Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Eleni Roulis, Karen Klein, Jayne Sommers



The purpose of this case study was to explore the career impacts and learning and development outcomes experienced after participating in an Ed.D. leadership program at the University of St. Thomas by a single cohort of nontraditional educational leaders. Qualitative data was gathered from nine members of one cohort who completed 15 in-depth interviews. A focus group was used to triangulate and validate research findings. The primary research question was what are the career impacts and learning and development outcomes of non-traditional educational leaders participating in and graduating from a cohort-based Ed.D. program in leadership. Themes emerged from the responses that highlight the collective and transformational impacts the program had on participants. The primary research findings identified three themes: (a) direct career impacts, (b) transformative learning outcomes, and (c) program learning outcomes. Ultimately, the program led to direct career impacts for several participants. The program resulted in participants becoming scholars; experiencing transformation of their worldviews, perspectives, and lives; and developing confidence in or greater refinement of their strengths and abilities. Finally, data analysis identified participants’ learning and development aligned with the five program learning outcomes, revealing that the program’s intention and impact aligned. Secondary research findings identified how participants used the highly sought credential post-graduation, and how the cohort structure influenced participants in their learning and development. The credential was used liberally as part of four cohort members’ professional identity. The credential was identified as providing legitimacy and authority for several members of the cohort. The cohort had a foundational role in supporting participants in completing the program and provided a community of scholars. Overall, the program led to transformational learning across all participants, clear attainment of intended program learning outcomes, and positive impacts on the careers of several participants.


transformational learning, career impact, learning and development outcomes

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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