Community College Leadership Online Doctorate Degree


National American University’s community college leadership (CCLP) program offers an online doctorate degree that prepares administrators and faculty for leadership positions in community and technical colleges. Students will engage with community college experts and national leaders to address emerging college, district, or system issues. Part of The Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School, the program empowers students to meet a wide variety of challenges in their careers as practitioner/scholars.

Online Open Cohorts and Blended-Learning Institution and Regional Cohort Options

To address the needs of a variety of potential doctoral candidates, the CCLP is offered through an online open cohort and a blended-learning format for institutional and regional cohorts:

  • The online open cohort model is available to students nationwide, no matter their home location, and is delivered 100% online. Each cohort is comprised of 15 to 20 students, taught by community college experts and features teamwork with interaction, topical webinars and two residency courses for on-site observation of college leaders and data collection.
  • The blended-learning institution and regional cohorts incorporate a combination of face-to-face and online sessions. Cohorts of approximately 18 to 20 students are currently being developed nationwide; each focuses on a specific institution or geographic region. The program features 14 courses taught by college experts, teamwork with interaction, topical webinars and sessions with travel to observe college leaders and collect data.

Program Requirements

The doctoral CCLP degree consists of:


1. Completion of 60 credit hours of doctoral studies comprised of:

  • 33 credit hours of core coursework
  • 12 credit hours of research and culminating capstone coursework
  • Nine credit hours of advanced doctoral practice (including a practicum and advanced leadership institute)
  • Six credit hours of dissertation preparation

2. Successful completion and defense of a dissertation

Students are expected to complete the doctoral degree within five years of beginning the CCLP doctoral program, however many students complete in less time.

Graduates of the program will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge of emerging issues, leadership, organizational development, and institutional transformation.
  • Enhance understanding about developing a culture of evidence and inquiry; demonstrate the ability to analyze and synthesize institutional data; and communicate about, interpret, and apply data for decision making at the institution, program, and course levels.
  • Advance understanding of strategic and master planning, staff planning, facilities planning, funding issues, resource development and allocation, strategic partnerships and alliances that align with mission and goals.
  • Utilize knowledge about assessing institutional readiness, improving outcomes, cultivating public awareness and political commitment, and developing institutional capacity and commitment to introduce, foster, and sustain a student learning, equity, success, and completion agenda.
  • Demonstrate the professional oral, behavioral, written, and listening communication skills required of executive-level leaders operating in different religious, political, and legal systems.
  • Possess an understanding about involving key stakeholders in addressing ethical issues and creating policies, programs, and practices to enhance multicultural diversity in the faculty and in the student population.
  • Exhibit an understanding of board dynamics and board and CEO roles and responsibilities in analyzing and establishing policies, priorities, goals, and implementing effective governance and operational practices.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and progress of an institution operating in local, district, state, national, and global environments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan, confer about, execute, and assess programs and major initiatives.
  • Utilize technology in multiple ways to achieve initiative and/or institutional goals.
  • Understand team dynamics, how to build and develop effective leadership teams, and elicit stakeholder involvement.
  • Understand human relations issues including employment, goal setting, evaluation, discipline, and professional development.
  • Communicate and advocate effectively with media and local, state, and federal policy makers.

Program Overview

The majority of courses are offered sequentially over two, eight-week periods in a trimester so doctoral students may focus on one course at a time. Core courses are structured with three credit hours, including 45 hours of instruction per course, and approximately two hours of student and group work for each one-hour of instruction assigned; or, 90 hours of out-of-class student work for a course. This commitment represents approximately 16–18 hours per week for each eight-week, three-credit-hour course.

The additional nine hours of instruction may include a combination of:

  • Supervised and/or structured college visits
  • Zoom sessions
  • Teleconference with local, state, and national leaders
  • Interactive online using a variety of technologies
  • Interactive teamwork and practical applications

Course Listing

To be completed prior to taking the capstone course, the advanced doctoral practice courses, or defending the dissertation.


ED8000     Community College History, Mission, and Emerging Issues

ED8106     Leadership Development

ED8200     Managing Change – Leading Institutional Transformation

ED8300     Organization Design and Development

ED8400     Ethics and Values

ED8500     Governance and Administration

ED8600     Planning, Finance, and Resource Development

ED8700     Policy, Politics, and Public Affairs

ED8800     Education Analytics

ED8900     Understanding the Contemporary Community College Student

ED9000     Introduction to Research Methodology

ED9043     Capstone

ED9020     Designing and Shaping the Dissertation

ED9600     Practicum I

ED9601     Practicum II

ED9700     Advanced Leadership Institute

ED9800     Dissertation Proposal

ED9900     Dissertation Completion

If a student is unable to complete ED9800 or ED9900 within a trimester, the student may sign up for a Dissertation Proposal Extension (ED9801 or ED9802), or for a Dissertation Completion Extension (ED9901 or ED9902) course.

Course availability is subject to minimum class size requirements.