Sample Schedule & Course Descriptions

All courses are blended with online and one-week summer intensives and one weekend face-to-face per course during fall and spring semesters. Complete in just three years with 61 credits.

Summer Year 1 : Big Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Fall Year 1 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 1 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation

IDSL 805 The Past, Present, and Future of Community Colleges 
Provides a broad overview of the historical context
of community colleges in the United States as well as
their current and future roles, governance structures,
and leadership challenges to hypothesize future
directions and leadership challenges.

IDSL 810 Critical Issues in Community Colleges
Examines the external forces and current issues
impacting community colleges, including social,
political, and environmental change. Students
examine the origins of the issues and the
perspectives of varied stakeholders, and evaluate
potential impact(s).

IDSL 825 Foundations of Effective Leadership
Examines various leadership theories and the
relationship between leadership styles and
organizations, examining the optimal “fit”
of an individual leader, leadership role, and
organizational environment.

IDSL 885 Creating Culture of  Student Learning and Success
This course evaluates past and current theories
of and strategies for improving student success
including best practices in persistence, completion,
and student development. Focus is on continuous
improvement strategies deriving from data analysis.

IDSL 880 Leadership for Teaching and Learning
This course focuses on current research, theories, and best practices, and future possibilities for effective teaching and learning, with emphasis on methods for reaching diverse student populations, assessing learning, developing essential skills, creating effective learning environments, and exploring alternative curricular and instructional opportunities.

IDSL 840 Qualitative Research Methods and Data Analysis
Addresses foundational principles of methods of
qualitative inquiry, with emphasis on ensuring ethical
standards, establishing assumptions and limitations
for a study, developing appropriate research
questions and approach, and designing effective
data collection methods.

Summer Year 2 : Big Rapids
2 credits dissertation
Fall Year 2 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 2 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation

IDSL 845 Quantitative Research Methods and Data Analysis
Addresses foundational principles and elements of
methods of quantitative inquiry, with emphasis on
ensuring ethical standards, establishing assumptions
and limitations for a study, designing effective data
collection methods and interpreting quantitative
results utilizing standard statistical techniques.

IDSL 870 Marketing and Community Engagement
This course examines the concepts of community
relations, engagement, and marketing as they apply
to the community college. Topics include effective
engagement and communication strategies, building
the college brand or image, and methods for
measuring stakeholder perceptions.

IDSL 860 Resource Development
Covers the role, rationale, and basic principles
of public and private resource development in
community colleges, from millage and bond
campaigns to grants and philanthropic fundraising.

IDSL 894 Practicum
Provides an independent, individual learning
experience designed specifically to meet the
learner’s professional goals.

IDSL 865 Leveraging Human Resources
Examines methods for maximizing the college’s
human resources, including the expertise needed
to provide leadership in designing effective models
of employee involvement and development within
the context of labor laws, agreements, and
governance structures.

Summer Year 3 : Big Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Fall Year 3 : Grand Rapids
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 3 : Grand Rapids and Big Rapids
6 credits dissertation

IDSL 835 Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness
Explores strategic planning for community colleges
as driven by institutional mission, vision, and values.
Applying a systems approach, students identify
essential elements, integrate these into a strategic
plan, and analyze their interrelationships.

IDSL 855 Managing Financial Resources
Provides an overview of the budgetary concepts
and processes that are foundational to the financial
health of community colleges, including decisionmaking frameworks, analytical tools, capital
planning, technology planning, and state and federal regulations and practices.

IDSL 895 Policy and Governance 
Addresses external and internal models of
governance, their constituents, and their unique perspectives by focusing on leadership attributes that provide the agility needed to bring these groups together and develop a shared vision.

IDSL 830 Leading Organizational Transformation and Cultural Change
Focuses on theories and best practices for leading
organizational change, including how to apply
change theories and strategies to organizational
needs, develop change plans with articulated visions
and strategic frameworks, and define processes
for implementing and monitoring change for
improvement and sustainability.

Comprehensive Interviews and Presentations (CIPs)
Comprehensive Interviews and Presentations (CIPs)
is the integrative capstone experience for DCCL
students. Through a portfolio and interview process,
students demonstrate mastery of the DCCL program
outcomes. Successful completion is required for
advancement to dissertation defense and graduation.


IDSL 898 Dissertation
Each semester, students demonstrate appropriate dissertation progress in accord with direction, guidance, and assessment guided by the student's dissertation committee. Students demonstrate progress through submission of deliverables evidencing problem discovery and definition; literature review; methodology design, limitations, and implementation; data analysis and interpretation; and corresponding dissertation narrative. Deliverables and expectations are based on the 3-year completion plan.