Question: What is the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)? Does the CPED accredit EdD programs?
Answer: Established in 2007, the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) is a collection of colleges and schools of education whose faculty meet consistently to discuss, reassess, and improve the structure of the Doctor of Education (EdD) degree. Their membership currently includes over 135 institutions in the United States and Canada, all working together to redesign the EdD to better serve advanced practitioners in the field. The primary goal of CPED is to promote its three-part framework for EdD redesign, which includes “a new definition of the EdD, a set of guiding principles for program development, and a set of design-concepts that serve as program building blocks.” While member schools are expected to adhere to this framework and restructure their EdD programs accordingly, the CPED does not grant any type of accreditation to these institutions or their degree offerings.
The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) is comprised of a wide range of postsecondary institutions who are looking to develop and implement changes to their current EdD programs. Working together, these member schools have performed a critical examination of the Doctor of Education degree and created a set of guiding principles intended to refocus the degree on rigorous practitioner preparation. Colleges that join the consortium agree to adopt and institute this framework, making changes to improve their EdD curriculum with support from the CPED community and membership resources, such as collaborative meetings (also known as Convenings) and access to the peer-reviewed, open source journal, “Impacting Education: Journal for Transforming Professional Practice.”
In our exclusive interview with Dr. Jill Perry, Executive Director of CPED, we discussed the mission and evolution of the CPED. “CPED started in 2007 as a research project among 25 institutions. Really, what that meant was about 50 faculty came together to think it through. We weren’t a formal organization, we didn’t have a coalesced mission early on,” Dr. Perry explained, “As we’ve grown over time, what I’ve observed is that CPED is kind of two things at once–we are a group of institutions, each of which is tackling their Ed.D. program, but as we’ve grown, CPED has become a professional development organization where people collaborate to advance the Ed.D. degree forward.”
Through this combination of discussing innovative ways to improve the EdD, advocating for education practitioners, and designing professional development and networking opportunities for EdD program faculty, CPED takes a multifaceted approach to ensuring the Doctor of Education continues to evolve, expand, and optimally serve the needs of educators and educational leaders.
The CPED Framework for EdD Redesign
In an effort to help improve EdD program content and outcomes, members of CPED developed a framework for EdD redesign that consists of three components. The first is a unified description of the degree that clearly outlines its goal of producing advanced practitioners in the field. According to CPED, “The professional doctorate in education prepares educators for the application of appropriate and specific practices, the generation of new knowledge, and for the stewardship of the profession.” This new definition serves as somewhat of a mission statement for the consortium, summarizing the general consensus of members’ stance on the EdD and serving as the overall objective for program development.
From there, CPED outlined six guiding principles for schools to follow as they reassess and redesign their EdD programs. These guidelines (found on the CPED website) stipulate that the professional doctorate in education:
- Is framed around questions of equity, ethics, and social justice to bring about solutions to complex problems of practice.
- Prepares leaders who can construct and apply knowledge to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families, organizations, and communities.
- Provides opportunities for candidates to develop and demonstrate collaboration and communication skills to work with diverse communities and to build partnerships.
- Provides field-based opportunities to analyze programs of practice and use multiple frames to develop meaningful solutions.
- Is grounded in and develops a professional knowledge base that integrates both practical and research knowledge, that links theory with systemic and systematic inquiry.
- Emphasizes the generation, transformation, and use of professional knowledge and practice.
Finally, CPED members developed a set of seven design concepts based around these principles, each representing an integral factor in the preparation of educational leaders. These are fundamental ideas or elements to be used as building blocks when designing or reconstructing a program, as opposed to a rigid or prescriptive model that schools must adhere to, allowing each institution to apply them in a manner that best aligns with their individual program goals. With that in mind, the consortium believes an effective EdD program should be built upon or include the following concepts (which have been paraphrased from the CPED website):
- Scholarly Practitioners – Professionals who employ practical skills and knowledge to address problems of practice, using practical research and applied theories as tools for change.
- Signature Pedagogy – A pervasive set of practices used to prepare scholarly practitioners to think, perform, and act with integrity, which challenges assumptions, engages in action, and requires ongoing assessment and accountability.
- Inquiry as Practice – The process of posing significant questions that focus on complex problems of practice and the ability to gather and analyze situations, literature, and data with a critical lens.
- Laboratories of Practice – Settings where theory and practice inform and enrich each other, that address complex problems of practice where ideas can be implemented, measured, and analyzed for the impact made.
- Mentoring and Advising – Instructional coaching guided by equity and justice, mutual respect, dynamic learning, cohort and individualized attention, rigorous practices, and integration.
- Problem of Practice – Specific issues embedded in the work of a professional practitioner, the address of which has the potential to result in improved understanding, experience, and outcomes.
- Dissertation in Practice – A scholarly endeavor that impacts a complex problem of practice.
CPED’s Six Values That Reflect the CPED Framework
As CPED has grown, Dr. Perry and her leadership team began to define the organization’s core values and their role in guiding EdD program faculty in their efforts to optimally prepare the next generation of scholarly practitioners. “These values are really reflective of our CPED Framework, which includes our definition of the Ed.D., our six principles that guide program design, and our design concepts that frame the pieces of an Ed.D. program. The values are meant to be shared across both the program and the organization itself,” she noted in her interview. The six values (and how they apply to EdD programs as well as education practitioners in the field) are as follows:
- Diversity: Embracing the value of every learner’s perspectives, and prioritizing the voices and input of diverse communities in improving both CPED and its member schools and partners.
- Learning: Investing in continual improvement and growth, as well as the practical application of new scholarly knowledge about education leadership and addressing barriers to academic equity and success.
- Partnership: Seeking to strengthen partnerships with schools offering EdD programs, as well as with education leaders at public school districts, community colleges, and other organizations that focus on advancing education for diverse learners at all levels.
- People: Prioritizing the lived experiences, needs, concerns, and insights of educational professionals.
- Social Justice: Maintaining ethical, inclusive, and just practices throughout all CPED initiatives, and having an accessibility-focused perspective underpinning all programs, educational media, and collaborative events.
- Students First: Upholding the principle that all education leaders should put their students first, from CPED’s mentorship of EdD faculty, to EdD faculty’s prioritization of their students’ goals and professional development needs, to education practitioners’ support of their students across diverse public and private school settings.
The Impact of CPED on EdD Programs
CPED only accepts non-profit institutions with current accreditation from a U.S. regional accrediting body, who can demonstrate commitment to ongoing enhancement of EdD education and a willingness to implement the CPED Framework in their EdD program. To illustrate the ongoing impact that the CPED has had on EdD programs nationwide, OnlineEdDPrograms.com interviewed the program directors for several EdD programs that are CPED members (you can view CPED-related interviews with program faculty in our Educational and Organizational Leadership Interviews section).
For example, Northeastern University’s Doctor of Education program won the 2022 CPED Program of the Year Award. In an exclusive interview with OnlineEdDPrograms.com, Northeastern’s Assistant Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs Dr. Sara Ewell explained how, “Having CPED behind us as a standard of excellence within the field really helped establish our work. […] The CPED convenings and subsequent relationships have been really helpful in terms of creating thought partners. I feel like every relationship or conversation that I had at the convening or follow-up was another little nugget of the big picture: […] ‘Wow that’s a really great idea to use that kind of a template to help students organize the literature review’ or ‘That’s really interesting, what you’re doing to ensure that social justice is infused throughout the program.’”
Similarly, in an exclusive interview with Dr. Nancy Hastings, Assistant Dean of the College of Education at the University of West Florida (UWF) and Chair of the Department of Instructional Design and Technology, she explained how her program’s membership with CPED helped them clarify their curricular content and research mentorship and guidance for students. “We are a member of the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate, and the resources our membership provides to our faculty and students also make us stand out. The Carnegie Project is all about recognizing that an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. are two very different things, meant for different audiences,” she noted, “An Ed.D. is for the practitioner—the person who is looking to be the leader in their organization. The chief learning officer or performance consultant, those are people who are going to stay in practice.”
Choosing an EdD Program
As mentioned above, CPED does not directly accredit EdD programs, and member schools may be in different phases of implementing the framework and its guidelines. In general, students should choose an EdD that provides the curriculum and structure needed to help them best achieve their academic and career goals, independent of whether the program comes from a CPED member school. With that said, membership is definitely another factor one might consider when researching options for their doctorate.
If students are unclear about how a particular institution has implemented the framework or where they are in the process, it is best to reach out to a school representative for more information. This is a great opportunity to learn how a prospective EdD program has evolved over time and where the school sees that program going in the future. Pursuing an EdD is a significant time and financial commitment; therefore, students should be certain that the program they choose is the ideal match for their personal and professional needs both now and in years to come.
|Featured Online EdD Programs|
Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Organizational Innovation
Arizona State University
Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D) in Leadership & Innovation with Pathways in PreKindergarten-Grade 12 Change Leadership; Higher Education Change Leadership; and Systems, Professional and Reimagined Change Leadership
University of Dayton
Online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership for Organizations
Online Ed.D. in Education and Leadership with Concentrations in Higher Education, Health Care Education, K-12 Leadership, and Organizational Leadership
|Note: These institutions are members of the CPED consortium.|
Online EdD Programs offered by Schools that are members of the CPED
The following schools are members of the CPED and offer online EdD programs. The CPED classifies members into three categories based on their phase of program development. These three phases include: Designing and Developing, Implementing, and Experienced. The following schools/programs are currently in one of these three phases.