Campus: Fresno State -- May 09, 2007

Fresno State’s new doctoral program is first in CSU system

(FRESNO, May 09, 2007) - The first stand-alone doctoral program in the 23-campus California State University system will be offered by California State University, Fresno in educational leadership. The program has received final approval from CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.

Previously, CSU campuses were allowed to offer joint degrees with another university chartered to offer doctoral programs. A change in state law permitted independent doctoral programs at Fresno State and the other CSU campuses.

At Fresno State, the Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership was offered with the University of California, Davis for the past 15 years to train future educational leaders residing in the central San Joaquin Valley. During that time, 104 doctoral degrees have been conferred, with eight more graduates set for May before the new program begins in the fall with a cohort of 20-24 students.

“This is an historic milestone for not only Fresno State, but also for the CSU system,” said Dr. Sharon Brown-Welty, director of the new program in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.

Brown-Welty said the independent program is significant because there is a scarcity of doctorally qualified education leaders for institutions in the region.

“Individuals who graduate from this program will be armed not only with research-based best practices, but also will have the experience of living and working in the unique Valley, which has unique needs,” she said. “Combined, these two forces should have a major impact on our education system.”

Reed lauded Brown-Welty for her work getting Fresno State’s program approved and also developing a systemwide Ed.D. policy and academic standards for independent doctoral programs. “The precedent set by Fresno State will serve as inspiration and guide to those who are working toward developing strong Ed.D. degree programs,” Reed said.

He said Fresno State’s work laid the groundwork for other campuses working to develop strong Ed.D. programs and also acknowledged contributions by Dr. Jeronima Echeverria, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Dianne Dickerson, director of Graduate Studies.

The new independent program will separate tracks for Pre-K-12 education leaders and post-secondary (community college and higher-education institutions). Admission will be open to 24 students per year, double the size of previous cohorts admitted annually to the joint program, which was established in 1991 and awarded its first degrees in 1994.

The new educational leadership doctorate builds on the CSU’s expertise and program strengths. The CSU historically had its origins in teachers colleges, whose core mission the preparation of teachers and education leaders. The doctoral program at Fresno State will increase career opportunities and better prepare leaders ready to meet today’s educational challenges.

UC will continue to offer its own doctoral degrees in education (both the Ph.D. and the Ed.D.), and both systems will continue to offer a wide variety of training and professional development programs for teachers and administrators.

For information about the doctoral program, call 559.278.0427 or visit their Web site at

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