Be a force for positive change.

Positive, sustained, authentic change comes from practitioners prepared to think critically about the systems in which they operate. Whether you’re an educator or a community organizer, or you work in the nonprofit world, earning a Doctor of Education in Transformative Action in Education (TAE) from the University of the Pacific will help you strengthen your capacity to create change in schools and other social systems.

Our 56-credit Doctor of Education for transformative change is built on the tenets of transformative leadership — beginning with self-reflection to help you better understand your role in fostering transformative change. Your self-exploration will then transform into actionable insights to improve the role of systems in transformative change throughout the country and the world.

Lead the movement for transformative change in the classroom.

Education and transformative leadership know no boundaries. That’s why we intentionally recruit students from a variety of sectors (K–12 education, higher education, community-based organizations and nonprofits). Through project-focused courses, you’ll master and apply the methods and theories needed to disrupt these systems and begin changing them from the inside out. With a Doctor of Education degree for transformative change from Pacific, you can create equitable, inclusive and justice-oriented programs and classes that can positively impact your community.

Hybrid Course Format

Action-Focused Research

Community-Driven Curriculum

Why Study Transformative Leadership at Pacific?

Pacific’s Doctor of Education in Transformative Action program offers a unique experience for practitioners who want to create change in the system.

So many features set us apart from other programs for EdD education in California and around the nation: affordability, our supportive community, the expertise of our faculty and so much more.

Transformative action in education student

Earn an Accessible EdD in Educational Transformative Action

We believe that creating a more just and equal society begins with creating an equitable EdD program. That’s why we address two of the biggest obstacles to higher education: time and price. Our hybrid course format lets you work full-time while you earn your EdD in Education. Also, any student enrolled in one of Benerd’s graduate programs automatically receives a 31 percent discount on tuition. That’s in addition to possible scholarships you can apply for.

Individualize Your Learning Experience

When you study transformative leadership at Pacific, you’ll join our engaged and caring community of learners. Students join as a cohort in fall and progress through the same courses together to foster a sense of community and collaboration. Our hybrid course format lets you take synchronous courses online during the week and meet once a month in person for extended class time and opportunities to connect with your peers, both with and across cohorts.

Work with Experienced Faculty

Thanks to the small size of our cohorts, you’ll have many opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors who have decades of experience as educators and leaders who don’t just talk about the work that needs to be done, but are actively engaged in the work. Our faculty have been school and district leaders. They’ve founded nonprofit organizations — and they work in a variety of leadership capacities throughout multiple industries.

Learn more about the program

Program Testimonial
Julema Perez

“I chose TAE with hopes of making a difference in my community. I want to disrupt those educational systems that do not benefit all and create a more equitable, inclusive space for all students with whom I come in contact.”

– Julema Perez, EdD in Transformation Action in Education, 2024 and 5th grade teacher


Julema Perez, TAE student

What Can You Do with Your Doctor of Education for Transformative Action from Pacific?

Understanding how to create positive change in our systems leads to a more equitable and inclusive future. Graduating from our Doctor of Education for transformative action program will prepare you to disrupt traditional systems by creating and maintaining sustainable, socially conscious spaces.

Thanks to our focus on action-oriented research through a critical lens, you’ll graduate from our EdD in Educational Transformation program with hours of actual experience crafting research projects around real-world problems in education and transformative change. When you study the role of education in transformative action at Pacific, you’ll be qualified for the following positions:

  • Principal of a charter/alternative school
  • District/county office of education leadership
  • Nonprofit founder or director
  • Community organization leader
transformative action in education
Career Outlook for Doctoral Education for Transformative Leadership Graduates

Educators who hold an EdD in Education on average earn 63 percent more than those with a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the United States becomes more diverse and culturally aware, systems must evolve to encompass our rich backgrounds. That means that professionals like you will be in high demand to promote transformative change

Explore Courses for the Doctor of Education for Transformative Leadership

When you join our program, you’ll learn how to find innovative and creative solutions to practical issues in our systems using several methodologies — including action research, design thinking, program evaluation and other critical frameworks.

Many programs for EdD in Education in California and the nation have students complete courses and then leave them on their own to begin researching and writing their dissertations. At Pacific, you’ll begin your dissertation process in the first year.

Every semester, you’ll take one content course and one research-based course, which is often where you will draft your dissertation. Not only does this remove much of the stress of the dissertation process, but it also means that you can graduate sooner and start making positive impacts on education and transformative change.


EDUC 319. Teaching as a Subversive Activity. 3 units. This course focuses on the role critical theory and critical thinking in schooling and education and the ways in which these processes aim to disrupt traditional, standardized, limiting orientations to teachers’ curriculum decision making, and re-envisioning what it means to be well educated.

EDUC 374. Action Research. 3 units. This course focuses on methods of designing and conducting action research in education. Topics include: characteristics of action research, data collection and analysis, determining trustworthiness, and ethical issues related to action research. Students will engage in action research to learn how to develop actionable knowledge. This course is a component in the set of research courses required for master and doctoral students.


EDUC 323. Critical Methods in Qualitative Research. 3 Units.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of critical qualitative research methodologies. The course will examine the work of Indigenous, Black, and other peoples of color (BIPOC) scholars who critique and theorize about the colonial legacies attached to research praxis and discourse. The course aims at providing an overview of different forms of social inquiry that have a commitment to democratizing knowledge by decentering dominant paradigms of research methodologies and theoretical perspectives rooted in whiteness and western ideology. The overview of critical qualitative methodologies provides tangible ways to incorporate decolonial learning into qualitative research praxis. Students will spend the final portion of the class exploring the possibilities of democratizing research by developing and workshopping their own qualitative research projects.

EDUC 315. Cultural, Social, and Emotional Literacy (Term A). 3 units. Utilizes a systems theory approach to evaluate theoretical foundations and relevant research on the promotion and evaluation of social emotional learning, culturally sustaining pedagogies and culturally responsive teaching.

EDUC 314. Socio-Cultural Perspectives & Inquiry (Term B). 3 units. This course alms to investigate social and democratic aspects of our communities, particularly education and schooling, in the context of a diverse and multicultural society. It engages doctoral students in exploring, conceptualizing, and critiquing social identities and positionality to examine the interdisciplinary understandings of cultural and social realities.


EDUC 352. Applied Inquiry. 3 units. In this course students work collaboratively in learning communities to identify and explore general and specific educational/social/political issues that affect learners/learning outcomes for key educational constituencies. Each student identifies a preliminary issue/problem/concern for his/her dissertation project and engages in early exploration of foundational issues, key theories, and seminal emerging research on these topics.

EDUC 316. Systems Thinking & Interdisciplinary Curriculum Inquiry. 3 units. This course focuses on interdisciplinary ways of conceiving curriculum through the use of a systems theory framework. Emphasis will be placed on understanding interrelationships between subject matter disciplines for the purposes of describing and offering solutions to local/global problems requiring sustainable behaviors.


EDUC 202. Statistical Thinking and Communication. 3 units. The objectives of this course are to review basic descriptive statistics and solidify students’ understanding of inferential techniques commonly employed in educational research. Students will learn how to conduct appropriate statistical analyses, interpreting output produced by SPSS statistical software. Students will gain confidence in reading results sections of journal articles and learn to communicate using statistical terminology. Analysis of results sections of journal articles will demonstrate that the student can recognize situations, for which various statistical techniques are applicable, explain the reasoning underlying the choice of those techniques, interpret results, and critically evaluate whether the authors’ conclusions logically follow from the data analysis conducted and the statistical information presented. Students are expected to learn the power of statistical analysis.

EDUC 354. Applied Inquiry II. 3 units. This course provides doctoral students with an overview of assumptions/limitations/strengths and claims of educational research. Further, it provides them with an overview of quantitative and qualitative methodologies (data collection and analysis strategies) and of the relevance of these for specific problems and questions.


EDUC 325. Quantitative Research Design & Methods. 3 units. This course exposes students to and develops their ability to conceptualize a broader range of research questions dealing with (a) significance of group differences; (b) degree of relationship among variables; (c) prediction of group membership; and/or (d) structure that quantitative design and analysis strategies might inform than those typically introduced in a first course (e.g., EDUC 201). Topics emphasized in the course relate to (a) the purpose and principles of research design; (b) the use of multivariate approaches and analysis; and (c) the construction and validation of measuring instruments. Students learn both to critically examine published research as well as to design methods for studies proposed to validly address research questions dealing with (a) significance of group differences; (b) degree of relationship among variables; (c) prediction of group membership; and/or (d) structure.

EDUC 372M. Measuring Social Impact. 3 units. Provides knowledge, skills, and experience to evaluate and iteratively develop social and educational change initiatives.


EDUC 356. Applied Inquiry III. 3 units. This course places doctoral students into professional learning communities with colleagues and a faculty leader. In these communities, students work collaboratively and independently to ensure that each student develops a refined problem statement and draft literature review.

EDUC 360. Trends, Issues, & Dynamics of Change. 3 units. In-depth exploration of the intersection of learning, leadership, and change in various sectors. The class integrates research and practice through (1) organization theory and change and (2) an innovation and systems perspective on learning.


EDUC 358. Applied Inquriy IV. 3 units. This course places doctoral students into professional learning communities with colleagues and a faculty leader. In these communities, students work collaboratively and independently to ensure that each student develops a defense ready dissertation proposal. 

EDUC 368. Seminar: Leading Complex Organizations. 3 Units. In this course, students explore techniques for using leadership skills to increase cultural proficiency in diverse educational and organizational contexts.


EDUC 359. Dissertation Boot Camp. 3 units. This course is ideal for doctoral candidates who have an approved dissertation proposal and seek support in writing their dissertation. This course also benefits doctoral students who are in the process of completing their dissertation proposal. This course facilitates intensive, focused writing time, and provides participants with strategies and structure to overcome common roadblocks in the dissertation process. Prerequisite: Approved dissertation research proposal or instructor approval.

EDUC 353. Interdisciplinary Ways of Knowing, Seeing, and Acting. 3 units. Engages students in the development of understanding of the multiple foundational influences in which education is viewed today. Addresses historical, philosophical, epistemological scholarship that frames contemporary educational and schooling decision-making processes.


EDUC 317. Aesthetics, Art, and Imagination as Curriculum Context. 3 units. Explores the arts as both a foundation for a liberal education and a medium for inquiry into education. Emphasis will be places on understanding the role the arts as practiced by education practitioners and the role of the arts in conducting educational inquiry.

EDUC 399. Doctoral Dissertation.

FallEDUC 399. Doctoral Dissertation.
SpringEDUC 399. Doctoral Dissertation (if needed).

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