Research News

Vanderbilt’s online education doctorate ranked No. 1 by ‘Fortune’

By Jenna Somers

Fortune has ranked Vanderbilt University as having the No. 1 online education doctorate in organizational leadership in 2022. It joins a long list of other top-ranked programs at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development, including the No. 1 programs in special education and educational administration, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“This No. 1 ranking by Fortune reflects the remarkable talents of our online students in both their academic and professional careers, as well as their commitment to furthering their learning and growth so that they can become the best educational leaders in their organizations,” said Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development. “It is wonderful to see how the knowledge and experience they gain through this program allows them to have an immediate impact on their fields and in their workplaces.” 

The online doctoral program in leadership and learning in organizations (LLO) is geared toward mid-career professionals and maximizes flexibility to help them complete their degrees within approximately three years. Courses are held once a week virtually, with live and recorded sessions, and students attend three in-person sessions over the course of the program.  

The curriculum of the online program applies to an array of fields beyond K-12 and higher education, preparing graduates to lead learning in a variety of organizations. Students take courses in leadership and decision-making, organizational development, learning and design, and data analytics. Toward the end of their programs, students complete a capstone project in which they apply their knowledge and training to develop a plan to support an organization through learning challenges. 

“The program curriculum creates ample opportunities to work collaboratively, across industries, to solve persistent organizational problems,” said Susan Burns, director of digital education at Peabody College. “Much of what makes LLO unique can be found in the diversity of professional backgrounds and personal experiences that students bring to the program. Our students come from a variety of fields such as health care, education, the military, business and the nonprofit sector.” 

Recent alumni Michael Hill, EdD’22, president of Chautauqua Institution, and Mautra Jones, EdD’22, the first woman and the first person of color to serve as president of the Oklahoma City Community College, spoke with Fortune about their experiences in Vanderbilt’s online program. Hill said he chose Vanderbilt because of the program’s diversity, rigor and flexibility, which allowed him to pursue a doctorate while continuing his career. Jones spoke about the value of Peabody’s emphasis on putting theory into practice and the insights she gained due in large part to the supportive and diverse network of faculty and students in the program.  

Fortune ranked online doctor of education programs based on their selectivity, success and demand scores, with selectivity accounting for 66 percent of the methodology’s consideration, and 17 percent each for the other criteria. Students are admitted to Vanderbilt’s program based on an assessment of their verbal and analytical skills as well as their capacity for leadership. Most importantly, they must have a strong sense of how they want to lead in their careers or fields and demonstrate a passion for applying their knowledge to design practical solutions to systemic problems. 

Prospective students interested in learning more about the program should visit Peabody Online or call 855-338-4540.