Inspiring excellent leadership in organizations.

To truly be a leader requires perspective, vision, creative problem solving, teamwork and the ability to think strategically. As a lifelong learner, you understand the power of education and the opportunities it can afford. At Marian, we share your passion for exceptional leadership and pursuing education at the highest level. Leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, no Millers Analogy Test is required for admittance to our leadership studies program, which will fulfill your intellectual needs and help you take your career to impressive new heights.

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The Program

At Marian, we aim to develop leaders who make a positive impact in the world. The interdisciplinary nature of the Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership with a concentration in general Leadership Studies is a perfect fit for students across a broad range of professions, including education, health care, social services, church, government, law enforcement and business.

As a student in the program, you’ll engage in advanced research and scholarship, increase your leadership capacity and become a reflective practitioner with a deepened commitment to service. You’ll investigate theoretical concepts and apply these to issues and problems in the field. By conducting in-depth research in an area of interest to you, you’ll contribute to the growing body of knowledge and impact the debate on issues regarding leadership in today’s dynamic organizational systems. Designed under the scholar-leader model and with no Millers Analogy Test required for admittance, the program aims to develop in you professional competencies that encourage self-reflection and develop leadership capacity in others. As a graduate, you’ll be equipped with the necessary skills to succeed personally and professionally in today’s complex organizations.

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Sample Course Plan:
Download Sample Course Plan

Leadership core, 15 credits:

Course explores the historical exercise of leadership. Through many contents in history and through the midst of conflicting forces that arise within organizational systems, leaders are faced with adaptive challenges. The course distinguishes between authority and knowledge, provides a diagnostic framework for assessing the typical mechanisms in which social systems avoid work on critical issues, and explores strategies and tactics of intervention to mobilize adaptive work.

This course emphasizes ethics, morality, and values as it explores their relationship to leadership in a variety of health care, business, and education organizations. Ethical dilemmas will be analyzed. Personal ethics, business ethics, leadership ethics, and ethical decision-making will be explored.

Explore the historical and contemporary research studies by surveying the literature developing the theory of leadership. Consider phenomenology of leadership from various disciplinary perspectives. Beliefs, values, political, spiritual dimensions of leadership juxtaposed vs. stereotypical political, anthropological, historical, psychological, and sociological understandings of leadership. Students assess and reflect on their own leader behaviors based on many of the theories. Students engage in developing a leadership development plan for both professional and personal life.

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics between the critical elements of culture in organizations and the leadership behaviors that are most effective in managing and changing that culture. Particular emphasis is placed on how the purposes, traditions, norms and values that form the basic assumptions of the organization can be identified, analyzed, and then managed to affect needed reform.

The course will focus on the discipline of strategic program planning and processes of assessing effectiveness by which an organization recreates itself to achieve extraordinary purpose. Systems and structures of organization which are designed to meet changing student organization and community needs will be emphasized. The goal of the course will be the production of a strategic plan characterized by vision, originality, and realism.

Research methods, 12 credits:

An examination of the conceptual and theoretical foundations of social research methods with particular emphasis on empirical, interpretive, and critical orientations.

Course explores the purposes and characteristics of the research process including exploring ideas for research, critical review and analysis of published research, literature review skills, research ethics and institutional review. In addition, the course provides an overview of common research methodologies and essential descriptive statistics.

Students will build on their prior familiarity with the techniques of emergent-theme transcript analysis to branch out into a range of qualitative techniques including ethnography, unobtrusive measures, historiography, and case studies. The focus will be on student’s gaining experience with the implementation of the techniques, and the development of perspectives validated by their application of the techniques. Survey design and implementation, and the design, conduct and analysis of a focus group experience are key learning experiences.

Students will build on their understanding of the basic parametric and non-parametric tests and how these are implemented in SPSS to move on to consider the analysis of variance concept. From this background, the major emphasis will be the application of multivariate statistics, with factor analysis, path analysis, and latent variable modeling being among other current techniques to be discussed. Students will search the literature related to their fields of expertise to become aware of instances where some of these techniques have proved useful, and will deconstruct these instances. The focus of this course will be on the implementation of the techniques, and the interpretation of the output rather focusing intensively on the statistical underpinnings of the techniques. Students will develop the skill to devise and test their own hypotheses on their own data set.

Dissertation, 15 credits minimum:

A seminar to guide and facilitate the development of the dissertation research proposal with supervision of the dissertation chair and committee. Students must maintain continuous enrollment in subsequent seminars until they have successfully completed and defended their dissertation proposal.

Original research concluding in written dissertation and oral defense as directed by dissertation chair and committee. Minimum of 12 credits to complete dissertation with continuous enrollment of 3 credits until completed.

Leadership studies courses, 18 credits:

Explore the development of leader capacity in individuals and organizations through study of diagnosing, developing intervention and outcome models. Gain the following 1) theoretical and practical insights into application of research in leadership practice, 2) analyze and diagnose knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and skills of leaders, 3) develop leadership interventions and critique them, 4) development evaluation models, and 5) reflection on personal leadership potential.

Explores organization development, communication & change application in organizations. Emphasis on emerging models within complex organizations and change models. An emphasis on systems thinking, learning organizations and emerging research in organizations

A critical examination of research in the development of adult life and psychology of adult learning as it applies to fostering growth and development experiences for adults. Implications of these theories and characteristics applied to adult learning and instruction and the impact in various organizational settings, both formal and informal. Attention given to different stages of adult growth, the development of learning goals, and learning environments. Learners gain knowledge and discourse on own developmental needs to exercise on behalf of being leaders; provides theoretical basis for working with adults.

This course explores organizational behavior theory and its application to a variety of organizations. The study of individual and group dynamics in an organizational setting, as well as the nature of the organizations themselves. Emphasis is placed on emerging models within complex organizations, the relationship between the mission and values of the organization and structures that are dynamic in the behaviors of members of the organization. Impact of organizational models on employee motivation and satisfaction explored.

Exploring leadership and leadership issues from a inter-cultural and global perspective. Students construct their understanding of different cultural perspectives on leadership through readings and course interactions. Provides students with a valuable perspective on their own and other cultural perspectives through the comparison of cultural expressions of leadership. Explores how leadership is developing from a global, systemic perspective.

Course examines various approaches to conceptualizing, interpreting, and leading social change and fostering social justice through a servant leader model. Review of historical development of the concept of social justice in an inter-disciplinary manner. Examine the implications of social activism and advocacy, including ways citizen leaders can embrace social justice as a commitment to change the economic, political, and social structures that destroy the dignity of human life.

Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Leadership Program (concentration in Leadership Studies )

Mission: to prepare candidates for leadership positions in public and private settings by providing opportunities to study and apply theories, standards, and practices in leadership.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate substantive knowledge of the field.
2. Critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in their primary area of leadership study.
3. Demonstrate the ability to apply ethical principles to their personal and professional lives.
4. Demonstrates capacity to articulate research as socially situated.
5. Design and conduct research on a significant leadership problem.
6. Collect and analyze data.
7. Communicate and defend results of research to peers and the broader community.

The Education Programs offered by the Marian University School of Education are approved by the:

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Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Designed to meet the academic and professional needs of working adults looking to advance their careers, the Ph.D. program with a concentration in Educational Administration Is specifically oriented to educational professionals by helping students develop a greater understanding of leadership and its importance in today’s dynamic educational systems. Leading to the Wisconsin 03 superintendent license, the concentration focuses on leadership based on strong values and a thorough grasp of educational, fiscal and legal principles. Wisconsin Superintendent Licensure-Only Option

Marian University’s Superintendent Licensure-only program prepares candidates to serve as a superintendent in PK-12 schools in Wisconsin. Leading to the WI #03 Superintendent’s License, the licensure-only program requires the completion of 24 credits and an electronic portfolio. Students may request to apply these 24 credits to the doctoral program if they wish to obtain a Ph.D. at a later date.

We offer convenient classes in Appleton, Fond du Lac, Wausau and West Allis, with courses meeting biweekly during the evenings and on select weekends.

All candidates who are reviewed for admission must have a complete application on file with Leadership Studies Department. The Leadership Studies Admissions Committee thoroughly assesses each complete application to determine which candidates are recommended for the interview portion of the admissions process. Upon completion of the interview, the Leadership Studies Admissions Committee recommends admission to the faculty

Application Procedure

  • Completed Doctor of Philosophy Admission Application;
  • Official transcripts sent directly from each college/university attended;
  • Official TOEFL scores (international students only);
  • Letter of application
  • Current résumé or curriculum vitae;
  • Three letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with the applicant’s academic or work experience; and
  • One sample of scholarly or professional writing.

Admission with Full Standing

To be considered for admission into the doctoral program, the applicant

  • Must hold a master’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) from a regionally or nationally accredited institution.

To be admitted in full standing to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program, in addition to the criteria above, the degree-seeking applicants must have the following:

  • A completed application (all required materials), which meet the minimum criteria as stated on the application.
  • Demonstrated readiness through interview and writing sample
  • Demonstrated performance through successful completion of first six (6) credits of coursework, as approved in provisional admittance.
  • For a superintendent licensure-seeking student, a Wisconsin principal’s license or eligibility to hold such a license.

Admission of International Students

International students are encouraged to apply for admission to the doctoral program; however, additional criteria are required. Refer to the Ph.D. program or University Admissions for details.

Provisional Status

All candidates who are reviewed for admission must have a complete application on file with Leadership Studies Department. The Leadership Studies Admissions Committee thoroughly assesses each complete application to determine which candidates are forwarded for the interview portion of the admissions process. Upon completion of the interview, the Leadership Studies Admissions Committee recommends admission to the faculty. Candidates may be admitted in full standing or allowed to enroll provisionally. Provisional status allows students to demonstrate performance through successful completion of the first six (6) credits of doctoral studies.


Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in all academic coursework and complete the requirements of the degree within eight years after being admitted to the program. If a student drops below the cumulative GPA of 3.0, the student will be placed on Academic Probation and a program of action will be developed in consultation with the academic adviser and the Chair of Leadership Studies Department.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program requires the following:

  • Minimum of 60 credits, including at least 45 credits of coursework above the master’s level and 15 credits of dissertation research; and
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 *
  • Completion of the degree requirements within eight years after admission to the program.
  • Acceptance of a dissertation by Graduate Studies by the posted submission deadlines.

*Grades below “C” are not counted towards degree requirements.

Dr. David Boers
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7179

Dr. Donna Innes, C.S.A.
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7633

Dr. Heather Price
800.262.7426 ext. 8629

Dr. Patrick Saunders
1-800-262-7426 ext. 8556

Dr. Bradd Stucky
1-800-262-7426 ext. 7636


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