Embracing Faculty Collaboration: Exploring the Role of Organizational Leadership in an HBCU Doctoral Program

To support continued efforts in our commitment to our students and our scholarly interests, the Organizational Leadership faculty at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore are engaging in ongoing discussions about our role as the only PhD organizational leadership program at a historically Black college and university (HBCU).  We are committed to defining the role of organizational leadership in our practice as researchers, teachers, advisers and colleagues.  We are in the early stages of developing a case study exploring the interdisciplinary focus of an organizational leadership Ph.D. program.  We are striving to identify features of our teaching and scholarship that promote and/or hinder key programmatic efforts designed to support doctoral student success.

To develop this case study, we are engaging in critical reflection of our contribution to program goals, support of our students, service to our institution, and the broader fields we represent, along with utilizing our individual and collective response to Hyatt and Williams’ 2011 article entitled “21st Century Competencies for Doctoral Leadership Faculty.” Questions posed in this article have framed our discussions about the priorities we focus on regarding our professional competencies and the ways these competencies take shape in our day-to-day contributions to our program and the long-term strategic visions for program development.  Three questions were drawn from the article for particular focus:

  •  What issues will faculty who teach in doctoral leadership programs face in the future?
  • What competencies will faculty who teach in doctoral leadership programs need in the second decade of 21st century?
  • What are the primary competencies ranked by doctoral faculty who teach in leadership programs relative to the predominantly evaluated categories of teaching, advising, scholarship, service, and colleagueship? (Hyatt and Williams, 2011)

To address these questions, we have embraced a Delphi-type method of data collection to co-generate dialogue and faculty collaboration through an iterative process of communication and exchange of ideas about what we deem important in our work.  While an underlying goal is to strengthen our collective knowledge about how our ideas and actions shape our practice and program delivery, another intended outcome is to contribute to the body of knowledge of on faculty competencies where “there is a paucity of research specific to competencies necessary for faculty” (Hyatt & Williams, 2011, p. 53).  Furthermore, we embrace the notion that organizational leadership is interdisciplinary, representing multiple fields of study with varied interests and priorities.

Understanding the boundaries evident among disciplines is a priority in our work along with identifying issues common among disciplines and relevant organizations.  These common issues are addressed across five broad organizational leadership themes (but not limited to):

Features of our program:

  • Key program functions
  • Significance of our program within our institution, field, and higher education broadly
  • Exploring the contested nature of their role as student versus consumer
  • Exploring both the short-term and long-term effects of our program (Note: The short-term effects address specific annual goals and outcomes we set as a faculty. The long-term goals focus on what we potentially face in the future regarding how to satisfy the demand of students that become more diverse not only demographically, but also by representation of disciplines and professions).

We will post updates about these efforts as move forward. We also welcome your feedback about this project, or posting on other issues of relevance to organizational leadership!


Hyatt, L. & Williams, P.E. (2011).  21st Century competencies for doctoral leadership faculty, Innovative Higher Education, 36, 53-66.

Written by the faculty in the Organizational Leadership Ph.D. Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.


2 thoughts on “Embracing Faculty Collaboration: Exploring the Role of Organizational Leadership in an HBCU Doctoral Program

  1. This is really important work your faculty is beginning to engage, particularly given your status as the only Organizational Leadership PhD program at a HBCU. Two things come to mind for me while reading your vision for this work: (1) this is awesome modeling for your doctoral students in how to use data to guide practices and organizational decision making and (2) this work can provide a wonderful opportunity to bring visibility to your program and the HBCU in which your program is located. I think the use of a Delphi-type method of data collection seems particularly fitting. From my own field, several close colleagues have used this methodology successfully to identify multicultural school psychology competencies and also social justice competencies. I’ve included one reference below in case you might be interested in how this methodology has been used in school psychology.

    Lopez, E. C., & Rogers, M. R. (2001) Conceptualizing cross-cultural school psychology competencies School Psychology Quarterly, 16(3):270-302. DOI: 10.1521/scpq.

    I’ll look forward to updates.


  2. As a current higher education administrator at a minority serving institution I think it is important for an organizational leadership program at an HBCU to be able to focus on supporting doctoral students through the process with an emphasis on growth. Future faculty at such programs will need to be able to deal with the changes in student demographics, media, and data collection practices, etc. The exposure to as many different methods of teaching, developing students, and guiding students in specific settings will be very important as well. The role of student versus consumer is especially important as I currently work at an enrollment driven institution and the lines between consumer and student are easily merged. Currently I am researching and considering doctoral programs and one thing that is important to me is the flexibility of travel and experiencing other institutions. I would be very interested in the option of working at and or experiencing other organizational process at other HBCUs if I were to attend a doctoral program at an HBCU.


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