Educational Leadership  {SF State Bulletin 2011 - 2012}

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Educational Leadership

Graduate College of Education

Dean: Jacob E. Perea


Educational Leadership

BH 521
Phone: 415-405-4103

Director: Robert Gabriner, Ed.D.
Graduate Coordinator: Norena Norton Badway, Ph.D.


Special Education

BH 156
Phone: 415-338-1161

Chair: Nicholas Certo, Ph.D.
Co-Directors: Marci Hanson (SF State) and Anne Cunningham (UC Berkeley)
Advisers: Certo, Courey, Filippini, Hanson, Hong, Hsia, Hunt, LePage, Lueck, Paillard, Prinz, Robinson, Rosen, Soto, Wolfberg



Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

Ph.D. in Education: Concentration in Special Education



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership

The Ed.D. in educational leadership is an intensive multidisciplinary three-year program implemented at SF State to accommodate the needs of working professionals and maximize the use of multidisciplinary faculty expertise in the San Francisco Metropolitan Bay Area. The Ed.D. in educational leadership immerses its students in an exploration of critical challenges with which P-12 school district and community college educational leaders must grapple with, while providing enriching educational opportunities that are available only in dynamic urban and transitioning communities. The aim of the program is to prepare outstanding educational leaders who will create transformational change and promote equity and scholastic achievement in both the P-12 school districts and community colleges located in the nine counties that constitute the San Francisco Metropolitan Bay Area.


The innovative curriculum for the Ed.D. in educational leadership addresses five major categories: leadership and systemic reform; learning, curriculum and assessment; equity, diversity, and structural inequality; educational program administration; and research activities.


The distinctive features of the Ed.D. in educational leadership may be summarized as follows:

  • It is a three-year multidisciplinary course of study that culminates in a doctoral degree in educational leadership (Ed.D.) with specializations in P-12 and community college leadership.
  • Course scheduling will accommodate the needs of working professionals. Course work is offered during the summer and on weekends during fall and spring semesters.
  • The student cohort model provides ongoing support and builds professional networking opportunities among peers.
  • P-12 school district and community college-based residencies, job-embedded, and problem-based learning are integral to the program.
  • Dissertation research addresses real issues in diverse educational settings.
  • Moral visions of equity and diversity are incorporated into all aspects of the program.
  • Multidisciplinary and distinguished faculty expertise promote high quality educational research and practice.
  • Substantial community partnerships with P-12 and community college leaders address regional needs through their active involvement in program design, candidate recruitment and admissions, teaching, and program assessment and evaluation (Senate Bill 724, Chapter 269, Statutes of 2005; Summary of Provisions, by CSU Chancellor’s Office).


Admission Requirements

The program encourages individuals to apply who have a background, experience and/or potential in educational leadership who seek a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in educational leadership with a specialization in P-12 or community college leadership.


The program requires the following of applicants for admission:

  • A baccalaureate degree and master's degree from accredited institutions of higher education with a cumulative grade point average in graduate study of 3.0 or above.
  • Demonstrated competence in writing as determined by the Ed.D. Program and Graduate Studies at SF State (applicants must score a 4.0 or above on the analytical writing portion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE); conditional admission may be offered to applicants with lower GRE writing scores.)
  • Non-native speakers of English, must submit a score 590 on the written test; 243 on computer-based or internet-based test;, 96 on the computer TOEFL, or 7.0 on the IELTS.
  • Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores on the three sections of the General Test; GRE scores from the previous five (5) years are acceptable as valid for this purpose.
  • Sufficient preparation and experience in educational leadership to benefit from the Ed.D. program;
  • Demonstrated educational leadership potential and skills including successful experience in school, postsecondary, community, and/or policy leadership.
  • Demonstrated academic excellence, problem-solving ability, technology proficiency, and interest in critically assessing and bringing about improvements to current educational policies and practices.
  • Professional resume, including whether the applicant has proficiency in a second language although a second language is not required.
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the leadership and scholarship potential of the candidate (applicants who will specialize as P-12 educational leaders are expected to have one of these letters address their effectiveness as a classroom instructor).
  • A written personal statement reflecting an understanding of the challenges facing the public schools or community colleges/institutions of higher education in California (applicants who will specialize as P-12 educational leaders are also expected to include their experiences as classroom instructors).
  • Submission of a statement of time commitment to complete the Ed.D. program within three years.
  • A statement of support for the candidate’s doctoral studies from his/her employer or, in cases where this is not provided, an indication of the candidate’s plan for meeting the demands of the program and his/her professional responsibilities.
  • A personal interview with the Admissions Committee.


Students are expected to be admitted with a Tier I Credential when they plan to earn a Tier II Credential (Professional Clear Administrative Services). Meeting the minimum requirements qualifies an individual for consideration, but does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission will be granted on a competitive basis. The Ed.D. in educational leadership will not include a foreign language requirement.


Program Requirements

Criteria for Continuation in the Program

  • Student are expected to maintain satisfactory progress toward approved academic objectives.
  • Students must advance to candidacy and complete all courses and examinations satisfactorily.
  • Student's are expected to make progress in accordance with the Ed.D. cohort structure and program of study.
  • Students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
  • Students may not have a grade point average below 3.0 in two successive quarters.
  • Students must pass all required examinations within two attempts.


Unit Requirements

The program expects the following of students in completing unit requirements:

  • The curriculum shall be organized as a cohort-based program and shall include learning experiences that balance research, theory, and practice. The core curriculum shall provide professional preparation for leadership, including but not limited to theory and research methods, the structure and culture of education, and leadership in curriculum and instruction, equity, and assessment.
  • The pattern of study shall be composed of at least 60 semester units earned in graduate status. At least four-fifths of the units required for the degree shall be in courses organized primarily for doctoral students. The remaining units shall be in courses organized primarily for doctoral students or courses organized primarily for master’s and doctoral students.
  • At least 42 semester units shall be completed in residence at SF State. The graduate coordinator may authorize the substitution of credit earned by alternate means for part of this residence requirement.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 (grade of B) or better shall be maintained in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree, except that a course in which no letter grade is assigned shall not be used in computing the grade point average.
  • No more than 12 semester units shall be allowed for a dissertation.


Summary of Ed.D. Courses by Curriculum Category

Category 1: Leadership and Systemic Reform (total 4 classes)

Course Title
EDDL 910 Transformational Leadership and Coalition Building
EDDL 911 Organizational Behavior, Ethics, and Systemic Reform
EDDL 945 Communication Techniques and Strategies in Educational Leadership
EDDL 961 Seminar: American Education Leadership

Total units for Category 1: 12


Category 2: Learning, Curriculum, and Assessment (total 4 classes)

Course Title
EDDL 920 Literacy and English Language Learners
EDDL 921 Theories of Learning and Student Development in Math and Science
EDDL 962 Seminar: Analyzing Critical Curricular Issues
EDDL 964 Research Seminar: Analyzing Critical Issues in Teaching and Learning

Total units for category 2: 12


Category 3: Equity, Diversity, and Structural Inequality (total 3 classes)

Course Title
EDDL 930 Qualitative Analysis of Race, Class, and Gender in Society and Education
EDDL 931 Quantitative Analysis of Structural Inequality in Education
EDDL 932 Transformational Strategies to Address Inequality in Education and Society

Total units for Category 3: 9


Category 4: Educational Program Administration (total 4 classes)

Course Title
EDDL 940 Policy, Law, and the Political Economy of Education
EDDL 941 Accountability and Performance of Educational Organizations
EDDL 942 Integrated Planning and Budgeting
EDDL 944 Human Resources Management

Total units for Category 4: 12


Category 5: Research Activities (total 4 classes)

Course Title
EDDL 963 Research Seminar: Linking Theory and Practice
EDDL 965 Research Seminar: Dissertation Research Design
EDDL 966 Research Seminar: Dissertation Data Collection
EDDL 998 Dissertation Seminar (3 units each, repeatable for up to 9 credits)

Total units for Category 5: 15 - 18


Program Milestones

Although students continuously self-reflect and receive feedback from faculty on their learning, there are three formal milestone assessments during the Ed.D. program:

  • The initial milestone occurs after the first year of coursework, when the student presents a portfolio of her/his expected research problem, the context in which the problem occurs, and a review of relevant research.
  • The next milestone occurs at the end of the second year of coursework, when the student presents a proposal for conducting research related to a significant problem or issue in P-12 or community college/ postsecondary education.
  • The final milestone is the culmination of the student’s dissertation research, in which the student presents an oral defense of her/his written manuscript.


During years two and three, the dissertation research will normally focus on a significant professional problem or issue and have the potential to contribute—generally or in the context of a particular educational institution—to improvement of public P-12 or community college/postsecondary education. Work in support of the dissertation is embedded throughout the Ed.D. curriculum. However, formal dissertation research is subject to passage of the dissertation proposal examination and human subjects approval by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS). The dissertation must demonstrate a strong scholarly and professional foundation of knowledge on the part of the student and the ability to apply this knowledge to rigorous study of P-12 or community college/postsecondary education.


Contact Information

For application details, please visit the Ed.D. in educational leadership web site:

Dr. Robert Gabriner, Director,
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, BH 521
San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone: 415-405-4103
Fax: 415-338-7019


Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Concentration in Special Education

The Ph.D. in special education is a joint doctoral program within the College of Education, San Francisco State University and the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley. The doctoral committee is co-directed by a faculty member from each campus who functions in consultation with the Executive Committee composed of faculty members from both campuses. Student performance and competencies are required to meet the scholarly requirements of the Graduate Studies Divisions of both institutions.


Members of the faculty from SF State are primarily from the Department of Special Education, which represents multiple areas relating to people with disabilities. Faculty from departments such as psychology, sociology, social work, ethnic studies, and English are also available to work with doctoral students. The majority of the Berkeley faculty come from the Graduate School of Education and includes faculty from each of the major divisions: education, language, literacy, and culture; cognition and development; policy, organization, measurement, and evaluation; and social and cultural studies. In addition, faculty from several associated fields such as psychology, linguistics, public health, optometry, anthropology, public policy, social welfare, and social and behavioral sciences also participate in the program. Students are assigned a primary adviser from each campus.


Admission Requirements

The program encourages individuals to apply who have a background and experience in special education-as well as those from related disciplines in the social, behavioral, and health sciences-who seek leadership and research training. In addition to the academic criteria for admission, consideration is given to successful experience working with individuals with disabilities or in programs serving this population. Students without sufficient preparation and experience in special education will be considered for admission and required to enroll in prerequisite foundation course work.


Selection Criteria

The major factors used in selection of candidates are: (1) undergraduate grade point average; (2) graduate grade point average; (3) verbal and quantitative scores on the Graduate Record Examination, taken within the last five years (the GRE must be taken no later than the October test date preceding the admission deadline for fellowship applicants and no later than the December test date for applicants not applying for fellowships); (4) letters of recommendation; (5) statement of purpose which describes interests and research questions motivating the candidate to apply to the program; (6) writing sample (i.e., research paper, publication, etc.); (7) academic training and related professional experience in special education; and (8) personal interview.


Application Procedures

Applications must be submitted to both campuses (SF State and UCB). For SF State, applicants must submit only copies of all parts of the UCB application, including one set of official transcripts, a goal statement, a writing sample, GRE scores within the last five years, and a resume. Applicants do not apply to SF State Graduate Admissions until admission decisions are completed at the department level. For UCB, follow instructions outlined in the Graduate School of Education application and the Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships. Contact SF State campus for the annual December application deadline:, (415) 338-1161.


Applications are required by each campus: Department of Special Education, Joint Doctoral Program, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132; telephone: (415) 338-1161;; and Graduate School of Education, Student Academic Services Office, 4307 Tolman Hall, #1670, University of California, Berkeley, CA  94720-1670; telephone: (510) 643-6871; UCB applications are available after August 1.


Areas of Specialization

In conjunction with the primary advisers, students will select a course of study which is congruent with their professional development goals and previous course work and experience. Students select three areas of specialization in consultation with the primary advisers. These three areas are to represent three distinct areas of study and represent substantial and different bodies of relevant literature. A minimum of three courses or nine units is required in each area of specialization, not including directed or independent study. At least one of the three areas of study must be completed at the opposite campus.


Students select an area of academic specialization in both special and general education. Faculty and program resources on the two campuses are used to develop advanced knowledge of theory and research in an area of exceptionality. Specializations include: human development; language and literacy; bilingualism; technology; educational policy and administration; early childhood; mild to moderate disabilities; moderate to severe disabilities; autism; visual impairments; and other areas selected by students in consultation with faculty advisers. Students develop three areas of emphasis or specialization within their program.


Students who are accepted into the program and who have minimal or no academic course work in special education will be required to enroll in prerequisite foundation courses. These courses are taken primarily at the SF State campus.


Normative Time for Program The normative time for completion of the doctoral degree is six years. Two years of full-time residence is required.


Enrollment Enrollment is required on a year-to-year basis between the two campuses. Payment of fees on one campus permits the student to take course work and utilize the facilities of the other campus at no additional charge. Students may elect courses from any department or college on either campus each semester. Core courses are completed within the first two years in the program.


Pre-qualifying Review The prequalifying review for the doctoral degree consists of the approval of three position papers, one of which is an empirical paper, and a dissertation prospectus. The position papers cover the areas of specialization and should demonstrate theoretical competence in the field of academic preparation as applied to problems of educational significance and competence in research methods. Students are encouraged to pursue an internship in research or in university-level teaching.


Qualifying Examination The qualifying examination is an oral examination of two to three hours duration. The examination committee is comprised of at least three members representing each campus. From UC, Berkeley, one member is from the Graduate School of Education and one member from outside the school. From SF State, at least one member is from the Department of Special Education. The student, in consultation with the primary adviser, selects members of the oral examination committee. The chairperson of the committee may be a member from either campus. The passing of the oral examination is prerequisite to advancement to candidacy.


Advancement to Candidacy Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student advances to candidacy and submits a dissertation proposal. Advancement to candidacy occurs by the end of the semester following the completion of the qualifying examination. A dissertation committee, comprised of faculty members representing both campuses, is formed. One member must be outside the UCB School of Graduate Education. The student selects the committee and requests a faculty member from each campus to serve as co-chair. The approval of the dissertation proposal and completion of the dissertation results in the award of a doctoral degree.


Program Requirements

SF State Core Courses

Course Title
SPED 902 Seminar in Program Development (1)
SPED 903 Research in Special Education: Program Design and Analysis (3)
SPED 907 Learning and Development: Influence on Disabilities (3)
SPED 909 Current Issues in Special Education (3)


UCB Core Courses

Course Title
Cognitive Development
EDUC 205
Instruction and Development
Cognition, Learning, and Instruction:
Childhood and Adolescence

An approved alternative:

Course Title
EDUC 293A Data Analysis in Educational Research
EDUC 293L Educational Data Analysis Laboratory


The total number of units required for the doctoral program ranges from 45 - 53 units.


During participation in the doctoral program, students need to enroll in a minimum of 3 units at SF State and 12 units at U.C. Berkeley each semester. Additional course work at SF State includes the following doctoral level courses, as well as additional graduate level courses in special education under advisement.


Course Title Units
SPED 905 University-level Teaching Internship 3
SPED 906 University-level Research Internship 3
SPED 908 Directed Studies: Special Topics 3
SPED 910 Current Research Issues in Special Education 3
SPED 998 Dissertation in Special Education 3


Note: At SF State, doctoral candidates repeat enrollment in SPED 908 each semester with their primary advisor. Following advancement to candidacy, the doctoral candidate enrolls in SPED 998 each semester with the chair, or co-chair, of their dissertation committee.


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