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Ph.D. in Community College Leadership

The Ph.D. in Community College Leadership is designed specifically for professionals dedicated to the mission and philosophy of the community college. It is an academically rigorous program with a respected national reputation. The program is one of six fully comprehensive Community College Leadership programs in the U.S., and one of two along the East Coast.

Students engage in live, synchronous online learning throughout the year and attend an annual, two-week Summer Institute where they engage faculty, colleagues, and guest scholars from across the country. All courses are offered online or at the Summer Institute.

The program is designed with the working professional in mind. Our flexible cohort model enables students to achieve their personal and professional goals while building relationships through coursework, into the dissertation process, and beyond.

The program prepares graduates to assume executive-level leadership positions in community colleges across the country. Students also develop knowledge and skills that enables them to work for state councils of higher education or regional, national, and discipline-specific accrediting bodies. High-quality instruction and advising enable graduates to provide excellent leadership for U.S. community colleges.

Program Highlights

  • Students take classes as part of a cohort which provides a shared learning experience, builds community, and broadens students' professional networks throughout their careers. 
  • Doctoral students engage in coursework with faculty members who are leading scholars and/or senior-level leaders in their respective fields. The faculty are dedicated to helping students succeed, not only in courses and the dissertation, but also in ensuring students develop the skills needed to lead the modern community college.
  • Live, synchronous online classes via Adobe Connect are offered in the evening to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.
  • The Summer Institute lets students engage one-on-one with faculty members and build strong, supportive relationships with each other. Each year, the Summer Institute features a guest scholar who engages with students and presents on issues relevant to U.S. community college leaders.
  • Students typically complete their degree in 3 years. Coursework takes 2 years to complete, and the length of time to complete the dissertation is dependent on the student’s schedule and topic. Over 80% of students who start the program, complete the program.
  • All students pay in-state tuition through an arrangement with ODU Distance Learning.

  • Students may take up to 12 credits as a non-degree student if they wish to try the program before applying to it.


The Community College Leadership program is known for its practitioner-scholar approach which stresses the practical application of coursework and research with the goal of developing leaders who apply knowledge to solve problems.

Our comprehensive curriculum addresses unique issues relevant to modern community college leadership, including:

  • Community College Curriculum Development
  • Community College Finance
  • The Diversity of the Student Body
  • Workforce Preparation for the Local Community
  • The Role of Community Colleges in the U.S. Higher Education System

View the Course of Study » 

Summer Institute

To build a cohort, the program offers a series of courses the first two weeks of June at our annual Summer Institute. The Summer Institute on the Old Dominion University main campus, not only fulfills the University's residency requirement, it helps students develop relationships that help them successfully complete the coursework and dissertation.

Incoming students and second-year students attend both weeks of Summer Institute and stay on campus for its duration.  During the summer, students take 3 courses: two courses at the Summer Institute and one other online course.

Learn More About Summer Institute »

Current Students and Alumni

The program brings together a diverse cohort of students who care about the community college. These students come from across the United States with a wide variety of professional and cultural backgrounds.

Graduates of the Community College Leadership doctoral program advance to senior-level positions at community colleges and state-level community college systems. Recent graduates have gone on to positions as presidents, provosts, vice presidents, and deans within their respective community colleges.

White = Current Students    Blue = Alumni

Why community college professionals choose the Community College Leadership doctoral program at Old Dominion University:


Want To Try Out The Program Before Applying?

Students may take up to 12 credits as a non-degree student if they wish to try the program before applying to it.

Advisory Board Members

Linnie Carter Vice President of College Advancement at Harrisburg Area Community College Alumna – Cohort 2
John Dever President at Thomas Nelson Community College  
Glenn DuBois Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System  
Natalie Harder Chancellor at South Louisiana Community College Alumna - Cohort 5
Mary Greer Landon Project Coordinator for Workforce Development at Tidewater Community College Alumna - Cohort 2
Ted Raspiller President at John Tyler Community College  
Al Roberts Provost at Christanna Campus Southside Virginia Community College Alumnus – Cohort 2
Cathy Songer Division Chair/Instructor, Biology at Coastal Carolina Community College Alumna - Cohort 6
Susan Wood Professor Emeritus at Reynolds Community College  
Deborah Wright Vice President of Workforce Development at Thomas Nelson Community College  

For more information about the Community College Leadership program, or to arrange a campus visit, please email ccl@odu.edu or call (757) 683-4375.

Dr. Chris Glass
Community College Leadership Program Coordinator
(757) 683-4118 office
(757) 683-4413 fax