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Community College LeadershipGraduate Certificate

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Education Building

Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership

Our online graduate certificate in Community College Leadership is designed for emerging leaders in community college administration, as well as administrators who have recently transitioned to a community college from careers in other industries.

Students take live web classes in the fall and spring, then participate in an internship over the summer. Courses are not your typical "online class". You interact in real-time with professors and other passionate community college leaders from across the U.S. as classmates. Think of it as a "traditional" college class, except instead of a classroom you meet with classmates once-a-week via live video conference in the afternoon/evening anywhere you have high-speed internet, so you can attend class from home, work, or on the road. Watch video where students talk about the online experience >

The program targets, builds, and reinforces core competencies identified by the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC). It combines rigorous in-class academics with applied problem-solving with courses in:

  • institutional finance, fundraising, and resource management
  • community college politics, policy, and advocacy
  • curriculum, program development and quality assurance
  • leadership and organizational strategy

The 15-credit program typically takes 1-year (2 courses in fall/spring, plus summer internship) or about 2-years (1 course in fall/spring, plus summer internship).






Online Courses


All five courses required for the certificate are completed online. Fall/spring courses meet online once-a-week from 4:20-7:00 p.m. over a 16-week semester via a live, interactive, video format; the summer internship is asynchronous.

CCL 820 Community College Leadership
Tuesdays 4:20-7:00 pm ET

The course provides students with the theory, knowledge and skills needed to be an effective leader within the community college system. Course assignments take a practical approach to identifying and applying theoretical principles and personal leadership style.

CCL 830 Community College Politics, Policy, and Advocacy
Thursdays 4:20-7:00 pm ET

This course provides students with an understanding of the complexities of the policy planning, analysis, and advocacy process. The course examines policy-in-action to help community college leaders understand how policies are developed at the organizational, state, and national levels while gaining an understanding of the interplay of public perception and policymaking that can impact college operations. We will explore the process by which policies are made, and consider why some problems are escalated to the public agenda, why some solutions are adopted and others rejected and why some policies appear to succeed while others seem to fail.

CCL 824 Community College Finance, Fundraising, and Resource Management
Mondays 4:20-7:00pm ET

This course provides students the necessary financial knowledge and skills for community college leaders by exploring how the mission and goals of the community college are directly connected to financial considerations. The instructor, along with current community college leaders, will guide community college professionals as they learn to make budgetary decisions that are connected to institutional enrollment, performance and student success. Course activities will help prepare students to take leadership roles in budget decisions, development of state and local government appropriations, fundraising, resource management, and financial decisions that are based on data and realistic institutional goal

CCL 826 Community College Curriculum, Program Development, and Quality Assurance
Thursdays 4:20-7:00 pm ET

This course is provides students a critical examination of community college curricula and program development. Students will develop the knowledge to understand and defend curricular issues related to developmental education, transfer education, career, technical and vocational education, continuing education, and general education. Coursework, as delivered by the instructor and guest scholars will explore practices, theories, and research related to a) curriculum and curricular change, program planning, development, and implementation, student learning and assessment, institutional quality assurance, and the global development of community and technical colleges.

CCL 868 Internship in Community College Leadership

This asynchronous course allows students to obtain hands-on experience in a leadership role at a community college. The student will learn about leadership skills at the community college by observing his or her mentor/site supervisor and by being given leadership tasks associated with the site he or she has chosen. Students are encouraged to complete the internship in an area of the community college in which they have little or no prior experience in order to broaden their experiences.

Points of Pride

Darden College of Education

Student Profiles


"The program has assisted me in becoming a more informed and well-round leader who possesses a greater understanding of the importance of our community college system."

- Greg Dunaway

Greg Dunaway is the Director of Facilities and Safety at John Tyler Community College in Chesterfield, Virginia. In his role, he is responsible for the "vision and leadership in the planning, development, maintenance , and safety of the people, communities, and students."

Mr. Dunaway is in the Graduate Certificate Program with his future in mind: growing into a larger leadership role. Mr. Dunaway states, "the program has assisted me in becoming a more informed and well-rounded leader who possesses a greater understanding of the importance of our community college system."

The professors and courses have been equally beneficial for Mr. Dunaway and the applicability of the program. "The program's professors and courses provide relevant, real-world examples, as well as the opportunities, challenges, and the political environment currently affecting the community college system as a whole." The professors are also very intentional with their assignments. Mr. Dunaway explains, "the professors understand that their students are working adults and structure challenging, thought-provoking course work that can be completed around a busy work schedule."

The program has already proven itself valuable to Mr. Dunaway. He says, "the program has exposed me to areas and perspectives that I do not normally get exposed to in my current role." Using what he learns in class, Mr. Dunaway is "better able to develop and maintain the physical spaces required to attain John Tyler's overall mission of inspiring student success and community vitality."


"The Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership allows me to gain industry insights by exposing me to aspects of the community college."

- Jennifer James

Jennifer James is a Human Resources Consultant at the Virginia Community College System in Richmond, Virginia. After working in the financial services industry for fifteen years, Ms. James transitioned to a role in higher education. The Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership is perfect for Ms. James in her current role because it "allows me to gaininsightsby exposing me to aspects of the community college that I may not encounter while performing my day-to-day responsibilities."

Benefits of the program include the interactive and real-time courses as well as the highly knowledgeable and dedicated faculty. Ms. James explains, "Often times, the coursework aligns with the real-time evolution that is occurring and affecting community colleges; thus, the content is relevant and easily applied on the job. The professors are highly knowledgeable and dedicatedwell.I have found that each professor effectively challenges program participants to think differently and grow professionally."

The program has already impacted her day to day responsibilities. Ms. James, states "I am applying what I have learned in the program to make informed decisions and offer strategic recommendations on the job."


"I have been able to apply tenets from the course materials to my current job."

- Chiquita Henderson

Chiquita Henderson is the Dean of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management and Title IX Coordinator at Pasco-Hernando State College in New Port Richey, Florida. In her role, Ms. Henderson oversees student services for more than 12,000 students across a two-county district with five diverse campuses. She has direct oversight of the following departments: Admissions/Student Records, Advising/Registration, eAdvising, Testing & Career Services, Information Center, Veteran Services and Disabilities Services.

For Ms. Henderson, the Graduate Certificate in CCL was the perfect transition program. She states, "being out of the formal classroom for over nine years, I was not ready to begin a doctoral program immediately. However, I knew I wanted to enhance my knowledge of higher education issues as well as develop the academic rigor required of a doctoral program without the initial pressure." She is able to transfer five required courses when she begins the CCL Ph.D. program in the Fall.

The graduate certificate program fits well with a full-time work schedule. Ms. Henderson explains, "the professors understand the demands of a professional student and are able to assign challenging and feasible coursework without compromising the integrity or quality of the program's reputation."

The program has already made a difference in her operational practices. For Ms. Henderson attests that, "the community college leadership program has allowed me to hone in on current higher education issues, specifically from the community college perspective. This knowledge has further enhanced the delivery of excellent student services. From each class I have taken, I have been able to apply tenets from the course materials to my current job as Dean of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management."

How To Apply

Graduate certificate applicants:

  • complete an online application, and pay application fee;
  • upload transcripts of all undergraduate and/or graduate work at regionally-accredited institutions;

Applicants also upload supplemental materials including:

  • a CV or resume that describes the applicant's academic and professional background.
  • One (1) letter of recommendation that demonstrates the applicant's academic ability, writing ability, and leadership potential. Applicants will enter the emails for references in the online system, and references will be emailed a link to upload a letter of recommendation on letterhead and complete the online reference form.

Email us at ccl@odu.edu if we can help you at any time throughout your application process.‚Äč

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Fall Semester Begins May 1 thru July 15
Spring Semester Begins October 1 thru November 15

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