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EdD, Performance Improvement Leadership

School of Public Service and Education

The EdD in Performance Improvement Leadership specialization is designed for experienced career professionals who wish to pursue leadership roles such as chief learning officer, training director, professor, performance improvement specialist, or manager of learning and performance improvement. Throughout the specialization, learners broaden and deepen their understanding of both strategic and tactical issues that are important to the success of any performance improvement intervention. Learners gain knowledge necessary to excel as scholar-practitioners, and apply advanced skills in innovative and critical thinking, research, and problem solving. The curriculum is based on the human performance improvement standards and models from the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and aligned with the Association for Talent Development (ATD) model. Learners have the opportunity to conduct an ROI impact study as their doctoral project and apply for an ROI Professional Certification from the ROI Institute. In addition, course competencies are designed to support application for the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) credential from the International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI). These specialization requirements are not designed or intended to meet professional licensure requirements for the education profession.

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Core courses:

Foundations of Doctoral Studies in Education

In this course, learners gain understanding of the EdD program and insights into how cycles of inquiry and systems thinking are utilized to address problems of practice. Additionally, learners engage in critical thinking and communication while reflecting on their own personal learning and growth. Must be taken during the learner's first quarter.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
The Dynamics of Organizational Improvement

This course provides an introduction to fundamental systems principles and skills of leadership in organizations with a focus on continuous organizational learning and improvement processes. Learners apply personal values and behaviors and those of organizations. Learners use basic principles of systems thinking, systems mapping, and approaches to inquiry cycles in relation to leadership processes and organizational change. In addition, learners apply disciplines of learning organizations and a change model to a problem of practice to real-world leadership challenges.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8030 *
Investigating Problems of Practice

In this course, learners examine continuous improvement models, engage in an inquiry cycle, develop skills of data and information literacy, and collaborate with stakeholders to assess organizational needs and dynamics. Learners identify an organizational issue, collect and analyze relevant data, and develop valid inferences. Learners document the process utilized to tell the story of their research as a way to effectively share with stakeholders. This course requires obtaining an organizational site and completing site-based-related assignments.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8010, EDD8020. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8040 *
Research Design for Practitioners

In this course, learners are introduced to research approaches, designs, and methods with a focus on the needs of educational leaders. Learners assess conceptual and theoretical foundations of quantitative, qualitative, and action research designs and analyze a variety of research literature and journal articles through the lens of a practitioner. Learners acquire the knowledge necessary to assess the applicability of research and theoretical literature to practice and become critical consumers of research. Learners apply course concepts to the design of an action research study relevant to the learner’s organization.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8030. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8050 *
Data Literacy for Leaders

In this course, learners apply the data literacy skills required by leaders for effective organizational planning, decision making, and communication with stakeholders. Learners examine skills such as data interpretation, data aggregation and disaggregation, transformation of data, use of multiple data sources, analysis, statistical techniques, and selection of appropriate metrics for the intended purpose. Learners also utilize technology to process data and present and communicate results. Prerequisite(s): EDD8040.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses:

Introduction to Training and Performance Systems

This course is an overview of training and human performance improvement (HPI). Learners review the evolution of HPI through the introduction of associated theories, concepts, and processes. Learners experience the power and value of HPI in organizations by reviewing and assessing real-world projects that include business, performance, gap and cause analyses, intervention selection and implementation, and change and evaluation plans.  Prerequisite(s): ED5010 or EDD8010 or HRM5002.  Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Needs Assessment: Models and Procedures

This course is a survey of the needs assessment models and procedures used to diagnose the causes of organizational performance problems. Learners design and develop needs assessment instruments and collect and analyze data to differentiate organizational performance issues that require training solutions from those that require non-training interventions.  Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED7675 *
Return on Investment in Training and Performance Improvement

Learners in this course use a return-on-investment (ROI) methodology to develop a plan to measure the impact of an intervention. The process model includes evaluation planning, data collection, data analysis, and reporting. The course provides learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct an impact study and support achievement of ROI Certification from the ROI Institute.  Prerequisite(s): ED7631, ED7641; or EDD8534, EDD8536 .  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
EDD8534 *
Designing, Delivering, and Managing Human Performance Improvement Interventions

In this course, learners design effective solutions to resolve human performance problems in organizations. Learners apply the procedure and tools needed to select, design, and evaluate interventions to improve performance. The design and delivery process incorporates both training and non-training interventions, including electronic approaches. Prerequisite(s): ED7631, ED7641.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8536 *
Implementing and Sustaining Organizational Change

Learners in this course are immersed in the professional literature to provide the knowledge and skills needed to manage and control changes designed to improve organizational performance. The course is designed to prepare learners to initiate a planning process that includes the process, tools, and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business outcome.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8534.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

Upon completion of all required coursework:

EDD9951 *
EdD Doctoral Project 1

In this course, learners collaborate with stakeholders at their doctoral project sites to collect evidence and share relevant literature to identify and frame a chosen problem of practice. Learners demonstrate inquiry, analysis, communication, and leadership skills as well as the ability to evaluate and interpret organizational data to determine performance gaps and root causes. Learners increase knowledge and understanding of a problem and the factors that impact it in order to develop a problem statement for their doctoral project. Learners also secure the commitment of their project site to conduct their applied improvement project. Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): EDD8050; ED7675 or EDD8508 or EDD8518 or EDD8528 or EDD8548. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD9952 *
EdD Doctoral Project 2

In this course, learners collaborate with stakeholders at their doctoral project site to begin to develop a potential intervention that addresses a problem of practice. Learners develop an in-depth literature review that synthesizes relevant theory and best practices pertaining to the problem and the proposed solution and begin to develop an implementation plan to address a problem of practice.  Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): EDD9951. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD9953 *
EdD Doctoral Project 3

In this course, learners continue to collaborate with stakeholders at their doctoral project site to develop a potential intervention that addresses a problem of practice and develop a detailed implementation plan. Learners complete and submit IRB applications for approval. Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): EDD9952. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD9954 *
EdD Doctoral Project 4

In this course, learners collect and evaluate doctoral project data, applying appropriate quantitative and qualitative analysis tools. Learners make valid inferences from the data in relation to the goals of the intervention and the implementation process. Learners incorporate written and visual formats to effectively communicate their results in preparation for developing their written report in EDD9955.  Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): EDD9953. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD9955 *
EdD Doctoral Project 5

In this course, learners synthesize their findings, key learnings, and next steps in relation to their doctoral project in a written report that includes learner reflections on the applied improvement project experience, and provides the basis for the doctoral project presentation learners develop in EDD9956.  Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): EDD9954.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD9956 *
EdD Doctoral Project 6

In this course, learners complete their doctoral project by developing a presentation on the problem, intervention, results, and sharing with stakeholders. In addition, learners submit a portfolio of their signature assignments related to their doctoral project.  Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): EDD9955.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits






At least 64 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.

This specialization is not designed to lead to license, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. Contact your school district for a determination on qualifications for salary advancement.