Community College Leadership, Graduate Certificate

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Become a School Leader

The need for community college leaders and administrators is great and action today will help the nation's community colleges better serve tomorrow's students.

Program Description

This online community college leadership graduate certificate is designed to develop professional leadership capabilities to meet the needs of potential and current community college leadership personnel.

Students who complete the online community college leadership program will be awarded a graduate certificate from the University of Nebraska.

The Community College Leadership graduate certificate includes three components:

  1. 15 credit hours of graduate coursework in Educational Administration that develop the knowledge and capabilities for effective leadership of the community college
  2. Involvement in professional associations related to the community college
  3. Support of an institutional sponsor or mentor from the student’s employing institution

Students who complete the certificate and subsequently apply for, and are admitted, may request that the credit hours completed in the certificate program be accepted into a master’s or doctoral degree program of study in UNL’s Department of Educational Administration.

Acceptance of the credits earned in the certificate program requires Office of Graduate Studies and supervisory committee approval and is not guaranteed.

Special Accreditation

In addition to the Higher Learning Commission accreditation carried by all University of Nebraska degrees, this graudate certificate program is also accredited by:

  • Teacher Education Association Council
  • Nebraska Department of Education

Nebraska Department of Education logo, TEAC logo

Delivery Format

Home Campus: University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Method of Delivery: 100% Online - what's this?Program can be completed fully at a distance. Courses are asynchronous, meaning students and instructor may access content at any time and do not have to be connected to the Internet at the same time. If your program includes an internship or practicum, experiences may be completed in the student's local area.

All online courses are accessed via the Internet and use a learning management system. Technology requirements may vary by program and course, but all campuses have basic recommended requirements. High-speed Internet is required.

Interaction with professors and other students may include:

  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • Phone or video conferencing
  • Other forms of electronic and print communication

Supplemental materials for some courses may include:

  • Printed material and scanned documents
  • Digital resources accessed through university libraries
  • Videos accessed via the Internet, CDs or DVDs
  • Other media

To be successful, students taking online classes should be reasonably comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Learn more about online student tips for success.

Academic Year 2013 - 2014

Tuition rates are effective for the academic year listed. Tuition is subject to change.

Nebraska Resident:

 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$325.50$25.00$7.35$4.00$361.85
3 credit hour$976.50$75.00$22.05$12.00$1,085.55


 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$609.00$25.00$7.35$4.00$645.35
3 credit hour$1,827.00$75.00$22.05$12.00$1,936.05

Note: In addition to the costs outlined above, students will be assessed a $20.00 registration fee each semester they enroll in courses.

The community college leadership 15 credit hour online certificate program allows participants to complete the courses in three or four semesters (12 to 18 months). Students may begin the program in any semester. Sample programs are illustrated below:

Fall Semester Start:
Fall Semester – EDAD 893, EDAD 910
Spring Semester – EDAD 890, EDAD 966
Summer Semester – EDAD 923

Spring Semester Start:
Spring Semester – EDAD 923, EDAD 890
Fall Semester – EDAD 893, EDAD 910
Spring Semester – EDAD 966

Summer Session Start:
Summer Semester – EDAD 923
Fall Semester – EDAD 893, EDAD 910
Spring Semester – EDAD 890, EDAD 966

EDAD 910 or EDAD 923 should be completed during the initial semester of enrollment.  It is recommended that EDAD 966 be the final course in the program.

Professional Development and Institutional Sponsorship Requirements

In addition to the required courses, CCLC participants are also required to complete a professional development activity and demonstrate institutional support for their leadership aspirations. 

Professional development Can be demonstrated in a number of ways. Many institutions and states now
have "grow your own" leadership programs. In a number of communities there
are leadership programs sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce or some
other entity. Numerous community college organizations and associations have
professional development seminars or institutes – too many for us to name
them all. Each CCLC participant will be assigned an advisor and in
consultation with the advisor a professional development activity will be agreed upon.
Demonstration of institutional support Having an institutional sponsor, a person who the CCLC participant can discuss
assignments from the UNL courses and the professional development participation
is considered a minimum. An institutional mentor, going beyond a sponsor to include
discussions of how the CCLC participant can further their leadership development,
allowing the CCLC participant to shadow them in their leadership roles, or providing
opportunities for the CCLC participant to gain administrative and leadership
experience is preferred. In consultation with the advisor, the CCLC participant and
the sponsor/mentor will develop strategies and activities to fulfill this requirement.

As part of EDAD 966 – Community College Leadership, each CCLC participant will provide evidence that they have completed the professional development and institutional sponsorship requirements.

In order to be awarded the certificate, participants must complete each of the three required components (Satisfactory course completion, Professional Development and Institutional Support).

Course Name
Course #
Core Courses

Workforce, Economic, & Community Development

Workforce, economic, and community development represents a central mission of the community college. Community colleges provide an important means for educating citizens and preparing skilled workers to maintain the civic vitality and economic growth of their communities. EDAD 890 develops the knowledge base and capabilities needed by community college leaders to advance the workforce, economic, and community development mission of the community college. This course explores the workforce, economic and community development role of the community college within the broader context of recent economic, social, and technological changes in communities, society, and the economy and examines the how this role is integrated with, and distinct from, other community college missions. Drawing on both sound theory and best practices, course topics include the strategy, structure, funding, policy, and programs of the community college related to workforce, economic, and community development. Using both conventional and applied/experiential learning activities, students will explore leadership issues related to planning, managing, budgeting, and evaluating the effectiveness of workforce, economic, and community development programs in the community college.

Teaching and Learning in the Community College

EDAD 893
This course is planned for individuals who hold or aspire to leadership positions in community colleges that focus on or support instructional programs and others who seek to learn more about this particular aspect of America’s comprehensive community colleges. The primary purpose of the course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of five aspects of the community college:
  • Its curricular missions (general education, transfer education, career education, remedial/developmental education, community education);
  • Its faculty and student population;
  • Issues concerning program and curriculum development;
  • Human resources aspects related to instructional programs (full- and part-time faculty ratios, hiring qualified adjunct faculty, faculty development programs);
  • Issues concerning the evaluation of programs and the assessment of student outcomes.

The Higher Education Environment

EDAD 910
Universities are adaptive, living systems interacting with their environment. Equips participants with the skills required to analyze and assess the environment of higher education institutions. Environment concepts, components and structures are studied together with analysis techniques and methodological approaches to future study.

The Community/Junior College

EDAD 923
Designed particularly for those interested in upper secondary and college levels. Junior college movement; relationship of movement to provisions for an adequate educational program; functions of the junior college; legal status and basis for extension of junior college; problems of organization, administration, and curriculum.

Community College Leadership

EDAD 966
Community colleges have long been recognized for their responsiveness in meeting the needs of various constituencies. This characteristic, however, was developed during times when most constituencies were local in nature. Greater student diversity, advances in technology, increasing demands for accountability, and the globalization of society has expanded the constituency base of community colleges and presents new challenges to leaders. Thus, the community college and its leaders need to adapt in new ways—ways that require a new and different set of leadership skills and competencies. This course serves as a capstone to the leadership certificate program, focusing on the literature related to the skills and competencies required for effective community college leadership and reflecting on the courses and activities completed while pursuing the leadership certificate.

Students who complete the certificate and subsequently apply for and are admitted to a master's or doctoral degree program may request that the credit hours completed in the certificate program be accepted in a graduate program of study. Acceptance of the credits earned in the certificate program requires Office of Graduate Studies and supervisory committee approval and is not guaranteed.

Brent D. Cejda, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair

Richard Torraco, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Guidelines for Admittance

To participate in this online program the student must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution

NOTE: If you are already admitted to a degree program, please see your adviser to set up a plan of study for the certificate program.


Application Checklist

  1. Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
  2. Apply and be admitted to the Department of Educational Administration:
    • Department Certificate Application Form
    • Letter of application
    • Personal vitae/resume
    • Essay/goal statement
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Registration form

Send departmental application materials to:

Department of Education Administration
Graduate Secretary
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
141 Teachers College Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0360


Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions, contact department for more information.


Online Worldwide Educational Representative

For More Information, Please Contact
Cheryl Griffith
Phone: 402.472.5515


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