How the Blended-Learning, Cohort-Based Model Works

Innovative face-to-face and online program

The blended-learning, cohort-based teaching and learning environment provided through The Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School Doctor of Education in Community College Leadership Program (CCLP) incorporates a combination of face-to-face and online sessions with community college experts, teleconferencing with national leaders, team work and interaction, topical webinars, links to relevant media reports, and a practicum to address emerging college, district and/or system issues. Class sessions include travel to observe college leaders and collect data and information pertaining to institutional effectiveness.     

Establishing esprit de corps

Regional cohorts are currently being developed across the country. Each cohort will be comprised of approximately 20 to 25 students. The cohort model reinforces the important engagement and team development that an identifiable group, starting at the same time with common goals, brings to establishing esprit de corps, retention, and encouragement to complete doctoral studies. Doctoral students will be able to rely heavily on local cohort coordinators, who are brought on board by program leaders in conjunction with presidents and chancellors from local colleges, to help guide the doctoral journey.

Building a strong foundation

The program aims chiefly to build the foundation upon which a competent and scholarly community college leader can develop and hone relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Necessary skills are added by experiences, particularly through the capstone course and practicum.  Both of these courses are geared toward strengthening analytical and evaluative skills and fostering team development – reinforcing the need to work together to achieve common goals. They are also designed as a time to refine topics and questions for the dissertation that address significant practical issues.

The program emphasizes the development of leaders to foster stakeholder involvement and improve student outcomes, drawing upon the student learning, equity, success and completion agendas that are pertinent in today’s news, and prominent in communication from The White House, lawmakers, foundations, and associations.  The program is intentionally designed to help the doctoral student develop and hone a well-rounded leadership portfolio, inclusive of a systemic perspective of the institution, its constituencies, and context, including to:

    • Develop a shared vision and leadership throughout an institution
    • Engage both internal and external stakeholders
    • Develop strategic partnerships to meet college and community needs
    • Integrate strategic initiatives
    • Develop inclusive processes necessary to address complex issues
    • Embed a culture of continuous improvement – informed by data
    • Develop, allocate, and manage resources

Program learning outcomes are integrated into core CCLP courses. These include:

    • 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
    • Enhance 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
    • Gain 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
    • Demonstrate 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
    • Demonstrate 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
    • Demonstrate the ability to utilize technology in multiple ways to achieve initiative and/or institutional goals
    • Demonstrate an understanding of team dynamics, how to build and develop effective leadership teams, and elicit stakeholder involvement
    • Demonstrate an understanding of human relations issues, including employment, goal-setting, evaluation, discipline, and professional development
    • Demonstrate the ability to communicate and advocate effectively with media and local, state, and federal policy makers