Concordia doctorate

Concordia University Wisconsin’s School of Education is one accreditation step away from launching a new doctorate degree designed for leaders, innovators, and “doers” in an array of professional vocations.

Pending a final approval, the Doctorate of Education of Leadership in Innovation and Continuous Improvement (EdD LICI) program will begin in fall 2018 with up to 16 students.

The 60-credit, three-year program is an online degree, with two residency requirements. It comprises three core areas: leadership, research, and improvement science and innovation. Students are also afforded the opportunity to customize their learning experience with a fourth, elective area.

Already, the program has been fully approved by the Concordia University System Board, and earlier this month, the Higher Learning Commission—the regional accreditation body for Concordia—completed a focused site visit, during which they gave the post-graduate program glowing reviews.

Director of Graduate Education Dr. James Pingel II, who serves as the faculty lead for the program development, says the HLC reviewers were “very impressed” by the program design, as well as the LICI steering committee and faculty team. The HLC Site Team praised the doctorate as “one of a kind,” calling it something that is “desperately needed in higher education today.”

The final requisite step of the accreditation process is a review by the Institutional Actions Committee, which convenes in June.

“We have full confidence we’ll pass this final step, and I’m so excited for Concordia to begin offering this unique degree,” says Pingel. “It’s the type of degree program I wish I could have enrolled in myself—functional, flexible, and faithful to Concordia’s mission.”

While there are other doctorates that focus on education leadership and administration, Concordia’s degree is unique in composition, learning objectives, flexibility, customization, and market demand, says Pingel.

The program also boasts other distinctive features.

  • Cross-disciplinary approach: Arguably the most unique part of the degree—which the LICI steering committee and faculty team has dubbed its “secret sauce” —is its cross-disciplinary approach. The program welcomes students with diverse professional backgrounds, including professionals in business, health professions, pharmacy, nursing, and education. The curriculum incorporates best practices from each of these fields of study, ensuring students will develop and enhance skills that are transferable to almost any personal and professional vocation.
  • CU advising touch points for dissertation completion: With a focus on helping students complete their dissertation within three years, the program encourages students to begin the process early. New students will be assigned a Dissertation Chair and will begin the dissertation process within the first weeks of the program. Constant and regular touchpoints and interactions between the Dissertation Advisor and student are built into the program journey.
  • Taught from a Biblical worldview: While students of various backgrounds and faiths will be exposed to many different viewpoints in the program, instructors and curriculum will also present content and best practices aligned with Concordia’s mission and core values.

The inaugural EdD LICI cohort will begin this fall with a required four-day residency from Aug. 9-12. Concordia will also look to launch a spring cohort, with a residency taking place Jan. 3-6, 2019.

For more information or to apply, contact Amber Schiessl, director of graduate enrollment, at or 262-243-4551.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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