Santa Maria Ed.D. program to start in June

1st doctorate outside Ventura County for Cal Lutheran

Victoria L. Kelly directs Graduate School of Education programs in Santa Maria.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Jan. 22, 2018) California Lutheran University will offer a doctorate outside of Ventura County for the first time with the June launch of the Educational Leadership Program in Santa Maria.

The new Ed.D. program will prepare experienced educators and administrators for advanced leadership roles in kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and districts. Students can complete the hybrid program in three years while working full time. Sixty percent of classes will be held about once a month on Friday nights and Saturdays at the Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s Souza Center. The other 40 percent of instruction will take place online.

Moving through the program with a cohort, students will benefit from developing relationships with fellow professionals in their small classes. This cohort system was a distinctive feature of Cal Lutheran’s first doctoral program, also in educational leadership, which has been based on its main campus in Thousand Oaks since 2002.

Graduate School of Education faculty members with experience in the field and local school administrators will serve as instructors and mentors. Classes will emphasize organizational and research skills. The program helps students develop the expertise to support diversity, access and success and to lead positive organizational change. Students will examine educational leadership practices throughout the nation and world and have opportunities to collaborate and integrate theory with real-world application. The program is designed to prepare ethical, reflective leaders who can effectively steer the schools of today and the future.

Cal Lutheran offered its first Santa Maria Valley program, an integrated master’s degree in educational leadership and preliminary administrative services credential, in 2012. The accelerated one-year program for working professionals will continue. Victoria L. Kelly, who earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, directs both programs.

The university also offers doctoral programs in higher education leadership and clinical psychology in Ventura County. Cal Lutheran has a total enrollment of about 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students in its College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Psychology and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. Programs are based in Woodland Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Santa Maria and Berkeley. Members of the Cal Lutheran student body come from across the nation and around the world and represent a diversity of faiths and cultures.

Applications for the first doctoral cohort in Santa Maria are being accepted. For more information, visit or contact Carol Lingrosso, assistant director for graduate admission, at