State Gives Approval for JSU's Third Doctoral Program


Area teachers participate in training on campus in 2019. Photo by Grace Cockrell.

by Buffy Lockette

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education has cleared the way for Jacksonville State University to offer its third doctoral degree, the Doctor of Education (EdD) in educational leadership.

The interdisciplinary degree program is designed to foster creativity and diversity of thought among scholars working in or studying the field of education. It will prepare educational leaders in P-12 schools, postsecondary education and other educational/community settings.

"The approval of the EdD in educational leadership exemplifies the state's confidence in JSU's ability to produce educational leaders at the highest level of preparation," said Dr. Kimberly Gaiters-White, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. "Our faculty and staff are excited for the opportunity to expand educator preparation beyond P-12 and assist in the preparation of educational leaders for our post-secondary institutions in the state and beyond."

Pending approval from the university's accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the university will begin enrolling students in Spring 2023. The 60-hour degree program will consist of coursework in four areas: 18 hours in educational foundations and environments, 18 hours in research and inquiry, 18 hours of electives and six dissertation hours. The hybrid program will be delivered 90 percent online, built around the needs of working professionals.

"This doctorate builds on the quality education programs for which JSU is known to deliver, and will offer a terminal degree option requested frequently by our graduates," said Dr. Christie Shelton, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "This is such an exciting time for the College of Education and Professional Studies as they continue to advance degree opportunities for the area."

The degree will become the third doctoral program offered by Jacksonville State. In 2010, the university established its first doctorate degree, the Doctor of Science in emergency management, followed by the Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2017. Admission requirements and enrollment information will be available following SACSCOC approval, which is expected within a few months.