Today@Sam Article

SHSU To Offer Doctorate In Higher Ed Leadership

Aug. 23, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May


Sam Houston State University has been approved to offer a new doctoral program in higher education leadership by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, beginning in the spring 2018 semester.

“Our goal is to develop well-rounded, ethical leaders who can tackle the tough challenges facing higher education today,” said Matthew Fuller, associate professor, higher education leadership, at SHSU. 

“This program offers students a chance to network with colleagues through a cohort model, engage top notch faculty, and grapple with and solve some of the most challenging topics they will face as higher ed leaders,” he said. “We are very focused on theory and translating this to real-world experience. All of our faculty have experience as university administrators and leaders, so students will learn from someone who has ‘been there’.” 

The degree has been structured to provide information and practice opportunities for applying organizational and leadership theories, while developing skills and an understanding of the politics of education, student learning and development theory, assessment, legal perspective, finance, and research skills.

A variety of courses and topics that allow students to cater their experience to their own interest are offered in the curriculum. 

“Our faculty will also make conscious efforts to prepare folks for administrative and/or faculty roles, depending on their projected career paths,” Fuller said.

In addition, the program will help to meet increasing job demands.

“The Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that nationally, there is a projected nine percent growth in the number of higher ed administration jobs, which is faster than the national average of six percent,” Fuller said. “For Texas, the growth is more pronounced.

“Our state can expect to see a need for 11 percent more higher education administrators in 2024 than today, based on projected enrollment growth—particularly growth in the enrollment of Hispanic students,” he said.

The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership has been offered at Sam Houston State for more than 20 years. 

“Initially, this degree had a ‘mixed’ cohort of both K-12 and higher education administrators until about six years ago, when we began splitting these two groups into their own distinct cohort,” Fuller said. “However, all graduates came away with an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. 

“Through some alumni and program assessments, we learned that a few specific changes in the curriculum and name of the degree were needed to allow graduates to be more competitive in the jobs they were seeking. 

“So, a few years ago, I and several other faculty members including Sheila Joyner, Rebecca Bustamante and Julie Combs, as well as all our ed leadership faculty really, began proposing this Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership to offer an updated curriculum and a degree that more accurately reflects the discipline in which our graduates work,” he said. “The Ed.D. in Educational Leadership will remain as the option of choice for K-12 administrators.” 

SHSU joins seven other Texas universities that offer the higher education leadership doctoral degree—Texas A&M, Texas A&M Commerce, Texas Tech, University of North Texas, University of Houston, the University of Texas, the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and Dallas Baptist University. 

“One thing that I believe is truly unique about our program and the SHSU family is that we are so student-centered,” Fuller said. “I’ve always been impressed by how our faculty set high standards and the go the extra mile to help students meet those standards. 

“Our alumni and students tell us this time and time again,” he said. “We often hear that SHSU is chosen for the ed leadership degree because of our care and concern for our students and their success.” 

The SHSU courses will be offered one night a week at the SHSU-Woodlands Center.

For additional information, contact Dr. Matthew Fuller, SHSU Higher Education Leadership, at or 936.294.1147.

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