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Sample Schedule & Course Descriptions

The program uses a blended delivery approach. Classes typically have a face-to-face component of a few days or a weekend. Typical summers require leaders to be in Michigan for 4 - 5 days. The balance of instruction is online, with occasional synchronous virtual conversations. Cohort members typically make 4 - 5 trips to Michigan each year, except for site-based cohorts that are held at other locations. Complete in just three years with 61 credits.

Sample Schedule

Summer Year 1 
1 credit dissertation
Fall Year 1 
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 1 
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 
2 credits dissertation
Fall Year 2 
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 2 
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 
1 credit dissertation
Fall Year 3 
1 credit dissertation
Spring Year 3 
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 decision making 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.