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Ph.D. Ethical Leadership

Be the leader our world needs

In today's complex and rapidly changing world, ethical leaders are in higher demand than ever before. Become the leader within an organization who develops ethics training and compliance programs. Play a vital role in ensuring your organization is operating ethically and responsibly. Create a culture of trust and respect throughout your organization. Inspire others to be the best they can be.

The Woods Global Ph.D. in Ethical Leadership is specifically designed to prepare you to be a leader who is ready to make a tangible difference and inspire others to do the same.

Demand on the Rise

  • A 2022 survey by the Ethisphere Institute found that 80% of respondents said their organization has a chief ethics officer, up from 68% in 2020.
  • A 2022 study by the Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership found that 77% of respondents said their organization has a CEO, up from 65% in 2019.
  • A 2022 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 65% of respondents said their organization has a CEO, up from 55% in 2021.

Program Details

  • One course at a time.
  • Eight-week courses.
  • Six courses per year.
  • 18 total courses, or 54 credits.
  • Graduate in three years.

Program Benefits Include

  • Qualify for top-level and C-suite leadership positions.
  • Increase your earning potential.
  • Land leadership roles in high-demand industries.
  • Greater job satisfaction.
  • Make your entire team more effective.
  • Gain credibility and recognition and open new opportunities for advancement and leadership roles.

The Woods Global Advantage

This isn't your average online degree program. We've combined more than 150 years of academic excellence with up-to-the-minute topics to ensure you'll graduate with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. The program is designed specifically for working professionals who want to advance their careers and make a real difference in the world. Our expert faculty have created an advanced curriculum that is aligned with the needs of today's corporations and communities.

  • Learn from fellow students who are experts in their fields.
  • Continually evolving coursework.
  • Diverse course subjects led by expert faculty.

Core Coursework

We offer programs that give students, businesses, government officials, and community leaders the chance to talk about and work on the ethical challenges facing our world today. These programs help our diverse learners come up with long-lasting solutions and plans to deal with the biggest challenges facing our global organizations and communities.

Summer Residency

Every summer our students meet in person for three days under the auspice of a given topic. The residencies allow you to engage with other students, community leaders, corporate executives, and policymakers through real-world, challenge-based experiential learning. This creates the foundation for solutions that extend well beyond our classrooms, advance organizations, and lead to community development. This is the essence of the innovative blended approach to learning that creates a tangible impact on our world.

During our time together we'll share and connect with new and old colleagues. After each of the three summer residencies you'll goour dissertation topic. home with:

  • Year One: New ideas for your dissertation topic.
  • Year Two: Feedback on strengthening your draft dissertation proposal.
  • Year Three: Your diploma!

Affiliated Faculty

Clinton M. Ramirez Stephens, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair of the Ph.D. in Ethical Leadership Program

Dr. Ramirez Stephens is a graduate of Iowa State University, where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Education; Oklahoma State University, where he earned his master's degree (Counseling and Student Personnel), and Kansas State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. His experience includes serving as Director of Leadership Studies at Emporia State University and Program Coordinator for Leadership Studies at Iowa State University.

  • Teaches: LDR 710: Introduction to Ethical Leadership

Tony Andenoro, Ph.D.
Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer

Dr. Andenoro serves as the Vice President & Chief Advancement Officer with a secondary appointment as a Full Professor of Business for William Woods University in Fulton, MO, USA. His research includes the development of moral decision-making in leadership learners, the role of cognitive diversity and active learning strategies in the development of engagement, positive sentiment, and neuroplasticity within leadership learning environments, and the use of behavioral economics principles to shift attitudes and behaviors in under-resourced communities to address complex problems and create sustainability.

He has over published 70 refereed and invited scholarly works, presented more than 90 refereed and invited conference papers, and secured more than $11 million in gift and grant funding to advance programmatic, teaching, and research initiatives. Dr. Andenoro earned a BA in Communication from the University of Toledo, an MS in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education with an emphasis in Leadership Education from Texas A&M University.

  • Teaches: LDR 760: Interpersonal Leadership

Katie Friesen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education

  • Teaches: LDR 711: Contemporary Research in Leadership Studies

Miriam O'Callaghan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Management and Dean of the School of Business & Technology

  • Teaches: as available

Curriculum Details

During the three-year program, students complete 54 credit hours delivered sequentially as one three-credit, eight-week class at a time. The first course all students will take is LDR 710: Introduction to Ethical Leadership. The current course list is below.

LDR 710: Introduction to Ethical Leadership (previously named 'Leadership')
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of theoretical foundations for the program including program expectations and core competencies.

LDR 715: Culture and Leading
This course analyzes leadership theory and practice through various cultural perspectives. Research in leadership from non-Western cultures will be compared/contrasted with Western perspectives.

LDR 720: Ethical Leading
This course focuses on the role of normative ethics in leading. Students will explore the place of virtue, consequentialism, deontology, and justice theory in leadership. LDR 725: Strategic Thought This course builds capabilities for leading across international boundaries and leading in a changing geopolitical arena.

LDR 730: Opportunity Through Crisis
This course explores crisis as not a single event but a series of errors involving humans. Understanding how to lead instead of being reactionary to crisis will be analyzed.

LDR 740: Coaching & Talent Management
Students within this course will develop the capacity to maximize the performance of those whom they work with in organizational settings. Students will learn applied processes grounded in transitional and developmental coaching to maximize individual and organizational performance. Students will also explore the major facets of talent management from developing core competencies to the design and implementation of performance management systems to recruit, assess, and develop talent to drive employee engagement and retention.

LDR 750: Decision-Making and Moral Choice
This course evaluates the moral factors that impact decision-making.

LDR 755: Original and Innovative Disruption
This course focuses on originality and leader disruption in organizations. Personality factors that influence one's tendency to be an originator/disruptor will be explored.

LDR 760: Interpersonal Leadership
Students within this course will develop a capacity for self-reflection, a deeper understanding of self, personal hardiness, a more integrated philosophy of leadership, and a more transcendent perspective on how they and others can maximize individual growth and create more emotionally intelligent and psychologically safe organizations.

LDR 765: Assessment and Evaluation
Students within this course will explore and develop formative, summative, and developmental assessment, and evaluation metrics. Students will learn about, design, and apply key performance indicators (KPI) and collaboration, learning, and adaption (CLA) practices that will advance organizational projects and strategic initiatives. Additionally, students will learn about how to justify and articulate return on investment (ROI) to stakeholder groups and customer bases.

LDR 770: Complex Problems
This course explores questions in human well-being, organizational sustainability, and community development building upon a foundation for addressing challenges associated with our most pressing global problems. Transdisciplinary experts will lead diverse and innovative experiences engaging students in discussion-based inquiry, complex adaptive problem-solving, and the integration of economic, environmental, health, political, and social systems, and perspectives.

LDR 775: Ph.D. Resident Seminar
This course is conducted annually at the main campus in Fulton, Missouri, and is a repeatable course. The resident seminar varies in focus depending on student progress through the program however, the primary focus will be on the dissertation process.

LDR 780: Special Topics
This course explores various aspects of leadership while students work with their dissertation committee to finalize and present their dissertation proposal.

RSH 715: Research Design (formerly "Statistics")
This course focuses on how research is conducted in Leadership Studies. Special focus will be on the rigor and relevance of research, establishing research purpose, and upholding ethical practices.

RSH 720: Quantitative Analysis
This course will provide training in the quantitative skills needed for research and data analysis. It will include a review of basic statistical concepts as well as an introduction to the following statistical methodologies: Correlation, Regression, t-test, ANOVA, Repeated Measures, Non-parametric test, Factor analysis, and Categorical Data (Chi-Square). This course is designed with the dissertation in mind to provide the foundation of knowledge and skill if a student chooses to do a quantitative analysis. Prerequisite: Graduate Level Statistics.

RSH 740: Qualitative Research
This course will introduce students to the concepts and strategies in qualitative research in preparation for conducting independent research. Students will critically understand and develop a qualitative research design with an applied course project. Course topics will include the framing of research questions, identifying data and data sources, and using theory in the design process. Prerequisite: Graduate Level Introductory Research and Introductory Statistics Course.

LDR 711: Contemporary Research in Leadership
Studies (course proposal in progress, spring 2023 offered as "LDR 780: Special Topics") Examining the latest peer-reviewed research in the field, students will study the current state of the academic discipline. By the completion of the course, students will have identified gaps in the literature to which they are interested in contributing.

DIS 780: Dissertation I
This course focuses on dissertation research and preparation for the dissertation defense.

DIS 781: Dissertation II
This course focuses on dissertation research and preparation for the dissertation defense.

DIS 790: Dissertation III
This course focuses on dissertation research and preparation for the dissertation defense.

21 DIS 791: Ph.D. Dissertation Continuation
A continuation of Dissertation III. As needed, this is a repeatable course focusing on dissertation research and preparation for the dissertation defense. Upon recommendation from the dissertation committee, the student may defend their dissertation during this course. Waived if the student has met the program requirements by the end of Dissertation III. Prerequisites: Completion of the Dissertation III course.

LDR 700 Independent Study (course proposal in progress)
On occasion, a student may conduct a co-directed study with a faculty member.

RSH 700 Independent Study (course proposal in progress)
On occasion, a student may conduct co-directed research with a faculty member.

Upcoming Course Offerings

Every term will offer LDR 710: Introduction to Ethical Leadership for incoming Ph.D. students. After completing LDR 710 students will join the course rotation.

  • 2023 Fall term 2 - LDR 760: Interpersonal Leadership
  • 2023 Spring term 1 - RSH 715: Research Design
  • 2024 Spring term 2 - LDR 725: Strategic Thought
  • 2024 Summer term 1 - LDR 711: Contemporary Research in Leadership Studies (temporarily offered as "LDR 780: Special Topics")
  • 2024 Summer Residency - LDR 775: Ph.D. Resident Seminar
  • 2024 Summer term 2LDR - 715: Culture and Leading
  • 2024 Fall term 1LDR - 765: Assessment & Evaluation
  • 2024 Fall term 2LDR - 755: Original and Innovative Disruption