The action came during the board's regular quarterly meeting in Austin.
The Coordinating Board vote was the last remaining step in a process which included studies and planning by the University, examination by a visiting team of education consultants in May, 1996, and tentative Coordinating Board approval in October.
"More than a hundred years ago Sam Houston Normal Institute was the first teacher-training institution established in the Southwestern United States," said Dr. Bobby K. Marks, SHSU president. "Since that time we have trained tens of thousands of men and women who have made great contributions as teachers and administrators.
"In addition, we have faculty members who are state and national leaders and innovators," said Marks. "Not only is this Sam Houston State University's second doctorate, but it recognizes years of dedicated service by many in public schools and on our campus. That is why it is such an exciting achievement."
Activities now underway on campus in preparation for enrolling the program's first 15-member group this summer include selection of that first group from an estimated 120 applicants and completion of the program's new home on the third floor of the Teacher Education Center.
The $97,000 renovation will house the Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership, and is expected to be completed this spring.
Craycraft said that Sam Houston State University doctoral students will become immersed in grassroots educational issues.
"The research component of our Ed. D. program will be as strong as in traditional Ph. D. programs," said Craycraft. "But we will emphasize problems that occur and needs that arise in the communities in which our doctoral students will be working.
"We will work with communities to solve these problems and improve educational opportunities for the state's and nation's children," he said.
The program's inter-disciplinary approach is one process through which its graduates will become well-equipped to do this, he said. Curriculum will include studies not only in education but business, computer science, political science and mathematics. "This has been, and will be, a campus-wide effort," said Craycraft.