Education Specialist in Organizational Leadership

Becoming an Education Specialist will give you the skills necessary to effectively lead in resource development and organizational culture.

Becoming an Education Specialist will give you the skills necessary to effectively lead in resource development and organizational culture.

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Our online degree programs are designed for busy working adults just like you – intentionally structured to allow you to balance work, life and other commitments. As a student of ACU Online, you are part of a vibrant, virtual, Christ-centered community.

About the Program

Rear view of mature teacher giving a lecture in a classroom. Education Specialist in Organizational Leadership

ACU Online’s Ed.S. program is designed to equip professionals who are currently serving in positions of leadership within their organization, or for those seeking leadership roles who are not seeking the credential of a terminal degree, but are looking for a way to differentiate themselves.

Program Structure

All the Details on Your Degree

Our program is organized around five core competencies: personal development, resource development, collaboration and communication, organizational assessment, and organizational culture. Upon completing the Education Specialist program, you will know not only how to lead, but how to lead with purpose based upon the foundation of Christian vocation.

Required Hours

45 hours
2.5 year timeframe

Example Coursework

Theories and Practices of Effective Leadership
Self-Assessment in Leadership
Leadership in Diverse Contexts
Organizational Change

Upcoming Start Dates

January 11, 2022
March 8, 2022


Master of Science in Organizational Development

Positive Leadership

Positive Leadership is a relatively new field dating back to the early 2000’s. Built upon the foundations of positive scholarship, Positive Leadership examines outcomes, processes and attributes that lead to growth and excellence in organizations and their members. Focusing on relationships, climate, meaning, and communication, this concentration examines how individuals, organizations, and their leaders go beyond existing to thriving and excelling.




Higher Education

Higher Education

The concentration in Higher Education leads students to a well-rounded understanding of the higher education landscape. Students can choose from a variety of courses that include important and relevant topics including resource management, legal and ethical considerations, diversity, student development, spiritual formation, and assessment and research.




conflict management

Conflict Management

Conflict is experienced in all organizations. The Conflict Management concentration focuses on the dynamics of interpersonal conflict and effective negotiation and mediation skills. Developed for individuals in a wide variety of organizational and personal environments, this concentration also delves into organizational decision-making theory and practical alternatives designed to promote a culture of collaboration, resiliency, and inclusivity within an organization.




Learning with Emerging Technologies

Learning with Emerging Technologies

In today’s world technology plays a key part in learning organizations. The Learning with Emerging Technologies (LET) concentration focuses on all things related to technology-enhanced learning environments, including course design and development, ways to meet challenges, the evaluation of emerging technology practices, the theory and structure of instructional design, and adult motivation and self-directed learning.

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Karen Maxwell. Doctor of Education

Dr. Karen Maxwell, Education Specialist in Organizational Leadership

Dr. Karen Maxwell is associate professor and program director for the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Education Specialist in Organizational Leadership programs. A majority of Dr. Maxwell’s leadership experience has been in public and private K-12 settings at the campus, regional, and state levels. She served on the statewide teacher appraisal advisory committee and most recently, on the Texas Education Agency’s team to develop Advancing Educational Leadership (AEL), an instructional leadership program required for Texas teacher evaluators and school principals. Dr. Maxwell earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, where she researched principal assessment programs and campus leadership practices. She holds master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and a B.A. in English from Abilene Christian University.


Kimberly Parrott, EDD Student

Student Spotlight: Kimberly Parrott, Ed.D.

Kimberly Parrott, online Ed.D. student says, “A lot of times when people think of these online experiences, they think it’s technical and that they won’t receive the same connection and support, but ACU has gone above and beyond to let you know there is someone there for you to answer your questions and be heard.” Read our latest blog to learn how her time as a Wildcat has changed her perspective on the field of education and the practical takeaways she has gained.

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Karen Maxwell With Other Ed.D. Faculty

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Karen Maxwell

From growing up in the Abilene community, to serving students online as Ed.D. and Ed.S. Program Director and Associate Professor, ACU has always held a special place in Dr. Karen Maxwell’s heart. Check out our latest faculty spotlight to learn more about her and her journey to online education.

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5 Traits of Pos Leadership

The 5 Traits of Positive Leadership to Master

Do you want to take your leadership skills even further? Here are five skill areas where you need to focus your attention to achieve personal and professional success.

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Dr. Jennifer Butcher, Professor, School of Education Leadership

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jennifer Butcher

Meet Dr. Jennifer Butcher, Director of Diversity and Professor in the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program! She has a passion for online learning and infusing a Christian worldview into her work. Read more to learn more about Dr. Butcher’s journey to ACU Online.

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Confident leadership fuels productivity

The Difference Between Transactional and Transformational Leadership

Transactional and transformational practices lie at separate ends of the leadership spectrum, but both are applicable to today’s business environment. Read on to learn the differences between these styles and how they are practiced in the workplace.

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7 Tips That Will Prepare You for Your Online Degree Program

Set yourself up for success in your online class by using these tips and tricks to prepare for this new adventure.

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Portrait of a mid adult coffee shop owner, Education Specialist in Organizational Leadership

Upon completion, graduates will be able to:

  • Integrate insight about their own calling with their ability to influence organizations in a purposeful manner
  • Create, interpret, and administer practices with regard to resource management in organizational contexts
  • Design and implement messaging to build shared understanding and quality professional and personal relationships
  • Apply organizational assessment strategies to their organizational contexts
  • Demonstrate healthy leadership practices to influence organizational culture
Middle aged black female teacher smiling in school corridor, Education Specialist in Organizational Leadership

To be considered for admission, students must:

  • Complete the online program application accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee.
  • Submit official transcripts showing earned bachelor’s and master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or the equivalent.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, probationary status may be granted.
  • Provide an academic writing sample.
  • Submit a current resume.
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Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.

Abilene Christian University enjoys a strong national reputation as one of the leading private Christian universities in the west and southwest, indicated by various ratings (such as U.S. News and World Report and other reports).