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School of Education

Education Leadership Portfolio

The Education Leadership Portfolio (ELP) is required for students who were admitted to the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in Fall 2013 or later. Please click here for program requirements if you began the Ed.D. program before Fall 2013.

The ELP is described below.

See also the doctoral defense and graduation procedures

1) Purpose of the ELP

The Ed.D. is a professional degree with an applied project as its capstone requirement for doctoral completion – the Education Leadership Portfolio (ELP).  The ELP connects theory with practice, academic work with professional work, and leadership development with organizational and/or instructional improvement.  The ELP demonstrates the candidate’s expertise and accomplishments related to a leadership initiative in his/her professional work.  The ELP is directed by the student’s advisor and an ELP committee.

2) ELP Components

The ELP consists of three primary parts: a Problem Statement, a Final Reflection Essay, and a coherent set of Artifacts.

  • The Problem Statement describes the student’s focus of inquiry, the context in which the student will study the problem and the student’s role in the organization; and an improvement goal that includes the student’s strategies for moving from what is to what should be.
  • The Final Reflection Essay ties the entire portfolio together. It includes a description of the problem addressed, improvement strategies undertaken and their results, and reflections on both the success of the improvement efforts as well as the candidate’s leadership development.
  • Artifacts are linked to the student’s focus of inquiry and reflect different approaches and methodologies for addressing the improvement goal. The artifacts are constructed in collaboration with the candidate’s advisor, ELP committee members, and doctoral coursework instructors. They are connected to practice, focused on leadership and improvement, and aimed at specified organizational audiences (e.g., colleagues, staff, employees, constituencies). Examples of artifacts include, but are not limited to, needs assessments, problem or vision statements, literature syntheses, white papers, web designs or tools, professional development products, curriculum designs, policy briefs, data analysis reports, program evaluations, strategic plans, resource allocation plans, policy documents, and leadership communications. The artifacts are included as appendices to the final portfolio.

3) Establishment of the ELP Committee

During the last semester of a student’s Ed.D. coursework, the student will select a doctoral advisory committee (henceforth, “ELP Committee”) in consultation with the student’s advisor. The ELP Committee shall include the student’s advisor, a minimum of two additional University faculty from within the School of Education, and one member from outside of the program. The outside member may be a relevant individual from the student’s place of employment. The student’s advisor will serve as chairperson of the ELP Committee. The ELP advisor must be a member of the SOE faculty. SOE faculty who do not have regular faculty status may co-chair the ELP committee provided that the other co-chair meets the definition for regular faculty status. The definition of faculty shall include professional staff who hold secondary faculty appointments. Faculty who have retired or resigned from the University may chair committees of students whose work began under their direction prior to their retirement or departure from the University. An advisor who is not employed full time by the University of Delaware may serve as co-chair of the committee provided that the other co-chair meets the conditions stated above.

Outside committee members shall include individuals not affiliated with the SOE.  These may be individuals from outside of the University who are nationally recognized for their expertise in the area of study specified by the ELP, as well as faculty members from other units on campus.  It is the responsibility of the ELP advisor to replace members who withdraw from the committee during the ELP process.

4)  Schedule for ELP Completion

The ELP is a 12 credit project completed in three distinct stages:

  1. Development of ELP Problem Statement (ELP 1: EDUC 880),
  2. Conduct of Improvement Strategies (ELP 2: EDUC881),
  3. Reflection on Leadership Efforts (ELP 3: EDUC 882).

Students register for each 4 credit course in sequence.

Students are not allowed to register for the next class until all work is completed for the previous course. Each stage (or course) is led by the student’s advisor and supported by the student’s ELP committee.  Although students begin to develop artifacts during their Ed.D. coursework, students begin the formal ELP process after they have completed all doctoral coursework.

A student will first register for ELP 1 (EDUC 880). In this course, the student constructs an ELP pre-proposal document which is composed of a problem statement (i.e., a concise description of the student’s focus of inquiry) along with a brief description and rationale for the possible artifacts that are aligned to the student’s focus of inquiry. Half of the artifacts may be based on student’s work completed during Ed.D. coursework.  After the ELP pre-proposal document is completed, it is sent by the student’s advisor to the ELP Committee members for their feedback on the student’s problem statement and proposed artifacts, and for recommendations related to both the problem statement and the composition of the proposed artifacts.  With the committee’s direction, the student then makes necessary revisions in the problem statement and constructs several proposed artifacts. These are presented to the committee in an official ELP Proposal Defense, where the student defends the problem statement, the initial artifacts, and negotiates the composition of the remaining ELP artifacts.  The ELP Committee may decide to increase or decrease the total number of required artifacts depending on their scope and breadth, and how the artifacts address the candidate’s improvement goal. At the successful completion of this defense, the advisor will construct an ELP Proposal Defense Contract, which highlights the revisions that the committee requires of the initial artifacts, and outlines the composition of the final ELP artifacts.  When the ELP committee signs off on this contract the student will be considered to have completed the requirements for ELP 1 and will be allowed to register for 4 credits of ELP 2 (EDUC 881).

In ELP 2 (EDUC 881) the student will make revisions to the initial artifacts outlined in the ELP Defense Contract, and begin the process of developing the remaining artifacts under the direction of the committee. During ELP 2, the student is required to meet with the advisor and committee to review student progress and identify appropriate adjustments and revisions to the artifacts. At the end of ELP 2 the student will have completed all revisions to the initial artifacts that will be reviewed and approved by the ELP committee, and the student will be allowed to register for 4 credits of ELP 3 (EDUC 882).

In ELP 3 (EDUC 882) the student will develop the remaining ELP artifacts and write the final reflection paper. At the conclusion of the ELP 3, and upon recommendation of the student’s ELP advisor, the student will present and defend the ELP before the ELP committee in a formal ELP Defense. When the ELP committee signs the doctoral completion form, the student completes the doctoral program and is recommended for the Ed.D. degree.

5) Defending the ELP

The ELP defense will be scheduled only after the ELP advisor has determined that a defense is appropriate.  The committee will have a minimum of two weeks to review the entire portfolio. The ELP defense will be open to the public, and notices will be emailed to all SOE faculty and graduate students at least one week prior to the defense date.  The candidate will present a summary of the completed portfolio and will then field questions from the committee, attending faculty, and guests.  After all questions have been answered, the ELP committee will meet to decide whether the ELP is accepted, rejected, or accepted pending revisions. Results of the meeting will then be presented to the student.

6)  Processing the Final Portfolio

The ELP will consist of the following parts: an Abstract, the Final Reflection Essay, and Appendices that include the Artifacts. The initial pages will include signature pages that attest that the student has met the requirements of the ELP.

 7)  Registration Requirements for Graduation

Students must be registered for ELP 3 or in Doctoral Sustaining Status in the term in which the degree is officially awarded.  Sustaining registration is required in summer or winter session only if the degree is awarded at the conclusion of that term. Students enrolled in Sustaining are considered full-time students. Students may only register for Sustaining Status for a maximum of two semesters.

See also the doctoral defense and graduation procedures



School of Education  •  113 Willard Hall Education Building  •  Newark, DE 19716
Phone: (302) 831-8695  •  Fax: (302) 831-4110  ©2013