Faculty chatting outside

Doctoral Program Priorities

Azusa Pacific’s doctoral programs in higher education are committed to three priorities in their teaching, research, and service: Student Success and Strengths Development, Leadership and Christian Higher Education, and Global Justice Issues. By establishing these three areas as priorities, our curriculum, research agendas, and stewardship of our time and service as students and faculty can be strategically focused for maximum effect.

Student Success and Strengths Development

Our department’s priorities in this area are evident in the following:

  • Courses on Student Access, Equity, and Success; Teaching, Learning, and Assessment; and Strengths-Oriented Research and Programming.
  • Two faculty research teams on student success.
  • Three faculty (Laurie Schreiner, PhD, Young Kim, PhD, and Michelle Louis, PhD) whose research agendas and publications focus on student success, thriving, strengths development, and/or positive student development theory.
  • Landmark research on college student thriving, anchored by a nationally normed instrument created at APU (see ThrivingInCollege.org).
  • APU’s is the only higher education doctoral program in the country that is strengths-oriented. Our students have the opportunity to identify and develop their strengths, conduct significant research in this area, identify and develop the strengths of others, and learn to create organizational cultures that are strengths-oriented.

Leadership and Christian Higher Education

Our department’s priorities in this area are evident in the following:

  • Courses on Strengths-Oriented Leadership, Leading Change, and Administration in Higher Education.
  • Being home to the peer-reviewed journal Christian Higher Education: An International Journal of Research, Theory, and Practice, whose co-editors are Karen Longman, PhD, and Laurie Schreiner, PhD
  • A research team focused on leadership within Christian higher education.
  • Two faculty (Longman and Schreiner) with significant experience and expertise in national projects on Christian higher education.
  • Two faculty (Longman and Tabatha Jones Jolivet) with significant leadership experience within faith-based universities and with research agendas that focus on leadership issues.

Global Justice Issues

Our department’s priorities in this area are evident in the following:

  • Coursework on social justice and diversity in higher education and global higher education policy.
  • International travel to South Africa required as part of the Global Policy course and included in students’ tuition.
  • Research teams focused on international higher education and U.S. social justice issues, led by Alex Jun, PhD, Chris Collins, PhD, and Tabatha Jones Jolivet.
Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.