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SCU launches EdD program in Social Justice Leadership

Santa Clara University Welcomes its Inaugural Doctor of Education in Social Justice Leadership Cohort

 EdD Announcement Fall 2021

Santa Clara University welcomes its inaugural cohort of Doctor of Education (EdD) in Social Justice Leadership students, reinforcing the School of Education and Counseling Psychology’s commitment to building a more humane, just, and sustainable world.

The elite EdD program consists of 19 students who collectively reflect a diverse population: 60% were first-generation college students, and 79% identify as people of color.  Students represent an exciting mix of PreK-12, higher education, and social impact organizations.

“Santa Clara University is cultivating world-class leaders in education—school, district, higher education and social impact organizational leaders who will make an impact in Silicon Valley and beyond,” says Dean Sabrina Zirkel, PhD. “Our exceptional faculty have developed a well-balanced curriculum to cultivate students’ capacity to lead complex, effective, and change-oriented organizations,” adds Zirkel.

Pedro Nava, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Educational Leadership is an expert in engaging and supporting Latinx students and communities and supporting community-engaged leaders. He brings extensive experience teaching and leading an EdD program. “What excites me most about the EdD program is that it truly expands the advancement opportunities for so many professionals who have deep connections to Bay Area communities. This doctoral studies program encourages reflection, growth, and the application of new skills and is coupled with a rigorous academic environment,” explains Nava.

This 36-month long program is designed to equip graduates with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to lead complex organizations. Students select one of three tracks or specializations: PreK-12 Education, Higher Education, or Social Impact Leadership.

The curriculum is focused around four strands—foundations that provide theoretical concepts and frameworks, leadership development to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively lead complex mission and values-driven organizations, developing an inquiry stance to inform decision-making and actions, and developing content expertise in one of the three specialization areas. 

Applicants to join the next cohort are due January 1, 2022. Request information from the admissions team to stay informed about the EdD program, or attend an upcoming event.

About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see

About the School of Education and Counseling Psychology

Santa Clara University’s School of Education and Counseling Psychology has been educating and inspiring students since 1912, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. ECP envisions a region and world in which everyone has access to an inspiring education and the psychological tools and support to propel them toward flourishing lives of meaning, purpose, and connection. With graduate degree programs in teacher education, Catholic school formation, counseling psychology, applied psychology, educational leadership, and social justice, its curriculum builds on the foundation of Jesuit values, integrating faculty excellence and experiential learning to cultivate a dynamic learning environment. For more information, visit