BY ERIN COONEY
Sacred Heart University launched a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Program based entirely online. The program allows students to earn their Doctoral degree in three years time.
The program focuses on teaching students the necessary components required to possess social, emotional and academic leadership, also known as “SEAL.” There are many Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership programs in the country, but none specifically focus on SEAL, making Sacred Heart’s program one of a kind.
“What we’re teaching our doctoral students is how to lead schools and school-districts from what we call a “whole-child” perspective. It is very sought after by communities looking to hire principals and superintendents,” said Dr. Michael Alfano, the Dean of The Isabelle Farrington College of Education at Sacred Heart university.
“A doctoral degree is often required to work at the most senior levels within public school systems.” said Alfano.
The program prepares students to handle trauma-sensitive schools and classrooms. The third year of the program includes “The Research Core,” which is a series of classes that provides trained students with an opportunity to complete a Dissertation in Practice.
“We studied the market for similar programs in the state, and country actually, and found none at the doctoral level with a SEAL focus,” said Alfano,“We were very excited about this finding because there is such a need for SEAL within our communities.”
The online program allows professionals to pursue their Doctorate without having to regularly attend class in-person. “We’re targeting very busy working educators and educational leaders working at the k-12 level. By offering the program online, students won’t have to physically come to campus, except for a few exceptions: in order to enroll, participate and benefit from the curriculum,” said Alfano.
“The online approach is a great idea because working adults will not have the time to physically attend class, and the program works around you which I like,” said sophomore Madison Bird.
“For some graduates, they may have aspirations of someday leading a school or school district. The new doctoral program in educational leadership can help graduates reach that goal,” said Alfano. “So, as you can tell, it is possible for undergraduates to start their teaching careers here at SHU and then come back two additional times on their way to reaching the highest levels within the education profession!”
“My goal is to start off teaching in a classroom and then move on to administration. Now that Sacred Heart has a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Program, I will definitely apply for the program when the time comes,” said Bird. “My ideal job is to become the principal of an inner city high school and turn it around. Mainly focusing on sending a large percentage of the children to college.”
This program also allows graduates to use their Doctoral degree in a multitude of ways. Having a PhD can allow graduates to work with non-governmental or philanthropic organizations, as well as federal government policy research.
“We’re confident that the program will be unique while simultaneously meeting a need,” said Alfano.