning, and Leadership

This course focuses on learning and its connections to the organizations, institutions, and policy settings in which it occurs. It focuses on the role that leaders play in constructing, guiding, and improving learning in educational organizations through planning and policy decisions. The intent is to develop researchers and practitioners whose main interest is the development of knowledge useful to the improvement of learning in educational organizations through the systematic application of research and theory to practice.

EDDA 619 (3)
Navigating the Permanent Whitewater

Permanent white water consists of organizational events that are surprising, novel, messy, costly, and often unpreventable. Educational leaders are concerned with the subjective feel of these events as much as their objective existence. Experienced executives and others in organizations perceive that what they are trying to do is becoming more complex, problematic, and contingent. In permanent white water, leadership is usually exploration and discovery. Organizational members are constantly on process frontiers, where they must find ways of doing something they have never done before yet where there is little precedent to guide them. The feeling of 'playing a whole new ball game' thoroughly pervades organizational life. This means that beyond all of the other new skills and attitudes that permanent white water requires, people have to be extremely effective learners.

EDDA 628 (3)
Leading Across Cultures and Communities

Leading across cultures and communities involves a range of increasingly complex issues - the shifts in cultural practices and racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity and the implications of these shifts for fostering learning in educational learning communities. Consideration of the factors that put children at a disadvantage, as well as investigating specific family, community, and cultural assets that support high levels of academic, social, and moral development in effective schools are examined. The course prepares candidates to investigate these issues from the individual, school, neighborhood, and community levels in which schools live and operate, as well as the national and international levels where cross-cultural concerns, globalization, immigration, multiculturalism, and citizenship play an increasingly important role.

EDDA 629 (3)
Pursuing Teacher Quality: Policy and Practice
Pursuing Teacher Quality explores the political and social calls for accountability in public schools that have led policymakers at all levels to seek ways to improve the quality of teaching. Teacher effectiveness has become a prominent component of many school reform efforts from the highly qualified teacher requirement of NCLB to the Common Core Standards and the renewed interest in merit pay. This course will examine the research base and seminal authors and reports, defining policy, evidence of implementation, and evaluative practices of current efforts meant to improve teacher quality.
EDDA 638 (3)
Taking on the System: People, Power, and Politics
Education is inherently political. The experience of schooling is aimed at educational achievement as a key to the economic success of individuals and groups. This course examines the politics of education. It considers how institutions such as school boards, legislators, and political leaders interact and react to constituents such as parents, advocates, the media, and the general public, shaping schooling and the consequences for students. Past conflicts over education governance, ongoing policy debates, and the forces shaping current reform efforts will be topics of the course, examined through the twin lens of political science and educational policy.
EDDA 644 (3)
Mentoring, Sustaining, and Leaving a Legacy
Great leaders - whether they lead entire organizations or groups within them - leave a legacy that transcends them and cements their contribution to the growth and transformation of their organization. As leaders, whether we realize it or not, we are leaving a legacy with the decisions we make and the actions we take. Our legacy is revealed in how others who work with us, for us, and beside us feel and think about us as a result of having been in our presence. A culture has been created where visible and accountability systems drive clarity, connectivity, and consistency throughout the organization. There are expectations of engagement, production, and satisfaction. Others are inspired to grow, to develop, and to excel. Cultivate qualities that live on in sustainable performance systems because legacy matters.
Students Will Choose Two of the Following Seven Intense Research Module Options:
4 credits
EDDR 639 (2)
Intense Research Module: Descriptive or Survey
Descriptive or survey research involves collecting data to describe conditions, test hypotheses, or to answer questions about people's opinions on some topic or issue. It is particularly useful to quantify dispositions and as a quantifying complement in a mixed-method design.
EDDR 649 (2)
Intense Research Module: Experimental Research
"When well conducted, experimental students produce the soundest evidence concerning cause-effect relations" (Gay, et al. 2013, p. 251). The focus of this course is on Quantitative Methods of Experimental Research. The goal of the course is for students to understand and demonstrate the value of Experimental Research in Education and the Social Sciences. Students will propose an Experimental Design, conduct a pilot study, and evaluate the outcome of the study.
EDDR 650 (2)
Intense Research Module: Correlational, Causal-Comparative, Including Ex Post Facto
This course covers two non-experimental quantitative research designs: correlational and causal-comparative, including ex post facto. Correlational research involves collecting data to determine whether, and to what degree, a relationship exists between two or more quantifiable variables while in causal-comparative research the researcher attempts to determine the cause or reason, for existing differences, or that have occurred in the past, in the behavior or status of groups or individuals.
EDDR 661 (2)
Intense Research Module: Policy
Policy research determines which of various alternative policies will best achieve a given set of goals. It may be descriptive, analytical, or focus on causal processes and explanations, evaluating existing or new policy, describe best practice, measure social change, or develop projections.
EDDR 692 (2)
Intense Research Module: Program Evaluation
Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies, and programs. Questions may focus on effectiveness, improvement, or alternatives and usually examine the relationship between current practice and a set criteria, desired outcomes, or aspirations.
EDDR 663 (2)
Intense Research Module: Qualitative Case Study, Narrative, and Action Research
This course is designed to provide educational leaders with an in-depth study of the practical and applied research designs of case study, narrative, and action research, focusing on single or multiple case bounded systems, context sensitivity, multiple triangulated data sources, and data analysis. Candidates will begin writing the methodology section of the dissertation proposal.
EDDR 670 (2)
Intense Research Module: Qualitative Phenomenological, Ethnographic
The focus of this course is on two specific methods of qualitative research: Phenomenology and Ethnography. The goal of the course is for students to understand and distinguish between each of these methods and then conduct a preliminary study choosing either Phenomenological or Ethnographic research methods.
Doctorate of Education (EdD) - Dissertation
1 credits
EDDR 698 (1.5)

The dissertation is a scholarly document intended to demonstrate the research competence of the author and to produce greater understanding. It is written in the formal language and style of its discipline or field of study, and it results from a comprehensive, logical, and ethical investigation. The dissertation is an expression of the highest level of critical thought and is expected to be a substantive contribution to the theory or practice of its discipline or field of study.

Candidates are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits of dissertation.

** Extended Dissertation Opportunity

Should you need more time than the allotted two semesters to complete your dissertation, you may register for an additional eight weeks (1.5 credits; not eligible for financial aid) or, if necessary, an extra semester (3 credits; financial aid may be available).

I’ve found that school is not designed to take over your life, it’s designed to be that missing puzzle piece in your life.
TYSON CLYBURN, EdD Transformational Leadership

Concordia University's Virtual Residency Advantage

With our EdD program’s innovative Virtual Residency feature, you’re able to earn your EdD in Administrative Leadership completely online — without having to sacrifice time away from your family, work, and other obligations.


What’s a Virtual Residency?

The focal point of any doctoral program is the residency. Since Concordia Portland’s online EdD is aimed at the practitioner-scholar who already balances career, family, and other responsibilities, we designed a doctoral residency that can be completed anywhere, anytime, and completely online.


How does the Virtual Residency work?

  • It utilizes an orientation module to introduce new doctoral candidates to a rigorous course of study and identifies resources needed to engage fully in the doctoral experience
  • It employs the cohort model to generate a source of sustained collaboration and support among peers
  • It provides interactive group projects designed to build community, cooperation, and creativity
  • It provides networking opportunities embedded in proposal and dissertation development, which creates pride, fellowship, and esprit de corps with faculty, dissertation chairs, and fellow students in a cohort

“It appears clear that one of the main reasons almost 50 percent of students don’t finish their doctoral work is that they don’t have adequate support,” says Dr. Jerry McGuire, Emeritus Professor and former Director of Doctoral Studies at Concordia University-Portland.

As part of our Virtual Residency, students have a rich and expansive support system; they’re linked to mentors who can guide them throughout the program and the doctoral dissertation process.