The Department of Educational Leadership Studies was formed in 1923 as one of the initial four departments in the new College of Education at the University of Kentucky.

Our department has always been a leader in distance learning and technology. We were one of the first educational leadership programs in the country to offer distance learning courses as well as being one of the first academic programs at UK to offer courses across the state. In fact, in 1990 we offered a doctorate through compressed, interactive video to students in western Kentucky. This tradition continues today through the innovative use of our online programs.

The core strength of the UK Educational Leadership Studies Department through the years has always been our people. Our faculty, clinicians, staff, and students have always been of the highest quality, including some of the most respected global scholars in educational leadership. We have maintained our position amongst the best educational leadership preparation programs in the world because of the hard work and dedication of these individuals for nearly a century. This core strength continues today and makes for a promising outlook in the many years ahead.


The mission of the Department of Educational Leadership Studies in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky is to engage in teaching, research, and service that promote and contribute to improving the quality of education and educational leadership in the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

The Department of Educational Leadership Studies was founded in 1923. As such, it is one of the oldest educational leadership programs in the country. The Department has been offering Ed.D. degrees since 1938. As of Spring 2012, we have awarded 273 doctorates.

We believe that the most effective educational leader is a practitioner-scholar, and we commit to providing academic experiences that expand our students’ knowledge, understanding, and expertise as both practitioners and scholars in the field of school administration and educational leadership.

We believe that faculty and students should be able to pursue their scholarly endeavors secure in the knowledge that their academic freedom is inviolate. Moreover, we commit to the active defense of that freedom should it be threatened.

We believe that there are no simple answers to the complex challenges facing contemporary education. We believe that incorporation of a multiplicity of perspectives, values, approaches, standpoints, and experiences can build a more complete understanding of, and more effective responses to, those challenges. We commit to the solicitation, consideration of, and respect for such multiplicities.

We believe that understanding of and appreciation for the diversity inherent in the human community adds richness and depth to all individuals’ life experiences. In addition, we commit to build departmental, college and university communities characterized by diversity in intellectual perspective, race, ethnic and cultural background, gender and sexual orientation, religious belief, age, physical ability, socio-economic status, and political persuasion.

We believe that learning is a highly individualistic endeavor, and that it is influenced by the particular prior experiences and expertise of each learner, and we believe the incorporation of such experiences and expertise into our courses can enhance the learning of all involved. We commit to fostering learning environments conducive to such incorporation.

We believe that rigorous intellectual activity both enhances professional expertise and professional understanding of self, and we believe development in these areas contributes to improved professional practice. We believe we owe our students educational programs that provide academic challenges and demand intellectual rigor, and we commit to providing such experiences.

Download EDL Overview Flyer.

Faculty Blogs

Get to know the department faculty a bit by exploring our blogs.

The Black EduBlog – This blog written by Dr. Wayne Lewis, is a space to discuss the educational experiences and educational outcomes of Black children in the U.S.

Education Recoded – A blog written by the four directors of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). We not only provoke a new vision of what education might be but also suggest specific changes and improvements to get us from here to there.

The Edjurist – The Edjurist is a collaboration of Professor-Bloggers who teach education law in law schools and education schools.

Education Policy Matters – Written by Dr. Wayne Lewis, this is a place for deep discussion on the most pressing educational policy issues of our day. A heavy Kentucky flavor, but national in scope.

1 to 1 Schools – Written by Nick Sauers, this blog focuses on issues surrounding 1:1 technologies in schools.


Learn more about the research currently being conducted in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies by checking out some of the past dissertations published by our students. The original research coming out of this department has greatly impacted the field of educational leadership in the state of Kentucky and beyond. We look forward to adding your future research to this distinguished list.

Explore past dissertations.