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Community College Leadership

Degree Type: Doctor of Education
College(s): College of Extended and International Operations

Why Choose the Doctorate in Community College Leadership? - Program Spotlight 

The Doctorate in Community College Leadership program at Ferris began in Summer 2010 and is designed for students who have a master's degree. Its development was in response to the need for leaders in community colleges due to an impending shortage of qualified candidates. A group of nationally recognized leaders initiated this program and guided the development to ensure that the program would meet the needs of 21st century community college leaders. The resulting program is unique in its delivery, with a focus on application grounded in theory. Problem solving based on real institutional issues will be the focus of the courses so that students learn in an environment that mirrors their professional world.

Ferris offers this program in a three-year cohort model with the dissertation integrated into course delivery. Community College Leadership dissertation approaches include project, research and evaluation options. Writing and research support is present from the first course. A hybrid delivery model will provide students an opportunity to meet face-to-face with community college leaders and faculty while providing flexibility with the online component of each course. A practicum experience will also give students an opportunity to work directly in a community college setting in a project that adds value to both the student's learning outcomes and the institution in which the student completes his/her practicum project.

Career Opportunities

An impending shortage of community college leadership candidates is well documented in the literature. Graduates with a doctorate from the Ferris Community College Leadership program will, therefore, have great career options. The wide range of leadership positions includes dean, director, provost, vice president, and president. Graduates will be especially qualified for these positions due to the applied nature and community college focus of the program.

Admission Requirements

The goal of the Community College Leadership Program admission process is to bring together a diverse, and highly qualified cohort of learners. The admission process is designed to select applicants who demonstrate the greatest potential for both successful graduate work and, upon completion, substantive contribution to leadership of community colleges.

Attainment of the minimum requirements is not a guarantee of admission as the number of fully-qualified applicants may exceed the number of openings. Minimum requirements for admission:

1. Completion of a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution
2. A minimum of a 3.25 G.P.A. in the master's program
3. Admission material/interview that demonstrate:

  • likely success in this doctoral program
  • an aspiration for a community college leadership career
  • likely success as community college leader

4. Classes and course activities rely on interactive technologies, including web-based meetings using video and audio (webcam, microphone, high-speed internet.)

Note: GRE scores are not required.

Graduation Requirements

In order to receive the doctorate in Community College Leadership students must:

  • Complete all courses in the program with a grade of B- or greater
  • Complete Comprehensive Interview and Presentation process
  • No grade of C+ or below is acceptable for graduation
  • No more than two grades of C+ or below during enrollment
  • Complete and successfully defend a dissertation within the degree time limit
  • Submit electronic dissertation according to university, FLITE (Ferris Library for Information, Technology, and Education), and program policy

More Information

Information on the doctoral degree program can be found at the Community College Leadership website:

Doctorate in Community College Leadership
410 Oak Street
Alumni Building, Room 115
Big Rapids, MI 49307

Phone: 800-562-9130 or 231-591-2710

Required Courses
Credit Hours

Required Courses

Past, Pres, Future - Comm Coll
Critical Issues in Com College
Foundations - Effective Ldrshp
Lead Organ Trans - Cult Change
Strat Plan/Instit Effectivenes
Qual Resrch Methods/Data Analy
Quan Resrch Methods/Data Analy
Managing Financial Resources
Resource Development
Leveraging Human Resources
Mkt and Community Engagement
Leadership-Teaching & Learning
Creat Cultr Stdnt Lrn Success
Policy and Governance
1 TO 6
Students are enrolled in 1 - 4 credits of IDSL 898 in every semester.  Students complete 15 credits of IDSL 898 by the time of graduation.