Program Design

The Program

The Sage Educational Leadership Program offers a  27 month program that combines both research and practice.  It is designed for those currently in leadership roles who are ready to extend their responsibilities or for those who are interested in an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills with other like-minded leaders.   All students will immerse themselves in a community of  practitioner -scholars who will collaboratively examine current issues and research. 

Course content blends the work of some of the most foundational researchers in the field of education with that of contemporary research.  These readings and texts are the lens through which students will collaboratively student contemporary issues in school districts. 

Students can expect a highly engaging program that blends robust classroom discussions, written reflections, field experience work  and scholarly writing that supports students in the synthesis of their own evolving theory of learning and leading.


During this component of the doctoral program, candidates will be assigned at least two educational systems of varying socioeconomic status, one of which may be the organization in which they are employed. This field experience will be directly integrated with core courses over a twelve month cycle and will be guided by Sage faculty and executive coaches, who are doctorally prepared current and former educational system leaders.   It is a critical aspect of the program that candidates study the annual cycle of demands on educational system leaders. 

Doctoral Research

During the final year of the program, candidates will complete a doctoral research project.  Individual research is also part of a team research effort of four or fewer candidates.  The culminating activity for candidates will be the presentation of research at a Research Colloquium with guests from invited school districts, statewide organizations, policy leaders, and future and past cohort members.

The research problems may be proposed by candidates, leaders of partnership school districts or organizations, and members of the Sage faculty.  Problems will be selected and teams assigned to the research during the third semester.  The responsibilities for each candidate will then be identified by the team with the approval of the committee chair and team leaders. Faculty evaluate the individual components and the team project in entirety.

Executive Coaching

Candidates will be taught by the program faculty who will be joined by experts from the field and by carefully selected adjuncts to provide the mix of theory and practice for the program.  Each candidate will be assigned an executive coach upon admission to the program.  This individual will work with the candidate throughout the program.  The coach will assist with the preparation of the Leadership Assessment Plan, act as liaison for the field experience, and participate with the identification of a research problem.  Candidates will rely on the coach for guidance during the research process and will benefit from the coach an additional advocate for counsel in career advancement.