Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Grounded in Dominican values, Edgewood College develops leaders, scholars, and writers. Coursework is a blend of theory applied with practice and examination of real-world issues, enriched by cohort and faculty interaction.

Edgewood College embraces learning that welcomes aspiring leaders from a variety of disciplines and workplaces. Whether you are a higher education professional, non-profit leader, business executive, or K12 educator, our cohort model will support and challenge you through your coursework.  A Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) allows for practical approach to research that encourages you to apply what you are learning to challenges within your field.

Our graduates advance to become college presidents and administrators, K12 superintendents and leaders, and non-profit champions. Our graduates leave with strong research skills as both consumer and practitioner, values-based leadership skills, and the knowledge to lead strategically.


Our Faculty and Staff

  • Subject-matter-experts who work in the field of study instruct the content courses. These professionals bring a timely and global view to content material.
  • Full-time Ph.D. research faculty who have experience in publishing and R1 research instruct our research courses.
  • Our Academic Writing Specialist instructs the dissertation writing courses to guide students through the proper academic style and tone.
Suzanne Otte
Suzanne Otte
Associate Dean for Educational Leadership Programs
School of Education

Suzanne serves as the Director of the EdD and MA Educational Leadership programs. She leads the EdD Research and Writing Center by coordinating consultation and academic writing programming. She is also a Sr. Lecturer who teaches courses in both the Higher Education and Leadership Studies and Doctoral Completion concentrations. Suzanne’s research interests focus on gender inclusive leadership, ethical leadership, and ethical leadership development.  She brings over 20 years teaching experience that spans from 6th grade to post-secondary education and in diverse settings. She is a first-generation student who earned her BA from the College of St. Benedict, her MA from Cardinal Stritch University, and her EdD from Edgewood College. 

Kirsten Brown
Kirsten Brown
Lecturer of Research Design and Methods
School of Education

Dr. Kirsten Brown’s research agenda engages topics of disability, educational access, and postsecondary outcomes. Dr. Brown is interested in neurodiversity and practices that support the retention and success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education. Selected publications include a co-authored book, Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach and articles in the Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of Community College Research and Practice and Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. Dr. Brown’s teaching background is in Higher Education Administration, Sociology, and Disability Studies; she teaches research methodology courses for the Ed.D. Program. Dr. Brown is active in several professional organizations and has presented nationally at ASHE, AHEAD, and ACPA. She holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University.

Brian Busler
K12 Leadership/Master of Arts/Licensing Coordinator

Brian S. Busler is a recently retired school superintendent from Oregon School District and has over thirty-five years of experience as an administrator.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.  His researched focused on strategic planning, decision-making and school culture.  He has taught graduate classes at Edgewood College and other universities for the past thirty years.  His public-school experiences include improving educational outcomes for all students, leading numerous school/community planning sessions, advancing equity work, leading school referenda and  construction projects, mentoring and training school administrators and a special interest of serving as a Schools of Hope mentor in his previous district.  In his free time, you can find him spending time with his wife and adult children, training on his bicycle and fly fishing in Wisconsin and Montana.

Graduate Assistants

Dissertation Support Team

For over 20 years, the Ed.D. Program at Edgewood College has guided students to successful dissertation defense and degree completion. Our graduation rate is about 80%, well-above the national average. One element to helping students succeed lies in the dissertation support they receive. 

  • Each student is paired with a dissertation advisor during the Applied Research courses wherein the dissertation advisor, research faculty, and student work together to craft the research question(s) and align methodology.
  • The dissertation advisor and student continue to work together through dissertation defense, but along the way, other committee members join to offer support.
  • Each student receives a dissertation editor who is skilled in APA, grammar, and academic writing that will provide feedback to ensure readiness for the dissertation proposal and defense.
  • Students also receive fully formed dissertation committees, and extensive program support in scheduling proposal and defense meetings. 

Editors & Liaisons:

Kathryn Houseman
Kathryn Houseman
Dissertation Editor

Kathryn Houseman Doctoral Dissertation Editor-Dissertation Support Team Member School of Education Dr. Houseman brings years of classroom teaching experience from the elementary to graduate school level as well as experience in curriculum development and assessment. She has been editing doctoral dissertations for over ten years and remains committed to the researching, organizing, and writing of strong, logical, and clearly worded dissertations. Dr. Houseman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BS degree in Education with teaching concentrations of English and Social Studies and has received a MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Reading. In addition, she received a licensure certification in Educational Administration and Curriculum from Edgewood College. She also received a doctoral degree also from Edgewood College in Educational Leadership. Her professional interests include the development of literacy and discipline-area literacy strategies, professional development to support literary development, and curriculum development and assessment strategies. 

Lynea LaVoy
Lynea LaVoy
Advising Community Liason

Dr. Lynea LaVoy's experiences in the business sector has afforded her the versatility to be an effective leader in the focused areas of hospitality management, servant leadership, higher education, communications, and organizational effectiveness. She currently serves as Department Chair, Program Director and Instructor for Madison College's Hospitality Management program. Lynea dedicates herself to a student-first focused teaching and advising approach and was awarded the 2020 President's Award for Service, 2018 NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award as well as the 2017 Excellence in Teaching, National Society of Leadership and Success. Lynea holds her Doctoral Degree from Edgewood College as well as two Master's Degrees and an undergraduate degree. Lynea is dedicated to serving the community through her vast work with the Oregon Area Food Pantry. Lynea also recently started a podcast called Pineapple Sessions where she discusses and interviews industry leaders on topics such as hospitality, servant leadership, and education. Lynea's work in her role as Doctoral Liaison and Advisor for Edgewood College has allowed her to collaborate with and serve over 30 candidates working on their Higher Education pathways.

Mankah Mitchell
Mankah Mitchell
Advising Community Liaison/Editor

Mankah Zama Mitchell has worked with students as an editor and liaison in the Ed.D program since 2016. She earned her B.S. from Howard University, and her J.D./Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include school law related topics, and she is an attorney for the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Muriel Simms
Muriel Simms
Dissertation Editor/Writing Coach

Dr. Muriel Simms is a lifelong resident of Madison, Wisconsin. She retired from the Madison Metropolitan School District in 2000 after 30 years of service. She taught masters-level courses at Edgewood College and is now on the doctoral faculty at Edgewood College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English (1968), master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction (1975), her administrator licenses (1988), and her doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2002). Dr. Simms received many awards for her professional duties and community service, one of which was the Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year (1992) given by the Wisconsin Association of Elementary School Principals and the Wisconsin and National School Board Associations. Dr. Simms wrote three articles for peer reviewed journals: A Principal Tutors Four Low Achievers in a Third-Grade Mathematics Classroom” (Elementary School Journal, September, 1994), Impressions of Leadership Through a Native Woman’s Eyes (Urban Education, December, 2000), and Teacher Uses Action Research to Develop Culturally Conscious Curriculum Planners (Democracy & Education, November, 2013). She wrote the book Settlin’: Stories of Madison’s Early African American Families in 2018.

How to Apply

Application deadline - The priority application deadline for all 2020 Higher Education is August 1, 2020. Applications received after August 1 will be reviewed and accepted on a space-available basis.

  1. Complete and submit the Ed.D. application.
  2. Provide evidence of a master's degree from a United States regionally accredited or equivalent post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for regular admission status. The cumulative grade point average is computed on the highest degree held at the time of application to the Edgewood College graduate program.
  3. Request that official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions be sent directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies.
  4. Provide two letters of recommendation. One of the letters must attest to the applicant's ability to be successful as a doctoral student. The second letter should give evidence of the applicant's ability to collaborate with colleagues and demonstrate strength in leadership. Letters should be mailed directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies, 1000 Edgewood College Dr., Madison, WI 53711.
  5. Submit a letter of intent including a brief statement of the reason for pursuing the doctoral degree in educational leadership, and a brief discussion about how the program can help the applicant reach personal and professional goals.
  6. Provide a resume or curriculum vitae that includes but is not limited to the areas listed below:
    • Education: Major(s), schools attended, degrees obtained and dates of attendance
    • Professional positions held
    • Presentations made to organizations, groups and professional associations
    • Honors/ awards received
    • Memberships in professional and other organizations
    • Community Service: Name(s) of organizations, description of activities and positions held
  7. International Students may have additional admission requirements. Learn more.

Transfer Credits

Upon regular admission, an applicant may submit up to 18 semester hours of graduate credit from other United States regionally accredited (or equivalent) post-secondary institutions for consideration of transfer to Edgewood College for application to a degree program. Approval of the respective department is required. To be considered for application to a degree program, a course must have been taken within the past five years, must have a "B" or better grade for courses receiving a letter grade of "A" through "F" (if the grade is "P" the equivalency is determined by the appropriate school or department), must be relevant to the degree program to which it is being applied, and must not have been applied toward another degree. Grades from transfer courses are not computed in the Edgewood College GPA. Applicants should make known to the program director any course credit to be submitted for review for transfer upon application if those credits fall within the policy requirements.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The Board of Trustees sets the tuition annually so a small increase each year is possible.

[For K-12 Superintendent License concentration] Tuition for the 24 credits of the superintendent/district leadership license is $611 per credit. If students elect to continue their studies for an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, they will take an additional 30 credits at graduate tuition rate of $1072. Doctoral students pay a $105 fee each term.

[For Higher Education]  Graduate tuition for the 2022-23 year (beginning Summer 2022) is $1072 per credit. Doctoral students pay a $105 fee each term. Books and other instructional supplies are not included in the tuition cost.

[For Doctoral Completion]  Graduate tuition for the 2022-23 year (beginning Summer 2022) is $1072 per credit. Doctoral students pay a $105 fee each term.

Completion Equals Success

Tuition is only one factor in choosing a program. Completion rates are another important element of doctoral programs. Edgewood College boasts an 85 percent completion rate, compared to 57 percent at other institutions. Attending Edgewood College and completing your degree, is a smart investment of both time and money.

Our individual attention to student support helps guide each student through meaningful, engaging coursework, research, and dissertation completion.

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Learn more about Stafford Loans, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Links of Interest
Full Catalog
Leading Edge Newsletter '21
Ed.D. Research and Writing Center