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Darden College of Education & Professional StudiesDepartment of Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Foundations & Leadership department has four academic program areas that explore the relationship between leadership and learning. Each program provides you with the necessary skills needed to elevate your career in education and make a difference. You can find a list of our programs below. Contact us if you have any questions or want to try a class.

Explore Our Programs

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Community College Leadership

Consider applying to our nationally recognized PH. D. and Graduate Certificate programs for leadership roles in community college.

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PK-12 Educational Leadership

Receive an M.S., ED.S, or Ph.D. for those aspiring to be leaders for school and division-level administrative positions.

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Education Psychology & Program Evaluation

This PH. D. program prepares you to become an expert in learning theories, program evaluation, and assessment and research methods.

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Higher Education Program

Obtain an M.S. or Ph. D. degree for those seeking careers in advanced leadership positions in higher education.

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Student Testimonials

Don't just take our word for it. Check out what these students had to say about being a part of our programs.

Brent Via

Brent Via

"The Community College Leadership Ph.D. program has far exceeded all of the hopes and expectations with which I entered. Having supportive colleagues and faculty that constantly show they care about me and my goals has been instrumental to my success.”

James Holeman

James Holeman

"The Ed Leadership Ph. D. program gave me the confidence to walk in my truth and continue being a beacon of light to the students, staff, and community I serve. Highly recommend this program because of the relevant learning experiences that challenge us to be better leaders."

Kendra Hall

Kendra Hall

"The EPPE program has provided me with numerous opportunities to expand my research skills and knowledge while working with faculty on grants, research projects, and publications. I am so grateful for the EPPE faculty; their support is unmeasurable."

Innovative Faculty


Laura earned her Ph.D. in Critical and Sociocultural Studies in Education from the University of Oregon. She is an assistant professor of and Graduate Program Director for Higher Education in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership.

Her research focuses on the possible futures created and foreclosed by assessment regimes in undergraduate education, interests that stem from her decade of experience with high-stakes assessments of academic progress in Division I athletic academic support offices.

She uses critical and poststructural theory to study the role of assessment and various datafications of the student experience in creating the modern college student. Recently, her coauthored work on alternative valuations of the student experience was published in the Journal of College Student Development.


Felecia is an associate professor of Higher Education in the Educational Foundations and Leadership department. Her research focus is leadership, governance, and administrative practices at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs).

Felecia's additional research interests include how leadership is exercised, constructed, and viewed in various communities, and the relationship between Black women and leadership.

She is co-editor of the books Opportunities and Challenges of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Graduate Education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): A Student Perspective. She is also the lead author of the book, Black College Women: A Guide to Success in Higher Education.


Tony Perez is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Educational Foundations and Leadership department. His research focus is on the role of motivation and identity development in academic persistence and achievement, especially for students from underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. He also applies motivation and identity principles to the design of learning environments and interventions to support STEM achievement and persistence for students who are underrepresented.

Tony has received funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, National Institutes of Health, and Spencer Foundation to support his work. He presents his work at national and international conferences (e.g., AERA, EARLI) and has published his work in leading educational psychology journals such as Journal of Educational Psychology and Contemporary Educational Psychology. Starting in January 2023, Tony will step into an Associate Editor role for Contemporary Educational Psychology. Finally, Tony received the 2021-2022 University Doctoral Mentoring Award for the Darden College of Education & Professional Studies.


Charles Mathies is an Assistant Professor in the Higher Education and Community College Leadership program at Old Dominion University. He also holds ancillary appointments in the Finnish Institute for Educational Research (KTL) at the University of Jyväskylä and in the Higher Education Group (HEG) at Tampere University in Finland. Dr. Mathies' research focuses on the role of global markets, politics, and infrastructures in the movement of knowledge, data, and people across borders. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of Georgia specializing in public policy and quantitative data analysis. Prior to joining academia, he worked 18+ years in institutional research, strategic planning, and student affairs in universities in the USA and Europe.

In The News

Finland Study Abroad

ODU HIED visits Finland

Students and faculty in HIED 744/844: Global Higher Education Systems visited educational leaders and institutions in Finland. Travelling to Helsinki, Jyvaskyla & Tampere, the class made presentations at a comparative higher education conference, met with internationalization and strategic planning experts, as well as had some good fun. Thank you to Dr.s Mathies and Smithers who led the group. Ask us about next year's study abroad! (More)

VASCD Award Recipient Karen Sanzos

Dr. Karen Sanzo wins 2023 VASCD Impact Award

Dr. Karen Sanzo won a 2023 VASCD Impact Award. VASCD is the Virginia affiliate of ASCD and is dedicated to advancing excellence in Virginia's schools through professional learning opportunities, advocacy and publications. Dr. Sanzo was honored at an awards luncheon at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts along with Dr. Kate Maxlow who nominated her for the award. (More)


Dr. Commodore featured in REACH Collaborative podcast

Dr. Felecia Commodore is a featured guest in the REACH Collaborative’s podcast series titled Promoting Racial Equity in Credentialing Pathways for Adult Learners of Color. (More)

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Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

First Fridays

Get an inside look into your major of interest when you speak to professors and current students at our monthly First Friday events.

Spring Open Houses

Explore our beautiful campus and its community! Join us for our Spring Open House events in February and March.