Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership

The Ed.D. programs at Gardner-Webb University are designed to provide practical leadership skills with a strong theoretical foundation. The programs are structured with the working adult in mind and provide experiences that allow the candidates to contribute to their organization throughout the course of study. The Ed.D. curriculum and agenda are tailored specifically for each cohort allowing opportunities that meet the needs of the cohort group. Repeatedly, the common feedback from participants is the strong bond among the cohort members that facilitates a network of support and lifelong collaboration. 


From the Dean:

"Gardner-Webb University is in the forefront of leadership development. The School of Education with the support of our Center for Innovative Leadership Development endeavors to inspire change through educating and motivating our students and clients to assume leadership roles in professions that will enhance and enrich the lives of individuals and communities. The Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership program embodies the scholar practitioner model of professional training and prepares students to seek out leadership roles in a variety of professional settings."


Dr. A. Douglas Eury

Dean, School of Education

Gardner-Webb University



The Gardner-Webb University School of Education empowers candidates and communities through innovative, collaborative leadership by applying principles of continuous improvement to expand human (intellectual, social, and spiritual) potential.



The Gardner-Webb University School of Education will be recognized by all communities as a premier resource and facilitator for growth and development providing the support necessary for intellectual, social, and spiritual transformation.



The Gardner-Webb University School of Education consists of members dedicated to demonstrating innovation, creativity, teamwork, problem solving, flexibility, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning. Specifically, these dispositions include:


  • Principles of ongoing reflection, continuous improvement, and data informed decision making,
  • Caring relationships characterized by high ethical standards, collaboration, and shared decision making,
  • Leadership skills focused on social and emotional intelligence, understanding group dynamics within diverse communities, and a vision for meaningful change, and
  • Interactive learning environments utilizing innovative and appropriate tools and strategies to expand opportunities.


Program Overview:

The program consists of nine semesters (total of 63 credit hours including the consultancy/practicum project). The consecutive semesters include any summer sessions that fall in the sequence. The cohort concept is employed such that students move together through their classes providing the maximum benefit from individual experiences and communities of collaboration. The consultancy/practicum project is an integral part of each semester's course work. The intent is to provide the student an opportunity to apply the theory and best practices to actual challenges they are confronted with.


The program is comprised of two tiers. The first tier is the core course modules. This consists of the first six semesters. These modules address concepts such as cultural development in organizations, leading in a learning organization, change management, ethics, conflict resolution, strategic planning, program evaluation, qualitative research, and e-learning. Semesters seven through nine include, but are not limited to, the following specialized course modules: policy development, business law, innovation & transformation, cultural development, and self & collective efficacy. Classes are held on Friday evenings and Saturdays (7 weekends per Fall & Spring semesters and 13 full days for the summer semester). There is an online component and some of the classes are hybrid (combination of face-to-face & online).


Program Outcomes:


  • Candidates will make significant contributions to the organization in which they are employed while in the program and beyond.
  • Candidates will contribute to the overall learning environment in which they are working.
  • Candidates will use the knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired to support lifelong learning in their profession.
  • Candidates will demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in everyday work activities.
  • Candidates will share their experiences with their cohort colleagues enriching the learning process.
  • Candidates will apply their learning and their experiences in the execution of the consultancy project.


Admission Requirements:


  • Applicants must have a Master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicant must have a 3.0 or better grade point average in all Master's level work.
  • Applicants must submit three letters of reference.
  • Applicants must possess excellent interpersonal skills as reflected in the letters of reference.
  • Applicants must submit an official transcript for all Master's level work from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of three years of experience in their profession.
  • Applicants must submit either a MAT or GRE score that is current to the previous five years.
  • Applicants must submit a cohort registration form. 
  • Applicants must submit a personal essay explaining their purpose for obtaining an advanced degree from Gardner-Webb University. 




DEOL 730/731:Organizational Behavior and Theory
DEOL 732/733:Leadership Theory and Practice
DEOL 734/735:Ethics, Ideology, and Personal Leadership
DEOL 736/737:Strategic Leadership and Management of Global Change
DEOL 738/739:Action Research, Program Evaluation, Data Analysis and Interpretation, and Qualitative Methods
DEOL 740/741:E-Learning
DEOL 750/751:Policy Development and Business Law
DEOL 752/753:Innovation and Transformation
DEOL 754/755: Contemporary Topics


Consultancy Project/Practicum:

Candidates are required to complete a consultancy project for which they will receive 9 credit hours. During each semester the candidate works on their project and receives 1 credit hour toward the 9 hours required for the program. The consultancy project is a practicum that integrates prior course work throughout the program with on-site fieldwork in an organization, challenging students to apply knowledge acquired from each of the prerequisite courses. Candidates are assigned an intern supervisor (faculty member) in their first semester.


For more information on the program and the admissions process, please download the information packet.



Dr. John D. Balls

Phone: (704) 406-2365


Off-Campus Option


Earn your Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in a local cohort or online.


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