Higher Education Leadership, Ed.D.

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Versatile Leader. Savvy Decision Maker. Creative Problem-Solver.

The University of Miami Executive Ed.D. prepares students for transformational leadership roles in colleges and universities, education-related organizations and public policy arenas while saving time, a precious commodity.


Intensive Weekends

  • The Higher Education Leadership Program is for working professionals with master’s degrees and offered in a low-residency format so careers are not interrupted.
  • Course seminars and dissertation writing support are provided in face-to-face weekend meetings once a month for three years.
  • New students are part of a cohort, a support system that enhances knowledge, camaraderie and community.
  • Academic scholars and top higher education administrators who make up our faculty are well known for their expertise and personal attention to students.
  • Doctor of Education dissertation research proposals are part of coursework to ensure feedback and progress from the start.
  • A total of 60 credits beyond the master's degree are required to earn the Ed.D. Students enroll in courses year-around, and most can complete the doctorate in about 3½ years (11 consecutive semesters).


Practical Applications

  • Our practitioner-scholar program model combines theory and research with applications to practical problems in higher education.
  • The data-driven decision-making of strategic enrollment management, and strong communication skills, are central to all we do in the program. EM is a unique aspect of our program that promotes the seamless integration of administrative responsibilities to efficiently and effectively meet institutional needs and promote student success.
  • Ours is also the only EM-based program that focuses on predictive modeling.
  • Students choose areas of interest and dissertation research topics that address issues confronting contemporary higher education.
  • They emerge with the knowledge, skills, versatility, and creativity for solving problems, taking advantage of opportunities, and leading change in a range of educational settings.


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  • Sandra Gross

    Sandra Gross, EdD 2018
    Dean of International Programs and Intercultural Education
    Universidad Internacional del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
    University of Miami Doctoral Dissertation: The Underrepresentation of Women Studying Engineering: A Grounded Theory Case Study

    Sandra parlayed rich intercultural experiences as writer, editor, teacher, and master’s graduate of the London School of Economics into a career in higher education leadership, beginning with work as assistant director and then director of the Institute of Languages at the Universidad Internacional del Ecuador, and culminating in earning the EdD and founding the Office of International Programs and Intercultural Education at Universidad Internacional. As dean, she oversees foreign language learning for more than 1,000 diverse students per semester, programs and resources for students and faculty, strategic alliances, and networking.

  • Juan Carlos “JC” Morales

    Juan Carlos Morales, EdD 2018
    Director of Advanced Placement (AP) Higher Education Outreach, The College Board
    University of Miami Doctoral Dissertation: Defying the Statistics: Latinx Students’ Journeys from ESL to the Honors College at the Community College

    Juan Carlos began his education career in a post-baccalaureate fellowship teaching English as a Second Language at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and later directed curriculum for AP World Languages and Cultures at the College Board. He was for many years a world language teacher in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and then supervisor of world languages and international education for the state of Delaware. While earning his EdD, Juan Carlos was chair of world languages at Miami Dade College’s InterAmerican Campus. He now directs outreach and evaluation for the College Board’s AP Higher Education unit.

  • Justine Green

    Justine Green, EdD 2019
    Principal, Tamim Academy of Boca Raton, Florida
    University of Miami Doctoral Dissertation: Effects of Institutional Factors on College Students’ Self-Disclosure of Disability Status and Their Utilization of Disability Services

    Justine’s belief in education that builds feelings of worth and self-efficacy in children who may look and feel different from others is rooted in her own victory over a hearing disability. Her experience includes a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from UM, a master’s in education policy and social analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University, and work as an inclusive classroom teacher at Temple Beth Am Day School in Miami and director of development at Torah Tots Early Childhood Center. While earning her EdD, Justine was a learning specialist in UM’s Office of Disability Services. Her children’s book Completely Me, based on her own life, is a call to understanding and acceptance of those who are different.


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  • Dr. Joey Kitchen

    Achieving Equity Takes ‘Unified, Comprehensive Campus Community of Support’


    Joey Kitchen grew up outside of Akron, Ohio, in a low-income household, and he was the first in his family to go to college. Today he’s Joseph A. Kitchen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Miami who is quickly becoming a leading scholar on the role of college transition and support programs in promoting success among first-generation students like himself and those from low-income and racially minoritized backgrounds.

    His work to promote equitable outcomes in education is central to a recent special issue of the journal American Behavioral Scientist devoted to “Supporting First-Generation, Low-Income, and Underrepresented Students’ Transitions to College Through Comprehensive and Integrated Programs.” Kitchen was co-editor with Dr. Adrianna Kezar, Wilbur-Kieffer professor at the University of Southern California and director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education, and he was co-author on three of the articles.

    A key takeaway from the studies in the journal is the value of comprehensive programming and unified communities of campus support in promoting the success of underserved students, addressing student needs in a holistic, comprehensive fashion, rather than through disconnected, boutique programming that tackles issues related to student success separately, such as first-year experience courses.

    “Colleges and universities just aren’t set up well to support first-generation, low-income, and minoritized students, and they tend to privilege certain ways of knowing and being over others, robbing these student groups of the opportunity to succeed,” said Kitchen. “Instead, a comprehensive, holistic perspective that recognizes students as whole people with many facets that deserve attention and support is needed to enable students to fully actualize their innate potential and capabilities during college.”

    Such a comprehensive, holistic perspective characterizes the two integrated programs examined in the edited journal: the Thompson Scholars Learning Communities (TSLC) at the University of Nebraska and the California State University STEM Collaboratives. Both efforts coordinate and align comprehensive support in a single initiative to address students’ academic, social, career, and interpersonal needs with the goal of addressing institutional barriers to success, creating college environments where promising underserved students will thrive and succeed.

    Of special interest for him was conducting research with Kezar and Liane Hypolite of USC’s Pullias Center on the development of major and career self-efficacy as an important psychosocial outcome for first-generation, low-income, and minoritized students, as they are more likely to persist toward earning a degree when they can see a connection between their college education and future job prospects.

    However, career support is often targeted later in college, when students are nearing graduation. In contrast, “the TSLC program focuses on major and career development early on, connecting students to a curated ecology of major and career-related activities to help students develop confidence in their major and degree path and confidence in their capabilities for success in their chosen paths,” Kitchen noted. “By taking such an approach, the low-income, first generation, and minoritized students in our study reported significantly higher levels of confidence in their major and career path compared to the control group, which bodes well for their retention and success.”

    In a similar vein, Kitchen’s exploration of proactive advising’s impact on underserved students’ confidence in their academic capabilities recently appeared in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (Kitchen, Rivera, Cole, & Hallet, 2020). Based on their study of the TSLC comprehensive college transition program, the researchers proposed a comprehensive, holistic, and empirically grounded proactive advising model to promote academic confidence among first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented, minoritized students.

    “Not all advising is created equal,” Kitchen explained. “The institution often assumes students know about available advising and support services when they come to college and will seek them out when they need them, but first-generation college goers may not have that kind of familiarity. Moreover, much of the focus of traditional advising is on registration, for instance, and there’s often a ‘get in, get registered, get out’ mentality. 

    Proactive advising is different, and places the responsibility on educators to actively engage and offer support to students. In the proactive advising model developed by Kitchen and colleagues, proactive advising goes beyond traditional advising, engaging students in a proactive, comprehensive, and holistic way. This is critical to ensure that students are getting the support they need early on, on their path toward achieving their academic goals in college. By taking a holistic, comprehensive approach to proactive advising, educators can direct students to support that is appropriate for their needs and will help cultivate each individual’s confidence in their capabilities for academic success.

    For example, in Kitchen et al.’s proactive advising model, educators reach out mid-semester to check in with students, asking them how they are doing both academically and socially/personally, and to engage students in conversations about where they stand in terms of achieving their personal academic goals. “Sometimes they need to be directed to tutoring or study skills support, or to undergraduate research opportunities to reach their academic goals, which is more academic,” said Kitchen. “But sometimes it may be that they have family commitments, or social adjustment issues that are affecting their ability to reach their academic goals, which is more personal.” By taking a proactive, holistic perspective, educators in this proactive advising model can better match support with students’ needs early on, and help them feel more confident that they have the tools and support necessary to successfully meet their academic goals.

    Expect more of this kind of research from Kitchen, as he is committed to creating new knowledge that not only enriches daily practice in colleges and universities but also carries forward the mission of higher education, one step closer to a more equitable society.

Program Contact

Program Director:

Carol - Anne Phekoo
Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Educational and
Psychological Studies
Room: Merrick Building 312-Y


For Admission Inquiries, contact:

Karina Rodriguez
Applicant Journey Representative


For Application Process Questions, contact:

Graduate Studies Office