Public Affairs

Ed.D. Producing Educational Leaders

Sept. 20, 2012
By Elizabeth Chapin

A champion for educational access in diverse communities and a researcher who shares best practices with educators around the nation are among the more than 300 graduates who have earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) degree from the CSU since the university began to offer the degree in 2007.

The CSU’s Ed.D. program was created in 2005 by the state legislature in response to California’s need for well-prepared school administrators.

Today, 13 independent Ed.D. programs enroll more than 700 students who will go on to make an impact in California and the nation.

A Community Champion

Robert GarciaRobert Garcia’s passion for education led him to pursue his Ed.D., which he earned from CSU Long Beach in 2010. Born in Lima, Peru, Garcia immigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old and was the first in his family to graduate from college.

Now serving as the vice mayor of the city of Long Beach and as an administrator at Long Beach City College, Garcia is working to ensure every child in the community has an opportunity to do the same.

As a leader in a diverse community, Garcia says the Ed.D. program’s focus on urban education has been extremely valuable.

“The Ed.D. is a practitioner’s degree; the classroom was the lab,” Garcia said. “I gained insight through real life knowledge and practical solutions, which can be applied to make our community better.”

Garcia is involved in one of those practical solutions—an initiative called the Long Beach College Promise. It’s a partnership between the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College, and CSU Long Beach that helps all local students prepare for, enter and succeed in college.

In addition to his roles as vice mayor and college administrator, Garcia also teaches public policy at the University of Southern California.

“I came away from the Ed.D. program with a strong understanding of how public policy works,” Garcia said. “Knowing the policy process is important when you must be prepared to deal with complex policy issues on a daily basis.”

Doing What Works

Kelly StuartKelly Stuart is helping to lead national efforts to turn around underperforming schools and assist educators in using evidence based practices. Stuart, a senior research associate at WestEd, earned her Ed.D. at San Francisco State in 2012 and serves as the director of dissemination for the US Department of Education’s Doing What Works website. The site translates research-based practices into examples and practical tools that support and improve classroom instruction.

Stuart says her work allows her to collaborate with state and local district school leaders from all over the United States, and the EdD helped give her a solid understanding of the challenges they face.

“Being part of such a diverse and broad program allowed me a much deeper understanding of the vast challenges from pre-K to higher ed,” Stuart said. “I was able to incorporate what I was learning and apply that to my work.”

Stuart also facilitates the U.S. Department of Education’s School Turnaround Learning Community (STLC)—an online community for states, districts, and schools involved in turning around underperforming schools.

STLC has 4,500 members and conducts bi-weekly webinars from experts and practitioners from around the country. The site shares information focused on topics such as early learning, secondary schools, engaging families, using data, school culture, and increased learning time.

Stuart says that the Ed.D. has helped her master the research knowledge essential to her position.

“The courses at SF State have certainly strengthened my overall understanding of the many complex issues facing education throughout the country.”

Check out this video for a closer look at Stuart’s efforts with Doing What Works.

And for more info on the CSU’s Ed.D. programs, visit