Board of Regents approves Doctorate of Education program to start fall 2019

Faculty News
By Jill O'Brien

School of Education faculty discuss plans for the new Ed.D. degree program curriculum. Pictured from left are Anita Micich Zoe Thornton Lorenzo Baber Erin Doran and Douglas Wieczorek. Photo by Ryan Riley

The Iowa Board of Regents has approved the proposed Doctorate of Education program in the School of Education.

The newly approved, 54-credit program aims to prepare educational leaders who can support educational opportunities for all students in education systems from preschool through doctoral education, or “P-20” education. Students who complete the program will be prepared to work as superintendents in preK-12 school districts and as leaders at community colleges or state departments of education as well as in other educational development agencies, such as 4-H and education-centered community non-profit organizations. The degree program will offer two professional tracks so students will focus specifically on community college leadership or on more broadly on P-20 systems-level leadership, according to the official program request.

School of Education faculty members who prepare teachers and leaders to work in higher education and their colleagues who prepare professionals to work in preschools through senior high schools worked together to design the new Ed.D. program.

“The Ed.D program allows us to extend our long-standing commitment to preparing community college leaders while recalibrating the academic experience towards a scholar-practitioner model fully grounded in educational equity,” said Lorenzo Baber, associate professor and division head of higher education in the School of Education. “The collaboration with our colleagues in the division of teaching, learning, leadership and policy represents a movement away from traditional silos in education and towards an integrated P-20 vision.”

Isaac Gottesman, associate professor and division head of teaching, learning, leadership and policy in the School of Education, said “the new degree will enable us to prepare educational leaders who think in systematic ways about the entire P-20 continuum, including the extremely important transitions from P-12 to post-secondary education that often get lost when P-12 and higher education are thought about separately.”

The Doctorate of Education program will be a “cohort-based” program, where program participants will study as a group throughout the three-year, eight-semester degree program. The cohort model is designed to promote a shared learning experience for students, foster development of their professional networks, and encourage dialogue among the emerging leaders that cross arbitrary segmentation within the educational system. Students will also study over two summers. They will finish by writing a dissertation that addresses a “complex problem of practice” within the field of education.

“Building leaders that have knowledge and networks across educational systems has the potential to transform student experiences, institutions, and communities,” Baber said. “This is an exciting development not just for Iowa State University, but for the future of public education across the state and region.” 

“The Ed.D. is a renewal of ISU’s commitment to leading the state and region in the preparation of the next generation of educational leaders,” Gottesman said.

The first cohort will start classes in August 2019. Information about application for the program and deadlines will be available on the School of Education website by Monday, December 3, 2018.

Key contacts

Marlene Strathe, director, School of Education, 515-294-2336,
Lorenzo Baber, associate professor and head of the higher education division in the School of Education, 515-294-8374,
Isaac Gottesman, associate professor and head of the teaching, learning, leadership, and policy division in the School of Education, 515-294-0438,
Cathy Curtis, communications director, College of Human Sciences, 515-294-8175,
Jill O’Brien, communications assistant, College of Human Sciences,

By Jill O'Brien