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Ph.D in Education Leadership Program
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Ph.D in Education Leadership Program

In the Department of Organization & Leadership


Our Mission

To develop aspiring professors in education 
leadership who will prepare aspiring school leaders, support current school leaders, and advance scholarship in the field.

Dawn of a Generation of Leaders

While preparing managers was an important goal of the 20th century, the PhD program in Education Leadership at Teachers College is aimed at preparing those who are passionate about teaching practicing and aspiring leaders in the 21st century to be architects of adult learning in their schools as they lead, manage, support, and build capacity at the individual, team, and organizational level.

Building Education Leadership Professors

Our PhD program seeks to train aspiring academics to be well prepared to conduct systematic qualitative and quantitative research in service to developing students for the professorate in Education Leadership and in Education Leadership Preparation. We seek to equip professors with understanding of how to build leaders’ capacities so that they can, in turn, support the growth and development of adults and students in their care.
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  • Welcome

    Eleanor drago-seversonWe wish a warm welcome to all of our future and current students and alumni who are visiting this website.  Our Ph.D. Program in Education Leadership has a distinguished faculty whose mission is to prepare committed graduate students to serve as University professors of Education Leadership. The Ph.D. Program in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University is a full time doctoral program. We hope you find this site helpful.
    Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson
Professor of Education
    Director of PhD Program in Education Leadership

    "There is great power in hope. With great hope, may our leadership work together raise our consciousness, amplify our abilities to support growth in students and adults in our care, and encourage and strengthen us to step forward courageously in leading for adult development. May it also help us to be more compassionate by deepening our understanding of how to support adult growth. May it enable us to listen differently and to lead by listening..." - Adapted from Leading Adult Learning (Drago-Severson, 2009)
    Note:  Applications for the Ph.D. Program are accepted every other year.  We will be accepting our next round of applications beginning in September 2014 for the entering cohort of fall 2015.  Applications must be complete with all documents received in the Office of Admission by the Program deadline of December 15, 2014 in order to be considered for fall 2015 admission. If you have questions about the admissions process, please contact the Office of Admission at Teachers College.

Recent Announcements

Chinese ministryEach year Professor Drago-Severson works with education leaders, professors, and leaders from the Ministry of Education in China to teach them about adult development and practices that can be employed to support internal capacity building and to enhance school culture.

Learning for leadershipThomas Beatty and Autumn Cyprès reviewed Learning for Leadership: DevelopmentalStrategies for Building Capacity in Our Schools authored by Dr. Ellie Drago-Severson, Dr. Jessica Blum-DeStefano, and Dr. Anila Ashgar (2013, Corwin-Sage Press). Their review appears in Teachers College Record on September 12, 2014.

Meet Current Students

  • Chelsey Saunders

    Chelsey saundersChelsey Saunders, a second-year PhD student in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, works as a Fellow with the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers at Teachers College; a teaching Fellow for School Leadership for Adult Development, led by Professor Drago-Severson in the Summer Principals Academy; a Graduate Hall Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life at Columbia University; and the Vice President of the Student Senate, a policy-making body for Teachers College. Read more...


  • Vialogues

Alumni Spotlight

  • Jessica Blum-DeStefano

    Jessica blum-destefanoJessica Blum-DeStefano earned her PhD in Education Leadership in May 2014 from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Her doctoral studies were inspired by her rewarding work as a teacher and school administrator in alternative education settings—and by the remarkable students who fueled her enthusiasm, excitement, and commitment during the nearly ten years she spent in schools.  Jessica’s doctoral dissertation extended and built upon her experiences as a practitioner, and explored how 19 students in two alternative high schools described, understood, and experienced good teachers. Read more.