New Executive Leadership Doctorate Degree from UTD To Help Improve Skills of Senior DISD Personnel
EL.D. Degree Program Also Aimed at Public, Non-Profit, Healthcare Execs

Officials from The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) today announced plans for UTD to offer a new, interdisciplinary doctorate degree — a Doctor of Executive Leadership — aimed, in part, at improving the leadership skills of senior administrative personnel in the DISD and other urban school districts.

Once approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the new offering, known as an EL.D. degree, will be one of a few of its kind in the nation. Although created at the request of DISD to provide advanced education for current and future administrators, the program is expected also to appeal to persons interested in assuming executive-level positions in other public, non-profit and healthcare organizations.

The new degree program was announced by university and DISD officials at a news conference today in downtown Dallas at the Dallas Institute for Urban Leadership, a collaborative partnership of The University of Texas System, UTD and DISD. The event marked the grand opening of the institute, housed in newly renovated facilities in the Universities Center of Dallas, located at 1901 Main Street.

“We are delighted to help address the critical shortage of qualified leadership in urban educational settings, including DISD, with this proposed EL.D. degree,” said Dr. Franklyn Jenifer, UTD president. “A degree program in executive leadership that focuses on the public, non-profit and healthcare sectors will help train dynamic, high-performing leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth area organizations that traditionally have not been served by similar programs designed for the for-profit sector.”

“Meaningful improvement in urban schools will only occur with improved leadership in those schools,” said DISD General Superintendent Dr. Mike Moses. “The specialized, field-based doctoral program being offered by U.T. Dallas, which will immerse candidates in the nuts-and-bolts operations of ‘high-need’ urban campuses, is a major step in attracting and preparing a cadre of highly skilled leaders for DISD and other school districts throughout the United States.”

Moses said that his support for the program was so strong that he might even participate directly by helping teach some of the courses.

The proposed 90-credit hour, three-year doctorate degree will be administered by UTD’s School of Social Sciences, whose faculty has expertise in a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, criminology, economics, geography, political science, public administration, public policy and sociology. The EL.D. program also will incorporate significant course work from the university’s School of Management.

Students who complete only the first two years of the program will earn a master’s degree in public administration. Those who finish the full three years will receive an EL.D.

A field-based internship, under the guidance of an accomplished executive, and the writing of a research report will be critical requirements of the degree and will take the place of a traditional doctoral dissertation. This structured, on-the-job experience will involve students applying theories and concepts learned in the classroom to a project designed to improve a given organization.

Classes may be held in several locations, including the Universities Center of Dallas and the UTD campus in Richardson. Some seminars and guest lectures may also be conducted using video-conferencing technology.

Following approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, UTD could begin offering courses toward the degree as early as the fall. University officials estimate the first group of students could number 12 to 15.

University officials foresee demand for the degree coming from those working in DISD and other large school districts, non-profit organizations, hospitals and other healthcare organizations and local and regional governments. While initial interest is expected to come from residents of the Metroplex, given the unique nature of the program, UTD hopes eventually to draw students from other states and countries.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].