SFA has established its first online Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership as part of the James I. Perkins College of Education.

“Completing a degree online allows a candidate to work independently - and practice independence skills,” Barbara Qualls, assistant professor and program director in the educational leadership department said.  “It also allows significant savings of time and money when there are extraneous expenses of travel, food [and] maybe lodging.”

The program features 66 hours of curriculum taught using a cohort design with collegial support. Participants can specialize in specific content areas to become institutional and agency researchers, curriculum specialists and K-12 leaders, among other roles.

“With extensive use of the many technological advances in online learning, the quality of curriculum and the whole educational experience is equivalent to an onsite program, with much less time [and] dollar investment,” Qualls said.

The Doctor of Education in educational leadership prepares K-12 and higher education leaders to address population growth issues, cultural diversity, policy analysis and design, problem-solving and the change process through content-specific coursework and summer field-based leadership internships.

“An online program allows us to meet students where they are,” Stacy Hendricks, associate dean of the College of Education said. “In the educational leadership doctoral program, our students are working full time professionals, so offering an online degree provides these students with the flexibility needed to continue working their job while completing their terminal degree to advance in their profession. Moreover, an online doctorate allows the student to save on time and expenses related to travel to and from class on the Nacogdoches campus.  In alignment with the SFA foundational goal of meaningful and sustained enrollment growth, the online doctoral program in educational leadership will provide opportunities to students outside the East Texas area which will provide a more diverse and robust student population within the program.”

Summer Pannell, an assistant professor, feels that the transition to an online program will help SFA serve more potential education leaders, especially during the midst of a national pandemic. She also feels this is a way to reach those all across the country, not just within Nacogdoches county.

“The faculty has worked extremely hard to ensure we maintained rigor and a laser focus on educational leadership in the transition to fully online,” Pannell said. “We feel this program will prove to be valuable to those who want to be change agents in not only the state of Texas, but across the nation, and we look forward to growing the program to help as many students as we can in their doctoral journey.

“We really feel we have developed a high-quality online degree program with multiple educational leadership tracks that can be competitive both locally and nationally, and we are extremely excited about the future impact of our program,” Pannell said.

The deadline to apply for the program is March 15, and the new cohort begins May 17.

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