Ed.D. in School Improvement
Education Center • 678-839-6062
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Our mission is to develop educators who initiate systemic and sustainable improvements in P-12 education. Graduates will strategically and collaboratively plan, design, implement, and document the impact of educational improvements that promote and increase the academic achievement and social development of all students.
The Doctoral Program in School Improvement, which has existed for 14 years, is delivered as an online program. The program serves students in Georgia and across the United States and internationally. Using a cohort model, students are admitted one time each year, with classes beginning in the summer semester. In the first summer session, the program requires a multi-day visit to the Carrollton campus for a focused, face-to-face orientation to the program. A return visit to campus is required during the second summer for the intensive Dissertation Prep Summer Institute. The remainder of the coursework is delivered online, some synchronously, and the use of a wide variety of technologies ensures that students stay connected to members of their cohort and their professors.
The focus of the program is the development of leaders at all levels of education who will be prepared to lead reform and change efforts in schools. It is important to note that the target audience for this program is comprised of educators at a variety of levels. These include classroom teachers, special educators, counselors, school-based social workers, building-level administrators, and district-level administrators.
There are only a handful of programs throughout the United States that offer degrees in school improvement, and even fewer that do so at the doctoral level. In this era of high-stakes educational accountability, states, school districts, and individual professional educators are in great need of developing the knowledge and skills that will enable them to implement change in the schools they serve. We are excited to develop leaders who transform schools.
The core coursework in the School Improvement program falls within three curricular strands:
Teaching and Learning (9 hours)
- Courses include Models of School Improvement, Instructional Leadership that Facilitates School Improvement, and Models of Professional Development.
Leadership for School Improvement (9 hours)
- Courses include Leadership for Diversity in the 21st Century, Policy Analysis for School Improvement and Leadership for Change.
Research and the Effective Use of Data (15 hours)
- Courses include School Improvement through Data-Driven Decision Making, Quantitative Methods for School Improvement, Qualitative Methods for School Improvement, Action Research for Change I, and Action Research for Change II.
The Core also includes the following:
- AoC (Area of Concentration) (12 credit hours)
- Dissertation (9 credit hours)
- Dissertation Mentoring I, II, and III (2 credit hours each)
- The School Improvement Orientation (no credit)
- The Dissertation Prep Summer Institute (no credit).
- Complete the online application for graduate studies. The online application requires a $40.00 non-refundable application fee.
- Send official GRE scores (Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning) to UWG. Scores must be dated July 1, 2008 or more recent to be accepted.
- International applicants must follow procedures and timelines of the UWG International Office.
US mail one complete packet to:
The University of West Georgia
COE Graduate Studies
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton, GA 30118
Attn: Deanna Richards
What is Returned in the Mailed Packet?
- Signed Mission Statement
- Three Letters of Recommendation: (Must use this form). At least one of the letters must be from a current or past supervisor.
- Vitae: A vitae listing education and employment history, experience with school improvement, and awards and recognitions. Provide your current and complete contact information, including an active e-mail address.
- Official Transcripts: Request official transcripts from institution(s) that you have attended. Place the transcripts in this packet in their original, sealed envelopes (it cannot be treated as official if it has been opened).
- Essay: Complete a 750-1,000 word essay that discusses your professional goals related to school improvement. In your essay, include any literature (e.g., research article) that has informed your professional practice or otherwise influenced you. (Include appropriate APA citations.)
You will receive notice upon receipt of your mailed packet. Incomplete packets will be returned to sender and will not be considered.
Finalists will be selected for a telephone or Skype interview.
Transfer of Credits
In the EDSI doctoral program, a maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred from another accredited institution or applied from previous coursework at the University of West Georgia, subject to the following conditions:
- work must have been completed within seven years of the date of admission to the Ed.D. degree program;
- work must have been applicable toward a graduate degree at the institution where the credit was earned;
- the coursework must be approved by the student's advisor, the Ed.D. Director, and the Director of Graduate Studies.
- courses must have been taken post Master's degree; (normally 7000 level courses or above)
- the courses must meet the thematic requirements for the AoC; and
- a grade of B or higher must have been earned in the coursework.
AoC (Area of Concentration)
The Area of Concentration (or AoC) in the School Improvement program provides a specialized, thematic concentration to the student's studies. Made up of 12 credit hours of electives and the student's dissertation, the AoC comprises a student's focus within the program. Specific AoC's are developed in conjunction with various departments within the College of Education at the University of West Georgia. Currently, the available AoC's include:
- School Counseling
- Educational Leadership
- K-12 Online Learning
- Instructional Technology
- Media Specialist
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL's)
- Special Education (General Curriculum)
For Georgia Student’s only
The Doctor of School Improvement Degree is approved by the Georgia PSC for a certifi-cate upgrade for students who enter the program with Georgia certification in Educational Leadership, English to Speakers of Other Languages, Media Specialist, Reading, School Counseling, and/or Special Education General Curriculum.
The following conditions/restrictions apply:
- The student must enter the program with the qualifying certification area already on their Georgia certificate as a clear renewable field,
- The student must select the applicable, qualifying certification area as their minimum 12-hour Area of Concentration. In order to receive a certification upgrade as a part of the Ed. D. in School Improvement, the hours must be taken at UWG as a part of this degree program,
- Educational Leadership students must meet the specific position requirements, and
- The program does not lead to initial certification.
In addition to the University of West Georgia academic requirements, the Doctor of School Improvement Program uses a student review process to monitor student progress within the Ed. D. program.
Each student is reviewed regularly regarding the following:
- Academic progress and standards,
- Ethical, legal, and professional standards and performance in the program, and
- Progress on major program assessments.
Students not performing at the required level, not making significant progress toward completion of the dissertation, or judged to be in noncompliance with the ethical, legal, and professional standards of the program will be notified, and may face action which includes but is not limited to completing a Student Development Plan, placement on academic or other probation, or dismissal from the program.