May 28, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Educational Leadership Division

Division Chairperson and Graduate Program Director: Karen Card, Ph.D.

Division of Educational Leadership
Delzell Education Center, Room 214
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
Phone: 605-677-5260



Mike Avoseh, Ph.D., University of Ibidan, Nigeria. Specialization: Adult Education, Adult Learning Theories.

Associate Professors:

Karen Card, Ph.D., Ohio State University. Specialization: College and University Administration, Student Affairs.
Susan Curtin, Ed.D., Youngstown State University.
Kristine Reed, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Assistant Professor:

       David DeJong, Ed.D., University of Northern Iowa.
       Erin Lehmann, Ed.D. University of South Dakota

Senior Lecturer:

Susan Santo, Ph.D., University of Virginia. Specialization: Educational Technology, Training, and Change Management.

Director of Internships:

       Diana Messick, Ed.D., University of South Dakota.


Master of Arts


Adult and Higher Education    
Curriculum Director    
Pre-Kindergarten-12 Principal   

Specialist in Education


Curriculum Director    
Director of Special Education    
Pre-Kindergarten-12 Principal    
School District Superintendent    

Doctor of Education


Adult and Higher Education    
Curriculum Director    
Director of Special Education    
Pre-Kindergarten-12 Principal    
School District Superintendent   

Division of Educational Leadership

The Division of Educational Leadership develops innovative scholar-practitioners and transformational leaders who use critical theory to solve complex problems of practice.

Students Learning Outcomes for Educational Administration and Leadership Degrees

  • Use inquiry to identify problems and bring about solutions to complex problems. 
  • Model equity-oriented inclusive leadership, including challenging injustices within the system.
  • Acknowledge that every change is systemic change and lead people/institutions through the process.
  • Respect multiple perspectives and diversity of thought. 
  • Build strong partnerships through communication, presence, and mutually beneficial endeavors.
  • Inspire a shared mission and vision focused on the well-being and success of every member of the organization.



  1. Completed Graduate Application form found at: and a non-refundable application fee of $35.
  2. Official transcript(s) verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (in English or with translation) must accompany an application. Official transcripts of all academic work at the graduate level is required for all students. The USD Graduate School and/or academic units retain the right to require credential evaluations from organizations, such as Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES), for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.
  3. Baccalaureate degree must be from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework is required for full admission. Each graduate program may admit students on provisional status per university policy.
  4. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited American college or university are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score. For all other applicants, a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) or 550 on the Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT), a minimum IELTS score of 6.0, or a minimum PTE score of 53 is required for graduate admission. Applicants from or who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from English-speaking countries are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score if their academic records after review indicate that English was the classroom language for their schoolwork.
  5. Applicants are required to complete the Educational Leadership Writing Prompt.

 Additional Program Admission Requirements:

  1. Three (3) professional letters of recommendation are required.
  2. Resume required documenting teaching and/or administrative experience.
  3. Personal interview for the Ed.D. programs.
  4. Applicants enrolling in the masters, specialist, or doctoral PK-12 administration programs (Curriculum Director, Director of Special Education, Pre-Kindergarten-12 Principal, or School District Superintendent) must have three (3) years of teaching experience in PK-12. Applicants enrolling in School District Superintendent program must also have three years of school leadership experience. 
  5. It is required that applicants seeking certification as a Director of Special Education have a Special Education Teacher endorsement (e.g., resource room, self-contained class) and have three years of teaching experience in PK-12 with one year teaching experience in the area of special education (or a year of working with special needs students in the role of speech and language clinician, school psychologist or other support personnel who possess an elementary or secondary teaching certificate and endorsement in special education).

Subject to Division Chair and Graduate Dean approval, applicants who do not meet all of the criteria above may be admitted on a provisional basis.