The primary, though perhaps not the only audience for this Ed.D. program consists of educational professionals who wish to improve the quality of their work in their current roles or to prepare themselves for new roles. This Ed.D. program is uniquely designed to link theory with practice and is not based on traditional assumptions about the relationships of theory with practice or on conventional notions about the status of practitioners and theorists. To be a practitioner is to make decisions about what to do and to take action; but professional practitioners — in education as in other areas — make reasonable decisions and act responsibly and ethically in the light of theoretical and professional knowledge.
- Professional educators are leaders as well as managers; they are not limited to making decisions according to rule or “by the book.” They must use discretion and judgment as they seek to find the most defensible course of action in specific, complicated, and perhaps idiosyncratic circumstances. These situations are not merely instances of abstract concepts.
- Although decisions are made in the light of theoretical knowledge, theoretical knowledge cannot be applied to practice in the same way as principles are applied to cases. No single theory is able to encompass the complexities of all aspects of learning or schooling. Professional educators understand the principles and terms that characterize and limit a variety of theories and can select amongst them in order to better understand the situations in which they are involved.
- Decisions also are made in the light of professional knowledge, learned on the job as well as from more formal sources. Professional educators can articulate the informal, often tacit knowledge that they develop from practice so that it engages with and modifies the more formal theories learned from other sources.
- Professional educators not only make decisions, they act upon them responsibly. They examine the value commitments implicit in their actions; they question the appropriateness of the ends that they seek; they connect their educational contexts to broader social contexts; and they assess the effects of their actions on the achievements, dispositions, and propensities of students, colleagues and community members.
Superintendent Endorsement Option
The Doctoral program’s Educational Leadership concentration is an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) approved program for the Superintendent endorsement.