Chair's Welcome

Tom Poetter

Welcome to the Department of Educational Leadership, where we prepare students to develop educational practices and communities that are committed to institutional and community transformation, equity, and social justice. Our interest is in the study of education and leadership across educational K-16 systems. Faculty and students in the department share a common interest in linking research and practice, in the intellectual study of schools, as well as in the cultural, social, and political contexts of schools, colleges/universities, and their communities.

The overarching areas of focus for graduate programs are K-12 educational leadership and leadership in student affairs in higher education. Our department offers master’s degrees in School Leadership, Transformative Education, and Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE). We also offer three doctoral degrees: Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Leadership, Curriculum and Culture; Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Interdisciplinary Studies; and a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership. Two K-12 administrative licensure programs are also offered through the department. Our graduate coursework is primarily based in the content areas of K-12 schooling and higher education viewed through different cultural and theoretical lenses including critical race theory, feminist studies, organizational and leadership theory, student development theory, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and the history of education.

Our graduates follow professional paths including administrative positions as a college president or school superintendent, consultant, school founder, teacher leader or supervisor, school principal, college professor or student affairs professional. Many of our graduate students come to us as a part of a life or career change or to follow, more deeply, an intellectual interest. Recent studies in EDL have developed research interests in such topics as youth culture and educational practice, math and science education, women in educational leadership, African American spirituality in education, school community partnerships and service learning and civic activism.

The areas of focus for our undergrad programs include educational studies (major), community leadership (minor), outdoor leadership (certificate), and critical youth studies (thematic sequence).  We also sponsor a number of courses housed in the Division of Student Affairs in the areas of leadership, service learning, career development and university life. Undergraduate alumni pursue careers in the education and non-profit sectors, educational policy research, youth programming, and other areas.

Please feel free to visit our main office in 304 McGuffey Hall, or contact any of our faculty or staff with further questions.


Department Chair
Thomas Poetter

Director of Graduate Studies – K-12
Joel Malin

Director of Graduate Studies – SAHE
Elisa Abes

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Durell Callier

Administrative Assistant
Angela Gentry