ESU Receives Approval for First-Ever Doctorate Program
The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education approved a doctor of education in Educational Leadership and Administration for East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania on April 6. This 60-credit Ed.D. is the first doctorate program in the 123-year history of the institution.
“This is a proud day for us at East Stroudsburg University,” said ESU President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D. “We’re confident that this new offering will attract leaders in education to fill a well-established critical need in the region, particularly given the challenges of shrinking budgets and demanding professional standards. Earning these credentials enables educators to impact education, and therefore the region and state, through leadership and critical thinking.”
The Board of Governor’s decision is a significant next step. The final step takes place next month (May 2016) when the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) evaluates ESU’s substantive change request to review and approve the new Ed.D. program in order for it to be included within the scope of the University’s accreditation. Pending MSCHE approval, ESU will be allowed to launch the doctoral program during the 2016-2017 academic year.
Since 2000, ESU has offered this program in collaboration with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), the only State System university approved to offer doctoral degrees. That restriction was lifted in 2012 with the passage of Pennsylvania’s Higher Education Modernization Act (Act 104), which permitted all State System universities to propose and offer professional doctoral degrees. Because of the demonstrated need for the Ed.D. in educational leadership and administration and ESU’s ability to support the doctoral program, both institutions agreed that ESU should develop its own degree. The program’s curriculum, closely modeled on the IUP program, has been fully approved through ESU’s university-wide curriculum committee.
Housed in the College of Education and offered by the department of professional and secondary education, the new doctoral program’s courses will be taught primarily by ESU faculty with supporting temporary faculty with specific industry specializations for certain courses. Students in the existing ESU/IUP program will have the choice to continue with IUP or move into the ESU program. Both ESU and IUP have kept the students best interest at the forefront of the new program development and are committed to assisting students to complete their programs.
“ESU’s doctorate is designed to enhance leadership and administrative skills of PreK-16 leaders,” said ESU Provost Joanne Bruno, J.D. “The Ed.D. is grounded in the belief that effective administrators play a key role in advancing their institutions and the students they serve. This program has been a long time coming, particularly for the members of ESU’s faculty and administration who have partnered to see this program come to fruition.”
According to Douglas Lare, Ed.D., professor of professional and secondary education and doctoral program coordinator, the ESU/IUP partnership program maintained strong enrollments throughout its 15-year existence. The partnership program used a cohort model with new cohorts entering the program every other year. Lare, who has played a key role in the development of ESU’s doctoral curriculum, added that ESU’s doctoral program will be vigorously documented, measured and assessed through an ongoing analysis of student performance data to ensure the program will continue to align with the educational standards required by state and national accreditation agencies.
Terry Barry, Ed.D., dean of ESU’s College of Education, noted that while the new doctoral degree will be housed in the department of professional and secondary education, there will be thoughtful collaboration and interdisciplinary involvement across the colleges with outside agencies providing opportunities for internships, research studies and other practitioner-based requirements.
ESU’s new program is among five that were approved by the Board of Governors today. These programs represent the State System universities’ latest efforts to address the changing needs of students and employers in Pennsylvania and beyond. In just the last five years, the 14 universities combined have introduced nearly 300 new degree and certificate programs and minors and reorganized and updated 100 others, as required skill sets have evolved. At the same time, the universities have either placed in moratorium or discontinued more than 400 programs that are no longer in demand. ESU has plans to propose a second professional doctoral of health sciences program in health policy and administration once the Ed.D. is fully approved.
“We continue to evolve our system in a way that addresses the changing needs of both students and employers,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “Each of the programs approved today was developed in response to specific demands in the workforce, and with the desire to ensure our students’ success in their careers beyond graduation.”
The 14 State System universities have significantly expanded their array of academic programs as they have grown from their historic beginnings as teachers’ colleges into comprehensive regional universities. The universities today offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas.