Nov 30, 2021  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Learning and Leadership, Ed.D.

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Dr. David Rausch, Director and Academic Unit Leader
(423) 425-5270 or email at

Becca McCashin, Coordinator
(423) 425-5445 or email at


The multidisciplinary Doctoral Program in Learning and Leadership (Ed.D) equips participants with an understanding of the relationship that learning plays in the leadership process. The doctoral program of study incorporates specific competency and skills within the participant’s professional environment through the practical application of course activities. A combination of hybrid/blended required course work ensures that the individual’s specific professional goals are supported. Members of each doctoral cohort initially complete a set of core courses (30 credit hours) prior to transitioning to a personalized area of focus. Upon completion of the core, individuals will have the opportunity to concentrate their studies in a particular subject matter area through focused elective course work (24 credit hours- subject to prior program approval) and the dissertation research (12 credit hours minimum). Other major elements of the program include the Comprehensive Assessment and the successful preparation and defense of the dissertation. The Comprehensive Assessment requires the development of a digital portfolio incorporating demonstration of competency consistent with the core program domains.  The competency domains are Learning, Leadership, Research, Measurement, Organizational Effectiveness, Technology and Innovation, and Communication.

The program calls for a minimum of 66 credit hours in three areas:


  1. Core Program of Study (cohort experience): 30 credit hours
  2. Electives: 24 credit hours
  3. Dissertation Research: Minimum of 12 credit hours

Admission Requirements

Individuals admitted to the program must have a master’s degree and a minimum of two years of professional leadership experience in an organizational setting- preferably in a leadership role.

Applicants for admission to the program will be required to meet two levels of admission: admission to the Graduate School and admission to the doctoral program. An applicant for admission to the program must hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or foreign equivalent and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate coursework taken prior to receiving the master’s degree.

Admission requirements are sufficiently rigorous to ensure that participants in the program are academically talented and professionally dedicated. The admission and review criteria are designed to help ensure that, once admitted, each applicant is likely to succeed in the degree program. The faculty seek a diverse group of participants who share a record of accomplishment in teaching and/or leadership and demonstrate potential for further success.

The following factors are considered by the admission committee when recommending approval or denial of an applicant:

  1. Academic performance at the graduate level
  2. GRE scores
  3. Statement of Purpose Essay
  4. Recommendation letters
  5. Leadership experience
  6. Interview

Level I – Admission to Graduate School

Admission to the Graduate School requires the following conditions:

  1. Receipt of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or foreign equivalent.
  2. Grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate coursework taken for the master’s degree.

Application Process

  1. A completed, signed application form submitted to the UTC Graduate School Office. Forms are available from the Graduate School Office or the Web site, which can be found at
  2. Payment of a $30 domestic; $35 international nonrefundable application fee.
  3. An official transcript from each college or university previously attended. These transcripts must be sent directly from the institutions to the Graduate School Office. International applicants must supply authorized school or university records with certified translations if the records are in a language other than English. Translations must include descriptive titles of courses studied and grades gained in final examinations.
  4. Submission of official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test. The General Test includes the following sub-tests: Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing. The GRE must have been taken within the previous five years prior to application for scores to be accepted. A minimum GRE score is not required; however, the following scores are considered desirable for entrance into the program:
      Verbal Test taken prior to 8/1/2011 500 Test taken after 8/1/2011    152  
      Quantitative Test taken prior to 8/1/2011 500 Test taken after 8/1/2011    144  
      Analytical  4.0        

Applicants whose native language is not English will also need to provide certification of English proficiency. Official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) must be submitted. A TOEFL score of 550 (213 on the computer-based test, or 79 on the Internet-based test) or above, or an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher, is required unless the applicant meets the conditions outlined in “Graduate Admission Tests” under “Admission Requirements ” to apply for an exemption to the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. International participants must also submit evidence of financial resources sufficient to provide adequate support (as determined by the University) during the candidate’s period of residence as a participant. Three letters of recommendation from professional colleagues, supervisors, or former university professors.

Upon completion and submission of the above requirements and after admission to the Graduate School, the Graduate School Office will forward all items contained in the admissions file to the Ed.D. Academic Unit Leader/Coordinator to begin Level II of the admission process.

Level II – Admission to the Doctoral Program

Decisions for acceptance will be made by an admissions committee based upon the overall potential for the applicant’s success in the program. The applicant will be asked to submit a Statement of Purpose and to attend a personal interview with the admissions committee.

Statement of Purpose

Submit a 3-5 page Statement of Purpose Essay focusing on the applicant’s motivation and aspirations upon entering the program. Applicants may refer to the application instructions for additional guidelines.

Admissions Interview

A select group of applicants will be invited to interview with an admissions committee during which the committee members will evaluate the ability to think and speak extemporaneously and the overall compatibility with the program’s goals and requirements. Upon completion of the admissions interview, the admissions committee will recommend to the Academic Unit Leader of the Ed.D. program the approval or denial of the candidate. The Academic Unit Leader will forward the committee’s recommendations to the Graduate School. Candidates will be notified of their admission status by letter from the UTC Graduate School.

Admission Requirements for International Students

International applicants will follow regular procedures for admission to the Graduate School and the Doctoral program in Learning and Leadership. International applicants should contact the Office of International Student Services for assistance with the admission process. If a face-to-face interview is not feasible, interviews of  may be conducted by video conference or telephone.

Admission to Candidacy

The participant will be admitted to degree candidacy upon successful completion of the following requirements:

  1. Submission and approval of the Application for Admission to Candidacy application.
  2. Successful completion of 54 credit hours. (30 core credits + 24 elective credits)
  3. Successful achievement of a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0 or above in the doctoral program with no more than two grades below a “B” grade.
  4. Successful passage of the competency assessment (ILLP).

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements for the degree are:

  1. successful completion of 30 credit hours of core doctoral courses,
  2. successful completion of 24 credit hours of electives,
  3. a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in the doctoral program with no more than two courses below a grade of “B”,
  4. successful passage of the competency assessment (ILLP), and
  5. successful defense the dissertation and approval by the Graduate School.

Program Time Limit

There is a ten-year limit for completing all degree requirements for the doctorate in Learning and Leadership. All doctoral course work and the successful defense of the dissertation must be completed within ten years. The ten year time frame begins with the earliest course applied to the doctoral program of study, including any applicable transfer credits.


All participants must complete a residency requirement for the degree. This requirement will be satisfied as follows:

  1. Attendance and successful completion of the program induction.
  2. Attendance and successful completion of all required face-to-face seminars during the core program of study.

Maintaining Active Enrollment

In the doctoral program, each participant must remain continuously enrolled in course work from the start of the core program (cohort experience) through the successful defense of the dissertation and acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School. Continuous enrollment in the doctoral program applies to the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Failure to remain continuously enrolled will result in program dismissal.

During the core program of study, each participant is required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) core credit hours as described in the core course sequence. Once the core program of study has been completed, the participant is required to remain continuously enrolled in elective course work (minimum of one course per semester). Following admission to candidacy, the candidate is require to continuously enroll in a minimum of two (2) dissertation credits every semester through the successful defense of the dissertation and acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School Dean.

Requesting a Leave of Absence

During any stage of the doctoral program, a participant may request a one-time leave of absence. The leave of absence must be approved by the Program Director and the Graduate School Dean. The leave of absence my not exceed one calendar year (maximum of three semesters). In order to return to the program following an approved leave of absence, the participant must apply for readmission to the Graduate School and meet all graduate regulations in effect upon readmission. If a participant fails to enroll once the leave of absence has expired, the participant will be dismissed from the program.

Request to Withdraw

If a participant elects to withdraw completely from the doctoral program, s/he must notify the Program Director in writing of his/her intent to withdraw and drop any currently enrolled courses. The participant is accountable for fulfillment of any outstanding financial or academic responsibilities. Once withdrawn (or dismissed), a participant would need to apply to the doctoral program in order to return. Readmission would require full participation in the program admission process and all regulations in effect at the time.


Elective Courses

All doctoral participants are required to successfully complete 24  elective credit hours. A participant may request to transfer up to 15 focused elective credits from previous post-master’s graduate work. Electives may be taken at any point during the program of study with program pre-approval. A rationale for all electives must be clearly evident. Electives should be relevant to the dissertation research and area of concentration. All electives must be taken for graduate credit (5000 level or above). Four thousand (4000) level courses taken for graduate credit will not be accepted. Elective courses must be academic in nature, not internships, practicums, or professional development courses. All elective credits must be awarded by a regionally accredited graduate program and must be approved by the primary advisor and Academic Unit Leader and Graduate School Dean.

Transfer Courses

Trnasfer course work will be limited to elective credit. A doctoral participant may request to transfer a maximum of 15 graduate hours as focused electives. All transfer elective courses must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Must carry graduate credit (5000-level or above) from a regionally accredited university
  • Must be academic in nature (no practicum/internship/professional development)
  • Must have a grade of “B” or better
  • Must fit within the timeframe of the participant’s program of study
  • Must have been taken within five years of entrance into the program
  • Cannot have been used for a previous degree

All elective credits, including transfer credits, must be approved by the Program Director and Graduate School Dean. The participant must provide a syllabus and/or detailed course description as documentation to support the request for transfer credit. All doctoral courses including transfer credits must be listed on the participant’s Program of Study form, Application for Admission to Candidacy, and must be accompanied by an official transcript.


Each participant will complete and defend a dissertation. The dissertation represents the culminating project for the degree. In the completion of the dissertation, the candidate will show evidence of competence in conceptualizing, carrying out, and reporting research. Doctoral candidates in the Learning and Leadership program are required to be continuously enrolled in a minimum of 2.0 graduate credits (maximum of 6 graduate credits) every semester (fall, spring, and summer) until the dissertation has been successfully defended and approved by the Graduate School. Failure to meet continuous enrollment standards may result in program dismissal.

Dissertation Committee Formation

The dissertation committee is comprised of four members: the dissertation Chair, the methodologist, plus two additional members. The chair and at least one member must be members of the Learning and Leadership faculty and possess full graduate faculty status. All members of the committee must hold graduate faculty status at UTC. It is the responsibility of the Chair to guide the learner in the selection of the committee. Members of the committee should include faculty whom the committee chair and learner believe can make substantive contributions to the learner’s dissertation. The Chair is urged to invite a committee member from an academic unit outside the Learning and Leadership program. Relevance and expertise regarding the dissertation topic and methodology is the rationale for selection of all members. The Dean of the Graduate School shall approve the membership of the dissertation committee. Any questions regarding eligibility of committee members should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Special Graduate Faculty Status

In certain circumstances, it may be appropropriate to petition the Graduate Council to allow a person who is not a member of the regular faculty and who, because of relevant professional experience and academic training, should be eligible to serve on the dissertation committee. Such a person will receive temporary and honorific status as a member of the graduate faculty while serving on the participant’s committee. In general, a terminal degree is required for Special status. The outside member will submit an application for graduate faculty membership and request the rank of “Special”.

Co-Chairing of Dissertation

In certain circumstances, a co-chair arrangement may be appropriate for the dissertation. The co-chair will be selected on the basis of content expertise and must possess full graduate faculty status. A co-chair may be designated if a Learning and Leadership faculty member does not hold full doctoral faculty status, if a Learning and Leadership faculty member is new to the dissertation advisement process, or a chair with content expertise is from outside the Learning and Leadership program. If a chair is from outside the Learning and Leadership program, a member of the Ed.D. faculty will be appointed to serve as co-chair for purposes of familiarity with programmatic protocol and procedures.

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