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School of Education launches online Ed.D. for aspiring leaders across sectors and fields

The Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership is Carolina's first fully online doctoral degree program.

With approval from the UNC System, the UNC School of Education has launched the University’s first fully online doctor of education — the Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership program — which will provide working professionals with knowledge, skills, and experiences to take a human-centered approach to leadership, delivering upon their organization’s goals and mission.

Created and delivered in collaboration with The Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill, the UNC Office of Digital and Lifelong Learning, and 2U, the Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership program’s application is open as of today, March 20. The program’s first cohort of students will begin classes in fall 2024.

“For more than 130 years, the UNC School of Education has prepared leaders for classrooms, schools, and school districts but also institutions well beyond education,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, Ph.D., dean of the UNC School of Education and Alumni Distinguished Professor. “Education happens lifelong and lifewide, and learning happens within successful organizations. Our faculty members have expertise in areas critical to organizational learning and leadership, and we believe this program is an incredible opportunity for professionals to advance their careers and organizations.”

Developed with input from working professionals in both private and public sectors and spanning various industries, the Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership program is tailored to equip students with specialized courses in improvement science, change leadership, human-centered design, equitable and inclusive practice, research methodology, and more. It will also offer students practical opportunities to implement their learning directly into their professional endeavors.

The program will utilize a blend of interactive online classes, self-paced asynchronous lessons, and an in-person immersion experience on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. During the immersion experience, students will have the chance to forge meaningful connections with faculty, staff, and fellow students.

The program culminates with a capstone project tasking students with identifying a complex or pervasive challenge faced by their organization. Students will then undertake comprehensive research and implementation efforts to address it and design effective resolutions.

“Our faculty members have intentionally shaped this program and designed its curriculum to prepare professionals with tools to provide immediate value for our students, for the teams they lead or are part of, and for their organizations,” said Thurston Domina, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and director of graduate studies at the School. “When our students graduate, we anticipate they will find success in private companies, government and non-profit organizations, business and management consulting, human resources, project management, leadership coaching or development, and more.”

Carrol Warren, Ed.D., who joined the faculty as an assistant clinical professor on Jan. 1, will lead the program as its inaugural director. Prior to Carolina, Warren served as a teaching assistant professor and faculty fellow with an institutional research center at NC State University.

“Leadership of teams and organizations is a complex endeavor,” said Warren, “and we are excited to welcome students from an array of career stages, roles, organizations, and locations who are committed to that endeavor. I look forward to cultivating robust learning environments where our students and equally committed and expert faculty members engage in ways that ultimately work toward the greater good through human-centered leadership practice.”

Prospective students can begin the online application at Deadlines for the first cohort of students, which begins classes in August 2024, are: 

  • Priority deadline: June 11, 2024 
  • Final deadline: July 3, 2024 

For details about application requirements or to contact an admissions counselor, visit