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Program Description

Program Structure

The Doctor of Executive Leadership (DEL) program is an intensely practical, research-based degree, designed to be widely applicable across various settings. Individuals working in government, nonprofit,  educational, religious, health care, law enforcement, military, and business settings can use and apply the learning of the D.E.L. to add value to their organizations. The purpose of the D.E.L. is to create scholar-practitioners who will conserve, generate, and transform the discipline of leadership.

  • Becoming a Scholar-Practitioner.  The D.E.L. program centers on preparing scholar-practitioners, people who both study and practice leadership as a discipline. In becoming scholar-practitioners, students conserve, generate, and transform the study of leadership.
  • Conserving Knowledge.  Scholar-practitioners consider critical theories of leadership to identify the most useful ones to their setting and organization, analyzing and applying ideas to real-life situations. Using and teaching these best practices ensures the conservation of knowledge.
  • Generating Knowledge.  Scholar-practitioners master the tools and art of research, exploring core leadership competencies. Armed with a thorough understanding of existing leadership theories and practice, students create new thoughts, ideas, and theories to add to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Transforming Knowledge.  Scholar-practitioners use skillful written and verbal communication to display competence as leaders, sharing their knowledge in a variety of settings through continued research, writing, teaching, and consulting.

Program Format

The D.E. L. is offered in an online format and requires a five-day residency at the main campus in Charleston, WV each year.  The curriculum is 58 credit hours of integrated study.  

State-of-the-Art Learning Tools.  The University of Charleston’s library resources are accessible online for students as they complete research and study. With an extensive database of books, journals, and articles available instantly, students can easily locate needed information. Staff members from the library and instructional technology support are available to help with troubleshooting as needed.   Students use web conferencing and participate in webinars on a wide range of topics to extend their learning.

Faculty.  Throughout their doctoral experience, our students benefit from supportive D.E.L. faculty members who mentor and guide students. Our faculty members bring a wide range of industry and academic experience to the classroom, sharing their expertise and insights willingly and generously to help students excel in the mastery and the implementation of leadership competencies.

Residencies.  The program includes a required five-day campus residency prior to each year of the program. First-, second-, and third-year residencies are scheduled concurrently to facilitate interactions between students who are at different points in the program and to build intellectual community across cohorts.

  • All Residencies - Community building (mentors, faculty, staff, and cohort members), self-assessments, APA and publication labs, graduate writing lab, library and University resource sessions and labs, timeline and degree plan reviews, mentor meetings, resiliency workshops, team building and social events, national speakers (open to a broader audience), and faculty and student presentations.
  • Residency 1 - Convocation, program overview and process, technology skills development lab (Moodle, collaborative software, and presentation software), an introduction to leadership as a discipline, what it means to be a steward of the leadership discipline, review of writing sample generated at the residency. Concurrent with these residency activities, initial instructional sessions are completed for DEL 700 Culture of Inquiry.
  • Residency 2 - Discussions related to identifying dissertation topics, forming a dissertation committee, and working with the Institutional Review Board; mentor meetings to review personal leadership theories and development plans. Concurrent with these residency activities, instructional sessions are completed for DEL 800 Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • Residency 3 - Cohort members participate as stewards of the discipline of leadership in small groups for work on dissertations, prospectus documents, and program summations. Concurrent with these residency activities, instructional sessions are completed for DEL 900 Portfolios.

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Admissions Representative

David Cooper
Admissions Representative, Master of Strategic Leadership and Doctor of Executive Leadership
School of Business & Leadership
158 Dye Drive
Beckley, WV 25801

Contact Information

Dr. John E. Barnette
Associate Dean of Leadership
School of Business & Leadership
900 Virginia Street, E. Suite 200
Charleston, WV 25301

Dr. Judith Noble Halle
School of Business & Leadership