Learn how to become a more effective leader and gain a better understanding of decision making at the executive level.

The Ed.D. curriculum consists of 59+ credit hours and prepares educators for PK-12 district-level administrative positions. The program  is built on five fundamental strands:

  • Effective leadership practices
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Beliefs, values and ethical issues
  • Enrichment through diversity

Program objectives are closely aligned with Kansas State Department of Education professional standards for district leadership licensure.

Attend classes in Overland Park or through Zoom video conferencing.

Next Cohorts Start September 2020

Overland Park

Zoom Videoconferencing


  • The Ed.D. program fits the demanding schedules of adult educators.
  • Doctoral classes meet from 6 to 10 p.m. one night a week for seven weeks.
  • The Ed.D. is delivered in our popular cohort model.
  • Course work is completed in two years.
  • The third year is devoted to completing the dissertation.


Baker graduate programs are approved for federal financial loan programs. Contact Financial Aid for further information.


All faculty are experienced educators and administrators, either currently working or recently retired, and bring diverse perspectives on leadership to the classroom. Baker faculty care deeply about the future of education and are driven to build effective leaders in the field.


  • The Ed.D. program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission  (312.263.0456,
  • The district licensure program is approved by the Kansas State Department of Education.


“When I think of Baker, I think of one word: relationships. A lot of what I do in my profession is centered around relationships, and a lot of what Baker does with their students through coursework and objectives is relationships. All of our professors and instructors are admirable. They’re great at their jobs and great with people. As I finish a course, I can still call to those professors and ask for support and opinions.”

BROOKE | EdD, '16, MSSL '10, BS '07

“Baker gave me the tools required for success in my career and life. A challenging curriculum and caring faculty and staff helped me complete my dream of earning a doctoral degree.”

REGENA | EdD, '14


Our School of Education graduates are routinely honored locally, regionally, and nationally.

  • Milken Educator Awards
  • Kansas Horizon Award for Outstanding First-Year Teachers
  • Kansas and Missouri National Distinguished Principals
  • Exemplary Middle School Principal of the Year
  • Kansas Teacher of the Year
  • National Teacher of the Year Runner-Up


of Baker students who begin the Ed.D. program finish it and earn their degree. The national average is around 40%.

Our Award Winners

JOHN ERNST, Ed.D. ’15, MAEd, ’07

Milken Educator Award
Blue Valley Northwest High School | Overland Park, Kansas
“Taking the pulse” of the school each day not only ensures Ernst knows the students at Rolling Ridge, but also earned him a ticket to a black-tie event in Washington, D.C., in October. “My second graduation ceremony at Baker was such an unbelievable experience. The bagpipes were playing. It’s hard to describe how special Baker is to me.”


Outstanding Elementary Music 
Educator of the Year
South Central Kansas District of Kansas Music Educators Association
Soderstrom Elementary School | Lindsborg, Kansas
Nelson prepares her students to perform dance and music for Lindsborg’s two-day biennial Svensk Hyllningsfest, directs students in the winter St. Lucia Festival and leads a church children’s choir in addition to giving private piano lessons.


Outstanding Young Member Award
National Association of Agricultural Educators

Royal Valley High School | Hoyt, Kansas
One of just six teachers in the country to receive the NAAE’s Outstanding Young Member Award, Mitchell is responsible for reviving Royal Valley’s FFA program and was integral in gaining $12,000 in grant funds in just two years.


Kansas National Distinguished 
Principal of the Year
National Association of Elementary 
School Principals
Rolling Ridge Elementary School | Olathe, Kansas
Smithyman, who teaches English, gives up weekends to hold student leadership conferences and to work with students to improve standardized test scores and complete college applications. As a result, their scores consistently beat district, state, and national averages.


Selection to the Ed.D. program is a competitive process based on the following criteria:


  • Completed application and $50 application fee
    Apply Online
  • Completed master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, with a final GPA equal to or greater than 3.50 on a 4.00 scale
  • An official transcript indicating completion of a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution (Sealed transcripts must be mailed or emailed directly to Baker University School of Education from the institution awarding credit.)
    • Mail to Baker University, School of Education – Ed.D. Admissions, 7301 College Blvd., Ste. 120, Overland Park, KS 66210
    • Email to
  • Evidence of three years of experience as an educational professional in a PK-12 program that is accredited by an institution recognized by a state
  • Copy of your current educator license if seeking district-level licensure (DLL)
  • Submission of the names of four references (with contact information) who will complete the Leadership Qualities Assessment Survey
  • Acceptable scores on the on-campus assessments in critical thinking and writing and on the Leadership Qualities Assessment Survey

How to send transcripts to Baker.

The doctoral dissertation is conducted in accordance with guidelines established for doctoral candidates of Baker University. The doctoral study follows recommendations found in “The Role and Nature of the Doctoral Dissertation: A Policy Statement,” Council of Graduate Schools.


The doctoral dissertation will accomplish the following:

  • Reveal the candidate’s ability to analyze, interpret and synthesize information
  • Demonstrate the candidate’s knowledge of the literature relating to the project or at least acknowledge prior scholarship on which the study is built
  • Describe the methods and procedures used
  • Present results in a sequential and logical manner
  • Display the candidate’s ability to discuss fully and coherently the meaning of the results

The dissertation is the beginning of the candidate’s scholarly work, not the culmination. The dissertation is expected to provide the candidate with hands-on, directed experience in the primary research methods of the discipline and should provide for the type of research that is expected after the doctor of education degree is awarded.


Once a candidate has entered the program, he or she receives a full description of the process to be used for completing the study, including the following:

  • Dissertation proposal development and approval
  • Format and publication of the dissertation
  • Adviser–advisee relationship
  • Administrative and faculty support
  • Study presentation process
  • Deadline for dissertation completion

Ed.D. Graduation Requirements

  • Successfully complete the approved 59-plus-credit-hour Ed.D. curriculum.
  • Maintain a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.50 with no grade below a B.
  • Maintain a Professional Skills score equal to or greater than 4.0 on a 5.0 scale.
  • Successfully complete both Field Experience I and II, as evidenced by artifacts and reflections provided in the electronic portfolio, scoring “proficient” or above.
  • Satisfactorily complete both Field Experience I and II and receive recommendations from the educational mentor and university supervisor on the evaluation form with mean scores equal to or greater than 8.2 on a 10.0 scale.
  • Successfully complete and defend the program electronic portfolio scoring at the proficient level or above.
  • Successfully complete and defend the dissertation.
  • Submit intent to graduate form three months before anticipated degree completion

Curriculum & Courses

Required Courses

DED 9000 Foundations of Educational Leadership 3 hours
This course provides a beginning foundation for the knowledge and performance areas needed for leading an educational community. Leadership issues addressed include the nature of leadership; leadership research, best practices, styles, cultures, and models; beliefs and values related to leadership; developing organizational goals, mission, and a strategic plan; the impact of leadership on the learning culture; communicating with diverse public and political entities; decision-making and critical thinking skills; responsibilities for financial, human, and material resources; community political, social, and economic issues; and ethical issues impacting leadership.

DED 9001 Communication and Collaboration in Leadership 3 hours
Candidates examine the philosophy, principles, practices, and agencies and organizations involved in or influencing school or organization community programs and initiatives. Special attention is focused on the role of leaders in planning and implementing system-wide communications and involvement networks. Candidates explore their creativity and expand their ability to lead complex teams effectively and to influence collaborative problem-solving processes as both a leader and a follower in the team process. This course will address the identification and utilization of community resources and the creation of family engagement partnerships, community linkages, and collaborative efforts to provide for the educational, cultural, health, lifelong learning, vocational, and out-of-school needs of students and citizens in a community. The term “community” will be defined for both P-12 and higher education. Candidates will be expected to address “community” according to their individual work settings and/or career aspirations.

DED 9002 Leading Special and Diverse Populations 3 hours
This course is designed to examine the role and responsibilities of leaders of diverse organizations, including the administrator, director, or supervisor of special education at the school district, state and federal levels, and leaders in organizations and agencies that serve and employ individuals with diverse skills, needs, and abilities. Participants become better skilled in leading programs through familiarity with state and federal statutory requirements, fiscal basis, organizational structures, relations to general school administration, and instructional and related services delivery systems. Current issues in educating students with special needs and preparing and employing individuals in today’s workforce are explored. Trends in the nation’s increasing cultural and ethnic diversity and the impact of these trends on organizations are examined.

DED 9003 Developing Professional Learning Communities 3 hours
This course examines professional development with the intent that candidates as future leaders in schools districts and organizations will be equipped to bring about improvements in student achievement through professional learning. Candidates engage in topics that include the development of professional learning communities through constructivist leadership and educational reform including the uses of technologies to bridge gender and racial gaps in traditional professional development initiatives. The course discusses the important issues related to the basic principles of professional behavior and ethics with respect to students, peers, administrators, and teachers from all environments. Strategies designed to increase an understanding of adult learning will be emphasized.

DED 9004 Curriculum, Learning, and Instruction 3 hours
This course addresses the supervisory process for curriculum and instruction at the district and organization level, including current research on teaching and issues in instructional supervision. The course provides candidates with leadership skills necessary to bring about a curriculum and instructional program that results in high levels of achievement by all students. Candidates focus on the alignment of district curriculum with state and national initiatives and regulations and on the processes needed to garner input and ownership of a district curriculum from a broad and diverse constituency.

DED 9005 Legal, Policy, and Ethical Issues in Leadership 3 hours
This course develops the candidate’s knowledge and performance skills in the areas of beliefs and attitudes, effective management, policy development, planning, organizational structure and performance, rights and confidentiality, and district or organization administrative legal issues that impact both human and physical resources, staff evaluations, ethical values, and integrity.

DED 9006 Human Resources Management 3 hours
This course is a study of human resources development practices at the system level, with emphasis on responsibilities for attracting, selecting, developing, evaluating, and retaining competent faculty, staff, and employees. The course provides a conceptual and technical background in the human resources function within the organization. Candidates have an opportunity to research and practice problem- solving and leadership skills as applied to human resources. Classes promote the sharing of professional expertise while avoiding problems associated with the sensitive nature of personnel issues. The guiding question of this course is “How can leaders employ, develop, and manage human resources effectively to improve student achievement and productivity?”

DED 9007 Management of Finances, Facilities, and Resources 3 hours
This course develops the knowledge and performance areas needed to manage district or organizational budgets, facilities, and material resources. Issues addressed by this course include working with boards of education, employees, and community members; aligning facilities and financial resources to the district’s or organization’s mission and goals; planning, developing, and overseeing budgets, facilities, and material resources; using technology to support effective management practices; understanding legal issues and ethical practices relating to fiscal matters; and communicating with and meeting the needs of all community populations, including special needs populations.

DED 9008 Program Planning and Evaluation 3 hours
This course is a study of the theory of program evaluation, techniques used in program evaluation, and the standards of quality for professional evaluation practice. The focus is on application of program evaluation processes in administering district and organization level programs. A candidate is expected to apply the principles and processes of evaluation in a study of a district or organization program.

DED 9010 Statistical Analysis 3 hours
This course addresses the application of descriptive and inferential statistical techniques for organizing research data and testing simple hypotheses. Candidates learn techniques for reporting statistical results including the generation of charts and graphs to describe data and to draw conclusions based on data. The course is practical in orientation.

DED 9011 Methods of Inquiry and Research 3 hours
This course is divided into two parts: qualitative and quantitative methods. The course presents basic research design. The qualitative paradigm is presented as complementary to quantitative methods rather than contradictory and competitive. Students begin developing ideas and researching topics for the Clinical Research Study.

DED 9900-1 Dissertation Development 2 hours
The doctoral dissertation is a research study that provides the candidate the means to demonstrate breadth of scholarship, depth of research, and ability to investigate problems independently and efficiently. The dissertation is an extended, coherent, and written work that demonstrates the candidate’s comprehensive knowledge and mastery of methodological, historical, topical, empirical, and theoretical issues relevant to the chosen research subject. The dissertation contains the results of extensive critical research of documentary source materials and field work. The first dissertation development course is completed when a draft of Chapter I is submitted to and approved by the candidate’s advisor.

DED 9900-2 Dissertation Development 2 hours
The second dissertation development course is completed when a draft of Chapter 3 is submitted to and approved by the candidate’s advisor.

DED 9900-3 Dissertation Development 2 hours
Candidates will submit a final draft of Chapters 1 and 3 of the dissertation as well as a draft of Chapter 2.

DED 9900-4 Dissertation Development 6 hours
Chapters 1 and 3 are reviewed and approved by the dissertation committee.
DED 9902 Dissertation Completion and Presentation *8+ hours
Chapters 1 through 5 are approved by the dissertation committee, the candidate successfully defends the dissertation, and all corrections are made. (*Continuous enrollment is required until completion.)

DED 9030/9031 Field Experiences I & II 2 hours each
Candidates plan and carry out two field experiences of a minimum of 60 hours each under the direct supervision and mentoring of an organization’s leadership. During one of the two directed field experiences, a minimum of 12 clock hours must be spent working in a diverse setting. The two field experiences may be within the same district or organization if with two different mentors. Field experience activities must be chosen from a listing of activities that coincide with program objectives and standards. These activities are expected to provide real-world opportunities to gain effective experiences.

DED 9032 Portfolio Presentation 2 hours
The electronic portfolio is considered the key assessment piece for the candidate. The portfolio exhibits the knowledge, dispositions, and performances gained in the program and serves as a major vehicle for the candidate to apply theory to practice. The portfolio is organized and aligned with the KSDE and ISLLC standards for district leadership. A candidate is required to achieve a minimum of “Proficient” on each of the portfolio areas prior to the completion of Field Experience II. The candidate uses a variety of technology tools and applications to enhance the portfolio and to present its contents before a committee of adjudicators. Defense of the portfolio is considered a major exhibit of the candidate’s abilities as a leader.
Total Program Credit Hours: 59+

Note: The university reserves the right to modify and resequence the core curriculum as necessary.


The curriculum consists of 59+ credit hours.

33 Credit Hours of Core Leadership Courses

  • Foundations of Educational Leadership
  • Communication and Collaboration in Leadership
  • Leading Special and Diverse Populations
  • Curriculum, Learning and Instruction
  • Legal, Policy and Ethical Issues in Leadership
  • Human Resources Management
  • Management of Finances, Facilities and Resources
  • Developing Professional Learning Communities
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Methods of Inquiry and Research
  • Program Planning and Evaluation

4 credit hours of colloquia and field experience

20+ credit hours of dissertation development

2 credit hours of portfolio paper and presentation

Directed Field Experience

The two field experiences help candidates transfer and make connections between theory and knowledge and real-world leadership practices. The directed field experience accomplishes the following:

  • Helps the candidate develop leadership skills and behaviors through the engagement in meaningful real-life leadership activities
  • Assists the candidate in transferring leadership knowledge and theory into leadership skills, behaviors and activities that enhance learning communities
  • Provides service to the host educational community.

During Directed Field Experiences I and II, the candidate is expected to assist in significant and varied leadership responsibilities under the supervision of a Baker University supervisor and an educational field mentor, who is cooperatively chosen by the candidate, the Baker University advisor, and the directed field experience coordinator. The Baker University supervisor and field mentor work cooperatively with the candidate to select a series of meaningful field experience activities and projects from the suggested activities associated with the program objectives. Through a combination of coursework and field experiences, the candidate begins to develop leadership performance behaviors that are associated with program objectives and standards.

The candidate must enroll in two separate field experiences, Directed Field Experience I and Directed Field Experience II. Each of the two field experiences consists of a minimum of 60 clock hours at the educational site. Field experience activities should relate to program objectives and performance indicators. Time is distributed across the program standards. A candidate is expected to address all program objectives during the two field experiences. Candidates are expected to work with diverse school and community issues during one of the field experience activities.

Candidates who are accepted into the program receive detailed Directed Field Experience Handbooks.


Tuition for program paid over 2 years $35,420
Tuition during years 4-6 (fall, spring, summer) $345
One-time registration and materials fee $450
Application fee $50
Graduation fee $125
Audit fee $317.80/credit hour


1. Do I need specific experience or education to qualify for this program?

Yes. The EdD program is designed for PK-16 educational professionals. You need to have at least three years of full-time professional experience in a PK-16 institution.

2. How long is the program?

It will take about two years to complete the coursework. The third year of the program is devoted to completing your dissertation.

3. Do I need to take the GRE?

No. The GRE is not required, but admission into the program is competitive.

4. I am a classroom teacher, am I eligible for this program?

Yes, several classroom teachers are in the program.

5. What is district-level licensure?

Many upper-level administrative positions in school districts require a district-level license.  Obtaining this license typically requires advanced education and passing a state licensure exam.

6. Will this program certify me as a district-level administrator?

No. Building- and district-level licensure is granted by the Kansas State Department of Education. Professionals who complete the Baker University Ed.D. program and receive a passing score on the ETS School Superintendent assessment will receive licensure from the Kansas or Missouri department of education.

7. Do I have to have my principal license to begin this program?

You do not have to possess a building-level license to enter the program. However, if your professional goal is to attain district-level licensure, you will have to take additional coursework after the EdD in order to meet the requirements for building-level licensure

8. I have my EdS but not my district-level license. Can I take the DLL exam now or after I start this program and still be eligible for the reduced program?

No. To qualify for the reduced coursework and tuition rate, you need to possess the district-level license before beginning the Ed.D. program.

9. What if I already have district-level licensure and just need the Ed.D. degree?

Applicants who have a master’s degree in educational administration from Kansas or Missouri already have obtained district-level licensure and are eligible for a reduced number of credit hours and tuition.

10. I work in higher education; how will these classes apply to me?

The Ed.D. is designed for K-16 educational leaders. As such, course content focuses on educational leadership in general.

11. Are other students who work in higher education enrolled in this program?

Yes, several students who serve in a variety of capacities at higher education institutions are  enrolled in the Ed.D. program.


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