Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership

Two women in the Educational Leadership and Policy program talk about a paper during class.

Photo of Beth Bukoski

Program Co-Coordinator
Beth Bukoski

Photo of Liliana Garces

Program Co-Coordinator
Liliana Garces

The GRE is not required for those applying to the Program in Higher Education Leadership in Fall 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that some university-wide fellowship programs may consider GRE scores. Applicants who want to be eligible for all possible fellowships and scholarships might want to take the GRE.

The Program in Higher Education Leadership (PHEL) is devoted to the scholarly study of higher education, its students and institutions, and its place in society. This program prepares, trains, and educates students to become researchers in academia and the private sector. 

Our faculty and students are in the vanguard of understanding and shaping the dynamic environment of higher education now and in the future. Higher education is being reconceived and reorganized through:

  • increased access and challenges in retention and completion for more diverse student communities,
  • intensified accountability and governmental oversight,
  • the need for lifelong avenues of learning and re-training, and
  • the opportunities presented by digital innovations both in and out of the classroom.

Students seeking a Ph.D. receive a thorough grounding in the functioning of postsecondary institutions and in the skills of administration, decision-making, and leadership. They develop an understanding of the particular role of postsecondary institutions in society as both distributors and creators of knowledge, the historical context from which those institutions have emerged, and the ethical considerations that must surround and guide the enterprise.

Finally, the program prepares doctoral students to be consumers and producers of postsecondary research and scholarship, while socializing students towards possible careers in academia and higher education leadership.

This degree emphasizes preparation for a research career in which the graduate will add to the core of knowledge that is the basis for informed practice. The curriculum is oriented toward the development of theory and research skills in a variety of methodologies and includes a strong secondary emphasis in a cognate field of study.

This program starts in the fall semester.



Photo of Beth Bukoski

Beth E. Bukoski

Associate Professor of Practice

Focuses on issues that affect underrepresented students and faculty related to identity intersectionality and performativity, particularly critical theories and constructs of gender, sexuality, race, and class.

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Norma Cantú, J.D.

Ken McIntyre Professor for Excellence in School Leadership

With a background as assistant secretary of education for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration, she teaches topics in civil rights and the intersection of law and policy in education.

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Liliana Garces

Associate Professor

Studies educational inequality, higher education equity and access policies for underrepresented populations, use and influence of research in Supreme Court cases. 

Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez

Professor of Practice

Expertise in student affairs leadership and administration, improving the college student experience, and expanding access to higher education for first-generation college students.

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Manuel J Justiz


A. M. Aikin Regents Chair in Education Leadership

Bringing the experience of 28 years as dean of the College of Education, Justiz shares his expertise in topics of public policy, the politics of education, and providing equal access for minorities in education.

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Marilyn C. Kameen


A. M. Aikin Regents Chair in Junior and Community College Education Leadership

Interests include academic administration, faculty in higher education, and college student development with research on college teaching and minorities in higher education.

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Charles Martinez, Jr.


Lee Hage Jamail Regents Chair in Education, Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair

Focuses on identifying factors that hinder or promote the success of children and families from vulnerable and underserved populations.

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Richard J. Reddick

Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach

Examines the experiences of faculty of color at predominantly White institutions; mentoring relationships between faculty and Black students; and work-life balance in academia.

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Victor B. Sáenz

Professor, Chair

Leads the Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success Initiative focused on Latino males in education; seeks to advance research-informed policy solutions that enhance educational outcomes for underserved students in secondary and post-secondary education.

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Lauren Schudde

Assistant Professor

Studies the impact of educational policies and practices on college student outcomes using quantitative methods.

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Edwin R. Sharpe

Professor of Practice

Scholarly interests include organizational theory and behavior as applied to universities, educational politics and policy, and the interaction and alignment of P-20 educational systems.

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Patricia Somers

Associate Professor

Serves as a faculty affiliate in Women’s and Gender Studies and Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies. Researches topics such as campus safety, higher education law, academic freedom, and higher education in Brazil.

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Joe Wilcox

Specialist, Program Coordinator

Expertise in Title IV policy and administration and higher education fundraising. Focuses on issues of college affordability, under-represented student recruitment, and donor relations.

Adjunct Faculty

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Cassandre Giguere Alvarado

Assistant Professor of Practice

Executive Director for Student Success Initiatives

Focuses research on student success and graduation initiatives, including innovative college readiness assignments, student success programs and understanding the completion agenda.

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Michael Bohlig

Assistant Professor of Practice

As Assistant Director of Research at CCCSE, Bohlig’s research interests center on student success at community colleges and the effects of enrollment status and developmental education on persistence and completion.

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Aileen Bumphus

Assistant Professor of Practice, Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity Initiatives in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

Research interests include educational leadership, emotional intelligence, and resiliency.

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Linda Garcia

Assistant Professor of Practice

Assistant Director of College Relations of the Center for Community College Student Engagement

Oversees the Center’s community college relations and serves as a point of contact for state leaders, funders and national higher education organizations.

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Douglas Garrard

Assistant Professor of Practice

Serves as Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Senior Associate Dean of Students, and teaches courses related to on-campus culture in higher education.

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Jenna Cullinane Hege

Assistant Professor of Practice

With her team, leverages the state’s vast data resources to inform higher education policy and improve student success and educational equity in Texas.

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Mylon Kirksy

Assistant Professor of Practice

Director of Residence Life for Housing and Food Service

Teaches courses that examine the intersectionality of culture, organizations, and systems of privilege, power, and difference in higher education.

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Edward Leach

Assistant Professor of Practice

Executive Director of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership. 

Celena Mondie-Milner

Senior Outreach Program Coordinator

Serves as Senior Outreach Program Coordinator for the Center for Space Research and the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium, focusing on Education and Outreach to promote space education to students, teachers, and the general public.

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Coral Noonan-Terry

Assistant Professor of Practice

Serves as Program Manager of Special Projects for the Center for Community College Student Engagement, teaches courses focused on community colleges.

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Soncia Reagins-Lilly

Professor of Practice, Vice President for Student Affairs

Shares her expertise in higher education policy, administration and finance, strategic planning, and leadership development as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

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Justin T. Samuel

Assistant Professor of Practice

Focuses research on South Asian American college students, diversity training efficacy for student leaders, and work/life integration for student affairs administrators.

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Julie Schell

Assistant Professor of Practice

Designs higher education innovation strategy. Teaches graduate courses on technology, innovation, and problems of college teaching and learning including related interventions.

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LaToya Smith

Assistant Professor of Practice

Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Services

Serves as the Title IX Coordinator and Associate Vice President of University Compliance Services to ensure the university holds high levels of integrity and ethical standards.

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Betty Jeanne Taylor

Assistant Professor of Practice

Assistant Vice President, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

Focuses on university-wide campus climate initiatives including bias incident reporting and response as well as implementing best practices for inclusive classroom climates and faculty recruitment and retention.

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Aaron Voyles

Assistant Professor of Practice

Serves as the Associate Director for Student Learning and Development and researches post-qualitative and post-structuralist methodologies, discourse analysis, and gender performance.

Photo of Evelyn Waiwaiole

Evelyn Waiwaiole

Assistant Professor of Practice

Executive Director of CCSSE

As Executive Director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, Evelyn specializes in evidence that informs change and improved outcomes at community colleges.